GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS
(Gamera 3: Iris Kakusei)
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris starts out slowly. There is one real knockdown effects sequence over Tokyo about twenty minutes in but for the most part the film tries to rely on plot. This is unfortunately a relatively slight affair, involving a number of female characters that it becomes difficult to tell apart and many of the recyclable elements of the Japanese monster movie genre schoolkids finding a talisman/ancient inheritance that gives them a link to the monster, evil mutant versions of the good hero monster. In a couple of interesting developments, Revenge of Iris seems to be a New Age Japanese monster movie with Gamera feeding upon mana and more eco-friendly themes. There is one amusing scene that starts to dig around the meta-edges of the Japanese monster movies with people gathered at a symposium to ask why so many monsters attack Japan.
However, any sense that Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris might turn out to be a forgettable entry, as the 1960s and 70s sequels were, is soon overcome with the devastating effects extravaganza of the first battle over Tokyo. This contains stunning sequences with Gamera and Gyaos grappling, fireballs smashing down on crowded streets and people being ignited in blasts. It left the audience I was with audibly gasping and wowing. The middle of the film is filled with extraordinarily beautiful images the Iris creature unfurling its glowing wings or enfolding Ayana inside its tentacles. However, it is the mass destruction scenes that make Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris so exciting the enthralling scene with fighter planes taking on Gyaos and Gamera above the clouds; Iris attacking the soldiers in the woods; and especially the huge-scale climax with Gamera and Iris battling over Tokyo and inside a railway station. This climactic scene manages such a scale of small and the colossal, of detail in its models and conviction in its effects that the results are stunning.
The other Gamera films are: Gammera the Invincible (1965), Gamera vs Barugon/War of the Monsters (1966), Gamera vs Gyaos/Return of the Giant Monsters (1967), Destroy All Planets/Gamera vs Viras (1968), Attack of the Monsters (1969), Gamera vs Jiger/Gamera vs Monster X/War of the Monsters/Monsters Invade Expo 70 (1970), Gamera vs Zigra (1971), Gamera: Super Monster (1980), Gamera, The Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2: Assault of Legion (1996) and Gamera the Brave (2006).
Shusuke Kaneko has directed other genre films such as the The Cold episode of the H.P. Lovecraft anthology Necronomicon (1993), School Ghost Story 3 (1997), the spectacular pyrokinesis film Cross Fire/Pyrokinesis (2000), Godzilla Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), the fantasy musical Toast of Love (2002); the hit horrors of Death Note (2006) and Death Note: The Last Name (2006); and Danger Dolls (2014) about an all-girl sf action team.
(Nominee for Best Special Effects at this sites Best of 1999 Awards).