12/13/06

308 Gamera vs. Gaos

(1967, Children-Rubber Monster, color)

They’re flying over a pot roast!

Rating: **1/2

In a nutshell:

Benevolent turtle monster Gamera does battle with the evil, wedge-headed Gaos.

Summary:

You could darn socks with that nose.Gamera flies over Japan and lands in a volcano while scientists fly in behind him to investigate. A laser shoots into the sky, cutting their helicopter in half.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Department of Transportation (I think) wants to build a freeway over the mountain, but the greedy farmers won’t sell them the land on which to build. The stalled road crew (including the Japanese versions of Abbot and Costello) decides to go up and investigate a stinky green light that might be gold deposits.

Also in the meanwhile, a reporter commandeers a local kid named Itchy to guide him up the mountain. In a cave at the top, the mountain begins to shake. The reporter abandons Itchy, only to get eaten by the monster Gaos.

Gaos has a head shaped like a splitting wedge and a jaw like a Pez Dispenser. He spits lasers and eats people. He also has giant bat-like wings, and shoots green smoke from his armpits. Gaos leans down to devour Itchy as well, but Gamera shows up and drives him away. The road crew helps Itchy get down from Gamera's back; the wounded turtle monster then goes to rest underwater.

Of course, the military immediately cedes full control of the situation to Itchy and the road crew foreman. Itchy points out several of Gaos’ obvious weaknesses (i.e. he only comes out at night, sunlight burns him) and comes up with several bizarre plans to destroy him. The Foreman constructs each of these Gaos traps by the evening of each day. These include, but are not limited to: industrial-sized flares, a fountain of synthetic blood on a giant turntable, and a raging forest fire.

In the end, all the plans fail, Gamera shows up to save them, and the greedy farmers agree to the original asking price of the freeway land.

Introduction:

I wish they'd actually gotten around to doing this sketch.Tom and Crow talk to each other in raspy celebrity voices, and will only respond to Joel’s questions if he does a raspy celebrity voice as well.

Host Segment One:

Dr. Forrester invents “thought printers” which display your self-image while you speak. Frank’s shows him as a clown. Dr. Forrester’s shows him in a bikini. Joel invents the fax Kleenex dispenser, which prints faxes on tissue paper. Someone faxes him the cure to the common cold, but he sneezes into it. Dr. Forrester interrupts Frank while introduces the movie. “Today, Gamera’s opponent is—” “Oh, like it matters.”

Host Segment Two:

Joel does an arts and crafts project, teaching the kids at home to make a Gaos head out of paper. Tom and Crow help by suggesting that mucilage tastes like honey and encouraging kids to deface library books. Joel drags Tom off for punishment while Crow announces that the word of the day is “booger.”

Host Segment Three:

Joel and the ‘Bots attempt to stage their own version of the classic opera Götterdämmerung, the “Gamera-dämmerung,” but setting it up takes so long that they have to return to the film before they can begin.

Host Segment Four:

Crow is Ed Sullivan, introducing Joel as “The Great Gaos.” Joel tries unsuccessfully to spin four Gamera-shaped plates at once.

Host Segment Five:

Joel and the ‘Bots stand around thinking of overcomplicated ways of killing Gaos, such as feeding him a cup of gasoline, followed by a wintergreen lifesaver (that sparks when you chew it). They ignore Crow’s far more straightforward suggestions, such as chopping his head off. They ask viewers to send ideas into the “Ways To Snuff Gaos Contest.” TV’s Frank gets his entry ready.

Stinger:

Japanese Abbot and Japanese Costello engage in terrified embrace.

Thoughts:

I would have called these guys the Japanese Martin and Lewis, but you can't make a Martin and Lewis out of two Lewises.Though Gamera appears in this film far more than in Gamera vs. Barugon with three whole monster fights, he’s still not in the movie much. Mostly it’s about Gaos, Itchy, and the greedy farmers. Apparently, while they were dubbing and reediting, someone at Sandy Frank’s studio came to the same conclusion. After the film ends they include a long montage of monster battles from Gamera, Gamera vs. Barugon, and Gamera vs. Gaos. It doesn’t really help.

The host segments are focused and work fairly well, especially Joel’s arts and crafts segment, and the overcomplicated death plans for Gaos. The Gamera-dämmerung was funny, but I would rather have seen their version of the Götterdämmerung than watch them run out of time getting ready.

The jokes fly fairly well during the film segments, especially during the monster battles, though Itchy’s ridiculous instructions to the military council work well too. When Itchy first appears on the screen Crow asks, “Do all Japanese children have to dress like fisher price people?” There’s also a funny bit where they make it sound like Itchy’s greedy grandfather is mooing. Still, there’s a lot of uneventful sitting around while each new monster trap is built. Solid host segments and an uneven film make this episode worth at least one viewing.