Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Sci-Fi Action  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Gamera 3: Jashain Kakusei is fun. Sure, the science espoused in the film -- something about pollution and bad vibes -- doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but if you are looking for real scientific insights, go watch Nova. Compared to previous kaiju eiga (Japanese monster movies), this film is a marked step forward in terms of special effects. Though there are still a number of shots that recall that man-in-a-rubber-suit look that defines much of the genre, overall the special effects equal if not surpass Hollywood products. The scene where Gamera trashes the ultra-trendy Tokyo neighborhood Shibuya is almost worth the price of admission itself. The detail in which Gamera 3's set designers re-create that district in miniature is astonishing. Compared to Roland Emmerich's hackneyed Godzilla, Gamera 3 not only looks more plausible, but also has a soul. Unlike the rather anonymous lizard in Emmerich's work, Gamera has personality and real presence. At one point, the evil Iris has Gamera pinned against the wreckage of Kyoto's train station. It looks like the end of the gargantuan protagonist and one can actually see its face register surprise, panic, and finally resolve. Though the film loses steam in its third act, Gamera 3 is a wild ride and a worthy successor to the long Gamera lineage.