Giant Monsters Dine ‘N Dash

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

First a little backstory. A million billion years ago (OK, only ten thousand, but that sounds boring) the technologically-advanced people of Atlantis created a flock of flying reptiles, winged dinosaurs if you will.

Why would Atlanteans do such a thing? Well for starters, Atlanteans are big polluters. So these reptiles, or “Gyaos,” fly around and eat pollution. The dino birds grow to monstrous size because there’s a lot of vitamin-enriched pollution to eat. Then the birds started to breed. Then the birds started to eat the Atlanteans. Then the Atlanteans invent Gamera, a species of giant turtles with huge tusks and fireballs shooting out of orifices, to address the booming Gyaos population explosion. Like a new sheriff in town, Gamera takes care of the problem and all was well.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

Move forward 10,000 years to 1995. (Just close your eyes and do it.) A ship called Kairyu-Maru (dumb name – I would’ve called it Death Boat) is carrying plutonium and smacks into an atoll in the middle of the ocean. Some of the crew explore the craggy atoll and grab several souvenir stone amulets laying around, which factor into the rest of the movie if you’re interested in sub-plots.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

They also encounter a huge obelisk sticking out of this oddly familiar island. There’s writing on the slab, too. (I didn’t have time to decipher it, but the movie scientists did.) Then the island moves and the slab crumbles like the plaster roof I just put on my house. Holy crap – this isn’t an island…THEY’RE STANDING ON GAMERA! Time to get the stinkin’ hell outta there.

Meanwhile, three Gyaos have turned up and are eating people, so they’re lured to an outdoor sports arena with a retractable roof. The idea is to get the Gyaos to fly in and snack on a huge pile of horse carcass, maybe catch a few innings of the game, then shut the roof, thereby trapping the gluttonous beak faces. The plan sorta works.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

Two escape and Gamera appears out of freakin’ nowhere and blasts one of those anvil-headed b*stards into soot with his flame-ball breath. The others escape and go to the Kiso Mountains to recharge their energies (i.e., take a nap, eat more people). The military – those well intentioned knuckleheads – shoot Gamera out of the sky as they think he’s the bigger problem. But as it says on the lining of my underwear, you can’t keep a good turtle down.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

The last remaining Gyaos grows to Godzilla size and Gamera, now recovered from friendly fire, chases the monstrous bird into downtown Tokyo where a spectacular battle ensues. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – watching giant monsters engaged in wholesale urban destruction is like comfort food to my face.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

A welcome upgrade, Gamera looks way better than he did when he took drugs and stumbled around back in the ’60s. Gyaos, though, still looks like a bird puppet with a giant fist shoved up its ass. Nevertheless, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1997) is a sweet comeback for giant turtles everywhere.

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