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on August 30, 2016
This review is for the Shout! Factory release of Gamera vs. Barugon released in 2010.

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.
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on April 12, 2016
As a fan of Japanese monster movies I have always loved being able to share them with my younger sister who is not old enough yet to read a subtitled movie. I was very disappointed after reading the product description and seeing thats said this contained both the english and Japanese audio tracks, then putting in the dvd and seeing that it was a flat out lie. Shout Factory never released a copy of this more or the original Gamera with and english audio track. I don't know why it was put in the product description for both movies. Other than that the DVD is great fantastic transfer and presented awesomely.
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on July 24, 2010
The Shout! Factory releases of the Gamera series are easily among the best--if not the best--of any daikaiju films in the United States. They're reasonably priced, present beautiful, widescreen prints of the original Japanese versions of the movies, and offer several extras--including booklets in the package with additional info on the films, in this case a retrospective of his involvement with Gamera vs. Barugon by star Kojiro Hongo. Furthermore, the upcoming Gamera releases are double features--Gamera vs. Gyaos/Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Guiron/Gamera vs. Jiger. This release of Gamera vs. Barugon also offers an insightful commentary by August Ragone and Jason Varney.

Originally presented as a TV release, titled War of the Monsters, by AIP-TV in 1967, Gamera vs. Barugon is arguably the best of the Showa-era (1965-1970) Gamera films. With a far more mature plot than the rest of the series, superior special effects, and a fine musical score by Chuji Kinoshita, the movie offers a lot more for daikaiju fans than fodder for MST3K, which certainly can't be said of most of the Gamera series.

The film opens with a flashback to the original Gamera and his voyage into space via Plan Z. But as the story proper begins, the rocket crashes into a meteor, and Gamera returns to Earth, initially attacking Kurobe Dam in Japan to satiate his craving for energy. Next, we meet a rather shady group of adventurers, who are plotting an expedition to New Guinea, to recover a giant opal that their leader, Ichiro Hirata (Akira Natsuki), found during World War II and hid in a cave. Three of them--Hirata's younger brother Keisuke (Kojiro Hongo), Kawajiri (Yuzo Hayakawa), and Onodera (Kôji Fujiyama)--make the journey, landing in a small village of natives, where they also meet a Japanese doctor named Matushita (Ichiro Sugai) and his assistant, Karen (Kyoko Enami), who implore them to stay away from the cave. Ignoring the warnings, the three find the cave as well as the opal they seek. However, a scorpion kills Kawajiri, and Onodera attempts to kill Keisuke by blowing up the cave. However, Keisuke escapes with his life and is brought to the village, where Karen nurses him back to health. Here, he learns that the opal is not a gem but the egg of the monster Barugon, which will bring great tribulation to Japan.

Keisuke and Karen travel to Japan to find Onodera, who has arrived in Kobe. However, the egg hatches, and the monster Barugon begins a rampage through the city. Its tongue emits a subzero vapor that freezes anything it touches, and it can unleash a lethal "rainbow ray" from its back that disintegrates matter. Gamera, attracted by Barugon's ray, attacks the monster, but Barugon is able to freeze Gamera solid. Karen tells the military that Barugon, being a land monster, is vulnerable to water and can be lured into Lake Biwa using a huge diamond, which will attract it. The effort is almost successful, but Onodera, infuriated by the loss of the "opal," steals the diamond--only to be killed by Barugon as he tries to escape.

Now, the military endeavors to turn Barugon's rainbow ray back on it via a giant parabolic mirror, but the effort only wounds the creature. However, Gamera has now thawed out and once again attacks the monster, finally dragging it into Lake Biwa, destroying it. The big turtle flies away to await a role in his next adventure, and Keisuke ponders how to make amends for his part in so much death and destruction.

Ostensibly the star, Gamera is actually a secondary character, spending most of the movie in frozen stasis. The greater part of the plot is about the massive undertaking to defeat Barugon, which, sadly for the Japanese, just isn't in the cards. In the end, it is up to Gamera to reappear and drag Barugon into the water. Gamera's long absence isn't much of a failing, however; much of Barugon's rampage is visually exciting, the attempts to counter him rather novel. Unfortunately, Barugon itself is not that impressive-looking a creature. While its design is suitably lizard-like, the man-in-suit technique by nature is not conducive to rendering a creature that walks on all fours. At least on occasion, the cinematography overcomes the problem by showing the monster behind rows of buildings or from angles that de-emphasize the body of the actor inside the suit.

Unlike the rest of the Showa Gamera series, including the original 1965 film, little kids play no part in the story, which is really how it ought to be anyway. The protagonist is among the most flawed in daikaiju movie history, and his part in the awry scheme to retrieve his brother's opal results in his suffering visible, almost unbearable guilt. Onodera, as a calculating, greedy, and thoroughly cold-hearted bastard, is a far darker character than most of the cartoon-like antagonists from the majority of that era's daikaiju films. Alas, despite my personal preference for it, the film's serious tone didn't go over quite so well with Japanese audiences--so many of whom were youngsters back in the day--and thus the subsequent Gamera films became more and more juvenile, deservedly earning the ridicule they so often received from western audiences.

I can't say enough good about the Shout! Factory DVD of Gamera vs. Barugon. It's a real treat, and showcases one of the most deserving giant monster movies of the 1960s. Go grab it. Go on.
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on May 16, 2011
Most of this movie sets up the introduction of (then having to deal with) Barugon. Since Gamera is put on ice for much of the movie, he really only rates a guest star billing. That's okay; it's still a good monster movie. There's plenty of action and intrigue (a fake opal and an enormous diamond are featured in the plot: almost as much greed as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). And then there are the pesky monsters to deal with (loved Barugon's rainbow effect). Surprisingly good, it's a keeper!
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on May 18, 2004
(...) The adult theme (greed) works very well & one can really get a sense of the main character's desperation & self-guilt as he, along with a native girl, struggles to find a way to destroy the monster "Barugon", hatched from an egg that he thought was an opal.
Most of the first run Gamera films were kiddie fare with the costume looking very "cute." This film is the exception & Gamera looks more "realistic" (well, as realistic as you can get from a '60's rubber monster suit!)
It should be noted that this version is the Sandy Frank video release from the 1980's. This film was previously released in the U.S. as "War of The Monsters" in the 1970's (& that's how most U.S. fans in their 30's remember it, having watched it on local tv stations growing up.) I first saw it when I was eight years old in 1977, on San Jose California's KNTV 11 5:30 Movie.
Both versions contain one inconsistency. When Barugon first appears, reporters on radio call the monster by name. However, later on, when Kara (the native girl) calls him by name, everyone acts as if they've never heard of the name "Barugon!" (Apparently, Kara is the one who's supposed to tell everyone who the monster is, but the dubbers decided not to correct that!)
This version, "Gamera vs. Barugon", has superior dubbing to "War of the Monsters" & includes important scenes that were deleted in the later's tv release. (The scenes included in "Gamera vs. Barugon" heighten the human story & the tension.)
However, the opening credits to "Gamera vs. Barugon" are written in "kiddie" crayon-type fonts. (Obviously, Sandy Frank geared their videos to a children's market.)
I'm not too sure if "Gamera vs. Barugon" (the Sandy Frank edited version) is still available on vhs for purchase, but recently, Alpha Video has re-released "War of The Monsters" (tv version, I think AIP?) on dvd.
If you're a fan of the "Golden Age" of kaiju-eiga, particularly those films from the 1960's, then both versions are worth checking out.
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on December 28, 2011
Following being shot into space at the end of GAMERA THE GIANT MONSTER, the colossal chelonian returns to Earth, and he is not happy. Fortunately for the human inhabitants of Japan, Gamera quickly finds an opponent worthy of his fiery rage: Barugon, the Freezing Monster, unleashed into the world by a quartet of treasure hunters who mistake Barugon's egg for an enormous (and enormously valuable) opal in New Guinea. The treasure hunters were warned by the locals to avoid the cave where the "opal" is hidden, but of course, they just had to disregard local superstition...soon it is up to Keisuke Hirata, a reformed treasure hunter, and the smokin' hot Karen, a New Guinea native, to find a way for Gamera to defeat Barugon before Japan is turned into a Sno-Cone!

GAMERA VS. BARUGON is the first Gamera film shot in color, something it takes glorious advantage of. The New Guinea scenes are replete with tapa-clad hula girls shaking what their mommas gave them, and Barugon sports a "Rainbow Ray" energy weapon in addition to his freezing breath. And the color in this transfer is beautiful -- I'd seen clips of the TV edit of GAMERA VS. BARUGON (released under the title WAR OF THE MONSTERS and the color was so washed out that the film was effectively sepia-tone. GAMERA VS. BARUGON is in the same 2:35:1 widescreen as GAMERA THE GIANT MONSTER, and again we're treated to a really crisp, attractive print with excellent audio -- I noticed this time around that the roars of the monsters are mixed louder than the human dialogue, hammering home the size and power of these behemoths.

With his long, spiky body, three facial horns and rapid-fire tongue, Barugon himself looks like a cross between a Jackson's Chameleon and a Komodo Dragon, and his quadrupedal gait is nicely realized. By contrast, Gamera's role in the movie seems light, as Barugon steals scene after scene. The entire film, actually, is a bit monster-light, but we are treated to some nice human adventure action in its place.

As for special features, once again August Ragone comments with authority, this time joined by Jason Varney. The commentary track as whole, I'll admit, is a little dry, but contains some impressive nuggets of information and enough back story on the entire cast and crew to please any serious student of Japanese film history. No documentary this time around, but we do get a gallery of an original movie program for GAMERA VS. BARUGON. The booklet in the DVD case contains some reminisces by Kojiro Hongo, who starred as Keisuke Hirata, and an attractive anatomical diagram of Barugon, showcasing his Sensor Horns, Rainbow Ray Emission Port, and Freezing Liquid Organ (Minus 100C!)

Overall, I'd call GAMERA VS. BARUGON as good a value as GAMERA THE GIANT MONSTER, and well worth inclusion in your collection of Japanese monster cinema. I doubt we'll ever see a DVD release of this film that look as good as this one.
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on May 20, 2015
You either like Gamera or not. I love these movies. Great fun all the way!
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on January 7, 2011
I like the way that Shout! did this dvd. The box art is cool and colorful. It even comes with a few-page book with character bios and an interview with the lead actor. And it has a cool picture of Barugon in it, as well. I actually bought Gamera vs Gyaos/Viras and Gamera vs Guiron/Jiger first, but this disc I think is better done. It has a commentary, which I could care less about, but is nice to have around. All of them have pictures and movie posters and stuff like that, as many other reviews have stated. Also as another reviewer had previously stated, I would have liked to have the english dub as well. Even though I hardly ever watch them anymore, in my opinion this, along with Gamera, The Giant Monster, had the better of the english dubs of the series. When they got to Viras, things went downhill from there. I haven't even watched the english dubs of my other two discs in this series, because I have seen clips of them on Mystery Science Theatre and other places and they are awful. Some of these movie companies like Shout!, namely Classic Media and Tokyo Shock are going to great lengths to give us Monster Movie fans good representations of good classic monster movies, (and there are some good ones out there) and we don't want them to stop. I know I will be supporting them for a long time. I may never get married, but...at least I'll have good monster movies! Anyway, it is a good quality disc you can buy at a cheap price. I am happy to have it on my monster movie shelf, and I think others will, too.
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on January 9, 2013
this is a fantastic movie a little dark for a kids film but the only problem is that it doesn't have dual audio
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on May 23, 2012
First and foremost, Shout! Factory has done an excellent job with the release of these DVDs and this film has never looked\sounded better!

The sequel to "Gamera: The Giant Monster", "Gamera vs Barugon" is arguably, one of the best of the Showa Gamera series and was the first Gamera film to be shown in color.

The creature designs, sets, special effects and photography are superb. The film's monsters fight and wreck havoc at night, giving a more realistic look; as opposed to most of the Gamera films to follow in the daytime and lacking in the special effects department (this is due to decreasing of budgets, as the series went on).

As mentioned in the title of this review, however, Gamera is not in the film very much. Surprisingly, Barugon is given most of the screen-time and the destruction of it's ice-spraying tongue and rainbow-ray that emits from it's back are rather impressive to watch.

The dam attack by Gamera, as he lands back to Earth in the beginning of the film, is well-done and the final battle between the two creatures is one of the most intense and bloody ones ever filmed in the Showa series.

It's strange that the Gamera films, following this film, began to be geared to children, yet they became more gory in the action scenes (something that was rarely seen in most Godzilla films, until the 1970's).

Now, the design of Barugon is not very menacing ( kinda looks like a horned-chameleon), but as a Gamera villian, it's one of the better monster designs that was seen in the Showa era. It looked closer to something that couldve come from a Toho film.

As I mentioned, Gamera is not in the film very much, so be prepared, but at least this film didn't have any kids as main human characters.

If you're a Gamera fan or a kaiju fan in general, this is definitely worth picking up and adding to your collection. It's a shame though that most of the Gamera films that followed (after, "Gamera vs. Gaos"), were less impressive in their productions.
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