Gamera vs Viras (1968)
Aka: Destroy all Planets
Directed by Kenji Yuasa
This is some great kitsch 60s Sci-fi. We see an alien spaceship, a circle of connected honey-bee orbs enter earth’ s vicinity and a computer inside begins to speak. It lists similarities to their planet and the orders for immediate takeover of the Earth. Suddenly a giant flying turtle shows up smashing half the ship and sending the remaining piece back into space in flames. Gamera is protecting the earth from enemies.
This is the first Gamera film directly aimed/made for 6-10 year-old boys as we are immediately introduced to the stars of the film, two boy scouts Masao and Jim. There’s no semblance of any kind of adult sci-fi theme or storyline. We follow them as they commandeer a Yellow Submarine (60s coincidence? Think not) and the scientists and military follow their every whim, need and command.
The boys find Gamera underwater, trapped in a bubble. It seems the alien ship is back and are researching Gamera’ s past. We get recycled footage from all the first three Gamera films. We get the entire Gamera -Barugon battle followed by a good portion of the Gamera v Gyaos city battle and end battle. Over a half hour of reused battle footage is here folks! Did they make a new movie somewhere in here? The aliens take the boys hostage to control Gamera and make him protect the spaceship.
Gamera gets the command…GAMERA DESTROY TOKYO and he does with more reused footage in b&w no less… and with a color space ship following close behind. Gotta’ laugh.
Viras speaks and he sounds like a Spanish guy with a thick moustache in a Western Movie. He decapitates all the alien people, Pretty brutal for a kids flick and they all turn to squid. Viras absorbs them until he’s giant and the final battle may begin….finally. Ooh, an underwater battle. Queue up some exciting action hero music. Damn, Viras knifed that turtle like a burger on a grill, blue blood everywhere! But in the end Gamera comes out on top and wins the day for the boys and saves earth once again.
Needless to say, if you’re not 6 – 10 years old (or had at least seen this film at that age and want some nostalgia), you’re probably not going to like this flick.
Cool stuff: Blinky light alien eyes, cool. Love that films wanted to portray the depth of clouds around the earth. Love that the aliens are wearing Chinese laundry uniforms from the 60s. Love the retro-60’s space designs and colors. My mom had lamps and furniture that looked like these spaceships in our house when I was a kid.