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Gamera vs. Monster X / Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
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Relive the Golden Age of Japanese monster films with this pair of titanic adventures! First, Daiei's fire-breathing, flying turtle Gamera returns to battle a horned beast, Monster X, released from a stone statue moved from Wester Island. Facing off in Osaka, they create a demolition derby of destruction you won"t soon forget! Then Nikkatsu Studios takes its turn in the monster sweepstakes with Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, made as Dai Kyoju Gappa and also shown as Gappa: The Triphibian Monster. In this loose, unofficial remake of Gorgo, a baby reptile-bird monster is captured and taken to Tokyo where its agitated mother and father come looking to reclaim their offspring!
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Top customer reviews
1) Opinion of film: Several things stand out: a) a monster that reproduces via parasitic larvae--this movie was way ahead of its time--and shoots darts out of its head, which is really neat; b) I liked the fact that Gamera was a friend to children, and the children had exciting and (sort of) plausible adventures to save his life--as a kid, I was fascinated by the children taking a sub into Gamera to find out why it was sick and then saving it from the parasite; and c) I was also greatly amused by Gamera sticking telephone poles in its ears to protect them against loud noise.
Although the film looks very different to these adult eyes, I still enjoyed watching it, and my children did, too. The more recent Gamera films from the 1990s are far superior in most every way, but this film was a special treat for me as a child, and I'm glad to own the DVD of it.
2) Opinion of DVD: All of the DVD versions that I have seen of the old Gamera films look faded with poor color. Although you can tell the print is old, this one isn't as bad as some.
This movie is pan-and-scan; I have never seen a completely widescreen version of this or any other old Gamera film, though the fight scenes suggest that they were filmed that way. (Gamera vs. Barugon is a good example, and I can't help but remember seeing fight scenes of that in widescreen--none of the VHS or DVD versions of that film are widescreen, though, so I can't confirm that.) Nevertheless, this version does mirror what I saw on TV as a child, so I won't complain.
Although I would prefer a restored print in widescreen format, if available, with all of the bells and whistles of a modern release, I accept that this is a cult film with a relatively small following; I'll take what I can get. The price is a little high, but, because I've wanted to see this again for so long, I can't be too picky.
3) Overall: As old monster movies go, this is neither a classic nor a dud, so I should rate it 3 stars. However, it is one of the better installments of the old Gamera series (Gamera vs. Barugon--aka "War of the Monsters"--being the best and most dramatic, in my opinion, and Gamera vs. Zigra or Gamera vs. Guiron being among the worst), and it has been my sentimental favorite for years (definitely a children's film compared to Gamera vs. Barugon!). Since it is one of the better ones from the old series, I'm giving it 4 stars. Adult fans of the old series will mostly be grateful for this, and, if my children are any indication, kids who like monster movies will probably enjoy it.
As for Gappa, aka "Monster From a Prehistoric Planet," it's a nifty extra treat for kaiju fans...if you enjoy absolutely awful dubbing and rather sub-par SPFX. The Gappa monsters themmselves are basically combinations of Godzilla and Rodan, but they're still pretty creative (especially their roars).
Overall, a decent disc, considering that it's the best that we're going to get here in the US.
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