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Sunday 26 August 2012

Burl reviews War of the Gargantuas! (1967)

Aiiiii, it’s Burl! Ha ha, no, I’m not a giant monster, just the same gentle movie reviewer you’ve always known! But today I’m reviewing War of the Gargantuas, a movie about giant monsters, or at least about gargantuas! (I waited in vain for an appearance by Pantagruel, however!) They’re pretty monstrous, these gargantuas, and in case they’re too humanoid for you, even though they’re big, shaggy and ugly, this movie tosses in a giant octopus for good measure!
The movie starts off with a good, creepy scene! A guy at the helm of a fishing boat is menaced by tentacles which poke in through the doors and grab at him! Ha ha, it’s a mighty kraken! The tentacle effects are perhaps the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! Anyway, just as it seems the boat is going to be made a meal of by the enormous calamari, a green-furred gargantua shows up and battles the eight-legged beast! But the green monster is soon sinking the boat himself, and he eats up the crew like they were Junior Mints! Ha ha, munch munch!
Well, soon a laconic roundeyes named Professor Stewart, evidently a professor of giant monsters, is called in to advise on the situation! He’s played by Russ "Blood Screams" Tamblyn, who was, I presume, on a heavy program of barbiturates at the time! It seems that he and his pretty assistant once kept a small brown gargantua as a lab specimen and friend, but he escaped! The army wants to eliminate all gargantuas regardless of fur colour, so it’s up to this dynamic duo to prevent the killing of their chum the brown gargantua while helping to defeat the seemingly unstoppable green one! Added to this is the problem that if you blow up a gargantua, each bit will eventually become a full-sized gargantua itself, just like with the artichoke monster from Blood Beach!
Meanwhile, the green gargantua is making attacks all over Japan! He munches on a lady at an airport and later grabs a nightclub singer just as she’s finished warbling a wonderful, terrible pop song called “The Words Get Stuck In My Throat!” She almost gets stuck in the gargantua’s throat, but narrowly escapes! Soon the brown gargantua appears, and he hangs fire for a bit while apprising himself of the situation! Russ Tamblyn checks out some Yeti prints in the mountains, where for some reason everybody else is wearing climbing gear while he’s in a cream-coloured sports jacket!
Eventually the brown fellow realizes his green counterpart is a bit of a jerk! The war of the gargantuas finally begins in earnest, and many innocent model buildings are crushed! Ha ha, I often wonder about the Sisyphean labours of the Kaiju movie modelmakers! They construct these wonderful, detailed little worlds only to step back and watch them get immediately crushed to flinders by a few dudes in rubber suits! Ha ha, that must be just the least little bit frustrating, you’d think!
Well, I’ll confess that I’ve never been very much into the Japanese monster movies, maybe because so many of them seem geared towards kids, but when I watch them I tend to enjoy them, and this one was no different! I always love giant octopus scenes, so I give it extra points for that, and for sleepy Russ Tamblyn too! The models are great, and some of the scenes, where the green gargantua makes a terrifying noise and runs around stomping things in slow motion, are almost kind of scary! I also liked that horrible song! I give War of the Gargantuas two and a half groups of merrily singing youths!  

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