“Brush you’re teeth correctly; even the dolphin can do it…”

ガメラ対深海怪獣ジグラ Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura, translated as Gamera versus Deep Sea Monster Zigra. The US title is simply Gamera vs Zigra.

Ok, before I begin, I want to say this: I make fun of these movies because the so dearly beg for it. However, I still love them to death. As I said in my bio, I love all (or most) giant monster movies. So if there are any other die-hard Gamera fans out there, please don’t take any criticism from me seriously! – The Real McCoy (KFN’s Showa Gamera go-to guy!)

The story starts out with a strange spaceship approaching a moon base. After abducting a land jeep, it proceeds to destroy the base. Back on earth, Kenny and Helen, two young children, stow away on their father’s fishing boat. After eating their fathers’ lunch, they are scolded and are about to be taken home, when they see the Zigran spaceship from the moon base descends into the water. The group goes out to investigate, and are promptly captured. On the spaceship they encounter a Zigran woman, who explains that she will prove their power by creating an earthquake unless the men attest to the Zigran’s existence to the world. The Zigran woman causes the earthquakes after they refuse, and before more destruction ensues, the men bow to her demands. They anger her, and she places them under a trance, and attempts to capture the children, who succeed in escaping. The Zigran is told by her master (which is also the spaceship itself) to follow them and dispose of them, since they now know their secret. As the spaceship gives chase to the children, Gamera arrives and saves them, picking up the boat and placing them on an island. Later on, the Zigran woman appears again, and resumes chasing the children, all the while putting military men and civilians in trances. Gamera returns to confront the spaceship once again and destroys it. After being destroyed, Zigra transforms into a shark, growing to immense proportions and faces off against Gamera. Bathing Gamera in a ray that stops all cell activity in his body, Zigra threatens the world with extinction, proclaiming his superiority over land animals. After figuring out how to revive the trance-stricken people, and the Zigran woman herself (who was an astronaut working at the moon base when abducted by Zigra), they send down a bathyscaph to diagnose Gamera. Zigra attacks them, demanding the world surrender, or he will destroy the bathyscaph. After refusing, a lightning storm awakens Gamera, and he rescues the bathyscaph. Gamera then attacks Zigra again, who cuts him multiple times with his dorsal fin. Gamera beaches Zigra once again, and the monster is defeated.

This movie is goofy, fun, and quite possibly the worst entry of the series. Why do I group those three together? Because if you’re a die-hard fan like me, chances are you’ll be able to stomach this one. But not without some difficulty. In the seventh entry in the series, we’re back to spacemen again. Well, kind of. More like a spacewoman (a very shapely one at that!!) and a …talking…spaceship. Yes. A talking spaceship, with a very weird voice. The spaceship, in fact, turns out to be a large Goblin Shark. If you’re wondering what that is, look it up or watch the movie; they’re the same. And he is actually a very cool monster, especially when standing in a bipedal stance; something that only happens very briefly in the movie. His primary ability is to scour his enemy with his sharp dorsal fin, but his most dangerous weapon is his laser beam, which completely stops all cell activity in a living body. The fight scenes are rather stale in this adventure; being rather short and sweet. Well, not very sweet, but you get the point. The film is constantly dragged down by the bland human drama and general silliness of the plot. The actors do a good job, but their roles are so grating that it is hard to appreciate them, especially the children. Helen is not bad at all. She is cute and doesn’t talk much. Her friend Kenny however, is extremely taxing on the nerves, and quite possibly the worst of all the child actors of the series. Extremely loudmouthed, he never shuts up, and of course, he knows everything about Gamera and spaceships. The astronaut-turned Zigran spacewoman, Chikako, is just a stereotype alien, and not a very good one, either. The rest of the adults are adequate, but their acting abilities just could not save the movie in any way.

There were a few “filler” scenes, as I like to call them, scenes that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot whatsoever. Filler scenes to me almost surpass stock footage as an awful waste of film. The beginning of the movie, after the Zigran spaceship is introduced, they introduce the two main adults and the children. The children’s fathers both work at Sea World, and the mother makes several references to dolphins (you’ll understand), such as “brush you’re teeth correctly; even the dolphin can do it”, or “rinse your mouth; even the dolphin does it”; those comments accompanied by shots of killer whales getting their teeth brushed, rinsing their mouth, and the like. Wait…What? Dolphins? This scene goes on for at least three or four minutes, and is totally pointless. (I discovered some time ago that Killer whales are actually dolphins; maybe that’s what they call them in Japan, but the casual viewer may not know that). Another scene that suffers this painful problem is after the city is evacuated, the Sea World trainer goes to the market to buy some fish. When he gets there, a hotel manager is trying to buy it for his guests (who apparently haven’t evacuated yet?), and another several minute debate ensues. These scenes take away from an already suffering movie, and I found it hard to handle.

Weird science. Yes, again. I know everyone is tired of hearing it, but it is so bad it can’t go unmentioned! First off, a talking spaceship just felt odd to me. The next thing I’ll mention is the method the Zigran woman used to place the men in a trance. A red glint in her eye, she snaps her fingers, and out they go. Yes, you heard right. It is so painfully ridiculous it deserves to be criticized until the end of time. This brings me to my next point: the manner in which the humans were cured of their trance. The doctors determine that high frequency sound waves break the spell! So they proceed to yell in a megaphone, and the people are magically, yet painfully cured! Boooo… Zigra’s ray stopping all cell activity wasn’t so bad, but the rest just makes your eyes roll until you are dizzy.

This movie is not for the casual monster movie fan. It is definitely not one I would recommend beginning the series with. Only the most hardcore monster fan will find any interest at all in this flick. That being said, I always manage to find some, if not a very small amount of entertainment in this movie. Still, I can’t give this one more than one and-a-half star out of five. Enjoy!

– The Real McCoy

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