Gamera Vs. Barugon
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Freed from the Z Plan capsule, Gamera attacks a dam upon his return to Earth. Meanwhile, a private expedition to retrieve a rare opal in New Guinea unwittingly unleashes the malevolent Barugon. Virtually unstoppable and able to freeze anything in its path, the monstrous lizard turns modern cities into glaciers until Gamera arrives to challenge the marauder! But even the fire-spitting terrapin becomes trapped in the creatures frozen grip. Can one of the explorers, Keisuke Hirata (Kojiro Hongo, Satans Sword), and a New Guinea native, Karen (Kyoko Enami, The Woman Gambler), help to defeat Barugon before it plunges Japan into a new Ice Age?
Gamera Vs. Barugon, the second entry in Daiei Studios monster series, was directed by veteran Shigeo Tanaka (The Great Wall) and is more lavish than the original in terms of scale and scope it was shot in spectacular color! Noriaki Yuasa (Gamera, The Giant Monster) was charged with helming the visual effects for this outing, and the results are fantastic. For the first time, Shout! Factory presents Gamera Vs. Barugon in an all-new HD anamorphic widescreen transfer, both in Japanese with English subtitles and English audio.
* Audio Commentary With August Ragone And Jason Varney
* Publicity Galleries
* Original Movie Program
NOTE:Please turn off the commentary in the bonus features, to access the subtitles option on the DVD player & select the preferred language subtitle.
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What makes this movie superior to later releases is that this movie has pretty good character development, betrayal & lessons in morality. Obviously get rich quick schemes do not work :)
At this point in the Gamera series, Gamera wasn't really a good guy sort to speak. The fighting with Barugon to me is more of a fight for dominance, just who is the Alpha monster. Gamera wouldn't become 'good' or the friend of children until later in the series.
This movie like most of the Gamera series had 2 distinct English language versions. One is the AIP dubbing, & while the other is what I call the Sandy Frank dubbing which was released on VHS from Celebrity Kids Video. This dubbing contained the water credits & wound up on MST3K TWICE.
The episodes are KTMA Episode K04 + Episode # 304.
As for this DVD release, I am led to believe that this will contain only the Japanese language version which is great to see & hear it how it was intended. Personally Id love to see an English dubbed version which then I would unload the Alpha DVD of this movie(under the title War of the Monsters)
I expect this DVD to have a lot of great supplements including a commentary by August Ragone (who is the Executive Producer for the entire Shout Factory Gamera releases)
I also anticipate a fantastic widescreen transfer as well.
Thanks again to Shout Factory who has really taken a huge step with the Gamera releases, the Roger Corman releases and the MST3K releases.
Gamera vs. Barugon is a direct sequel of Gamera: The Giant Monster. It is the second of eight 'Gamera' movies from the first era of Gamera movies. The movie was taken seriously and has no annoying kids in it. This would not be the case with subsequent movies.
DVD: The quality of the picture is excellent and was the best available up until the time of it's release in 2010 (Today it's available in blu-ray). The movie is in Japanese with American subtitles.
EXTRA'S: There is an audio commentary (I did not listen to it) along with publicity Galleries and original movie program.
PLOT/SUMMARY: ***(Lots of Spoilers Ahead)*** Gamera vs. Barugon starts off where Gamera: The Giant Monster leaves off. Gamera had been sent into space aboard a spaceship headed for Mars. However, as fate would have it. A meteor (what else?) strikes the spaceship and frees Gamera. Gamera heads to earth where he promptly destroys a dam in order to get at it's stored up energy (Gamera feeds off of energy). After this scene we won't see Gamera again for another 40 minutes or so.
Hirata, a veteran of WWII sends his brother, Keisuke along with Onodera and one other fellow (don't know his name) to New Guinea to find a priceless opal. Supposedly Keisuke had hidden the opal in a cave while stationed there. He cannot make the trip himself due to his injuries. They get to the island where they meet the island natives and are warned not to go to the cave. Of course they ignore the warning and take off for the cave. We soon realize that Onodera is a treacherous fellow as he allows the third member of their party to be stung by a deadly scorpion after they recover the opal. Onodera then takes off with the opal and causes a cave in to trap Keisuke. Keisuke is found by an island girl named Karin. She tells him that it is not an opal but something else that they took. Onodera boards the ship and gets treated for athlete's foot with a heat lamp. Unbeknownst to him the opal is really an egg. He leaves on the heat ray while the egg is in his coat pocket. He leaves the coat in the direct rays and it hatches. The creature (Barugon) grows rapidly and destroys the ship.
Incidentally, later on an official jumps to the extraordinary conclusion as to exactly what happened. How he came by that knowledge is anybodies guess.
The Japanese military sets out to stop Barugon. As usual, they fail miserably.
Barugon has two powerful weapons. The first is a rainbow of massive destructive power. His back glows much the way Godzilla's does when he is ready to unleash it. His second weapon is a freezing breath which shoots out of his elongated tongue. It is the freezing breath which he uses to easily defeat Gamera in their first battle. Gamera tries using his fire breath but it is overwhelmed by Barugon's freezing breath. Gamera is frozen but not before he gets one swipe in with an arm the releases purple blood from Barugon's face.
Keisuke heads out with Karen to stop Barugon. She brings a giant diamond with her that she says will attract Barugon. She believes they can lead him into a lake and drown him. You see, water, is Barugon's Achilles heal. Unfortunately Barugon has grown too large and the diamond is not big enough to draw his attention. Though they are able to slow down Barugon. The military drops rain on him constantly to keep him sedated. Another plan to make the diamond more powerful by irridating it with infrared rays fails when Onodera shows up to steal the diamond. Onadera is quite a character. How he gets by the military to steal the diamond is anybodies guess...OK..just go with it... He comes to the unbelievable conclusion that he has a right to the diamond as much as anybody...huh!?!...I guess I should head over to a jewelry store and tell them the same thing!..Well, he gets eaten by Barugon. Yet another plan using mirrors to reflect back Barugon's rainbow is partially successful but does not do the trick. Fortunately Gamera becomes unfrozen and comes back for a second battle with a now very weakened Barugon. Barugon does not use any of his weapons and is dragged into the water and drowned by Gamera. The movie ends with Karen and Keisuke ponder the future.
PRODUCTION: Gamera vs. Barugon had perhaps the highest production standards of any of the Gamera movies. It is the second of eight movies from the era. It was made in color with higher production standards than the first movie. Color tends to make monster movies look less serious but this movie has a far more serious tone than the first one and any of the remaining sequels. Fortunately, there are no annoying kids. The movie was long for the time period. This movie was not as successful as was hoped. As a result the budgets shrunk in future movies. Unfortunately Japanese actors were cast as island natives and don't look very good in their black paint. This was a small part of the movie so it doesn't really take away much.
Barugon's costume left something to be desired. It was not very lifelike and the movement was poor. I suppose their isn't much you can do with the movement when you have a person imitating a four-legged creature.
Barugon had some interesting aerodynamics while flying through the air. He sort of went down and up like a paper airplane at times!
I'm not sure what was up with the purple blood. Perhaps to not 'gross out' audiences?
COMMENTS: Don't expect to see a whole lot of Gamera. Barugon is the real star of the show and Gamera is almost reduced to a supporting role. You see Gamera in the first 5 minutes of the movie (length is over 1 hour 40 minutes), then you see him again briefly for about another 5 minutes halfway through, finally he shows up for the final confrontation with Barugon and that battle lasts about 7 minutes. You will see quite a bit more of Barugon. You will witness his birth and then multiple battles with the military and Gamera.
I'm not sure why Barugon did not use any of his weapons in the second battle. The 'rainbow' was explained but the freezing breath was not. After easily dispatching 'Gamera' with it in the first battle, why not use it again?
Gamera v. Barugon is recommended for any and all giant monster (kaiju) fans. This review is from 2016 and at this time there are better options if you just want the movie and none of the extra's. You can purchase this movie in blu-ray in a relatively inexpensive set.