GAMERA VS JIGER
GAMERA VS MONSTER X; MONSTERS INVADE EXPO 70
(Gamera tai Daimaju Jaiga)
The entire pitch of Gamera vs Jiger has been to make the film in and around Expo 70, the 1970 worlds fair (which highlights industry and culture and has been held annually in a different city of the world since 1756). This was the first time that Japan had been chosen to host a worlds fair. Clearly, Japan regarded this as a major cultural prestige and saw fit to conceive an entire monster movie around it the film was even sold as Monsters Invade Expo 70 in some places. There is the usual loopy plotting of these films the talk of Wester Island (an obvious play on Easter Island and the moai (stone heads) there), as well as connection made to the lost continent of Mu, a now discredited 19th Century notion of a sunken continent in the Pacific Ocean, which takes the film into the arena of Erich von Daniken and Ancient Astronauts see Chariots of the Gods (1970) that was gaining much popularity around the time. The same fascinations and reference to Mu also turned up in Tohos Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) soon after.
One of the strangest aspects of the film is where the filmmakers have taken clear inspiration from the hit US film Fantastic Voyage (1966) about a submarine crew being miniaturised and undertaking a journey inside the human body to conduct a medical operation. Here the film diverts off into a substantial subplot that has been directly copied from Fantastic Voyage where two kids enter Gameras body in a submersible (not miniaturised) to remove an infection caused by Jigers larvae. This is a bizarrely unconvincing sequence where we essentially get Fantastic Voyage conducted on the cheap there are almost no exteriors or model shots of the submarine inside Gameras body, mostly just a sequence set in a cave filled with inflated plastic bags where the kids fight off a rubbery embryo Jiger.
The film is, as most of the Gamera films of this period were, hampered by crappy special effects. Gamera looks rubbery and immobile. There are some childish fights between it and Jiger they batting rocks back and forth; Gamera picking Jiger up, flying up into the air and dive-bombing him into the ground; Jiger firing its needles and downing Gamera. Clearly coming up with some kind of original monster was proving a strain and Jiger looks like a stubby triceratops. Not to mention that it comes with some decidedly strange powers aside from being able to create sonic blasts, fire an arsenal of needles at enemies and an extendable syringe tail that injects larvae, it can discharge its needles in a square pattern across wide areas and then fire a ray from the glowing horn on the top of its head that disintegrates everything inside the field.
As kaiju eiga of this era goes, Gamera vs Jiger makes for one of the weaker. One of the biggest drawbacks dramatically is that Gamera is downed by Jiger and left in a near-death state for much of the middle of the film a rather absurd condition that involves it lying partially in the water with its head and one paw painted white for some length of time. The climactic battle between the two monsters is completely ridiculous the thoroughly absurd image of Gamera picking up two telephone poles and jamming them into its ears to protect against Jigers sonic rays; not to mention the children standing on the sideline cheering Gamera on and even shouting out combat directions to it.
The other Gamera films are: Gammera the Invincible (1965), War of the Monsters/Gamera vs Baragon (1966), Return of the Giant Monsters/Gamera vs Gyaos (1967), Destroy All Planets (1968), Attack of the Monsters/Gamera vs Guiron (1969), Gamera vs Zigra (1971) and Gamera: Super Monster (1980). The series was revived in the 1990s with Gamera, The Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2: Assault of Legion (1996), Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999) and Gamera the Brave (2006).
Trailer here (Japanese language no subs):-
Full film available online here:-