I ask you, is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than watching a Japanese monster movie. Of course not. This was one of the staples of my childhood. Watch cartoons in the morning and in the afternoon, you would get a monster movie. The first time I ever saw this movie was on a Saturday when I was living in Texas. This was before I had heard of Frankenstein Conquers The World so this was an entirely new monster movie for me to watch and enjoy. So without further ado, here is today’s movie, War Of The Gargantuas.
The plot: During a storm, a fishing boat is caught up in a battle between a giant octopus and a green, humanoid creature (Gaira). After defeating the octopus, Gaira attacks the boat and crew. When questioning the survivor, the authorities are skeptical about his claim of a monster attacking the boat. However, when further attacks occur, including one at an airport, the authorities begin making plans to destroy the monster. They finally manage to severely wound Gaira but before they can finish it off, a second, brown Gargantua (Sanda) appears to rescue him. Dr. Paul Stewart, his assistant Akemi, and Dr. Yuzo Majida, scientists who had studied a Gargantua in the past, theorize that Sanda is the one from their lab and is peaceful while Gaira is the dangerous one. This proves to be true but when Sanda discovers that Gaira has recently eaten some people, the two creatures start fighting. Their battle rages all through Tokyo and out into the sea where an underwater volcano has started erupting and engulfs them both.
So this is a sequel to Frankenstein Conquers The World but you wouldn’t really know it if you only watched the US version. The only reference to the previous film is a brief comment Dr. Stewart makes about studying a desiccated hand from an unknown creature. However in the Japanese version, the creatures are called Frankensteins instead of Gargantuas, in order to show a connection to the earlier film. Aside from that, there are a lot of similarities between the two movies. Both movies had a team of scientist comprised of an American scientist, a male Japanese scientist, and a female Japanese scientist/assistant. There is a scene involving a fight between a giant octopus and the monster in both movies. Both movies show the creature developing a bond with the female scientist. Both of the creatures have bodies that can regrow missing parts when they absorb enough protein. What is really funny is that the male Japanese scientist has the same first name in both movies (Yuzo Kawaji in Frankenstein and Yuzo Majida in Gargantua).
It might be because I saw this first, but I liked this movie more than it’s predecessor. In a way, this felt more like a weird Jekyll and Hyde, with Sanda being the good half and Gaira being the evil half. The suits for the monsters honestly looked like something you would see in a Bigfoot movie, but I will be honest, they looked better than some Bigfoot costumes I have seen. The fighting between the two creatures, as well as between the military and Gaira, was great. Plus this showed the military actually being able to hurt one of the giant monsters, something that usually does not happen in other movies.
So for a great monster movie that does not feature the big names from this genre, you should watch this movie.
Rating 4 out of 5