War of The Gargantuas/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< War of The Gargantuas

A sea vessel runs into trouble when it's crew gets attacked by a giant octopus. Help arrives in the form of a sea-based Gargantua who gets the best out of the creature. But just when the crew are about to praise the Gargantua for his heroics, the giant beast turns on them and does his own attacking.

Back at the hospital, one of the panic-strickened sole survivors murmurs out what was responsible for the attack, "...Frankenstein..." Phone calls are then made to a doctor of science, Paul Stewart (Russ Tamblyn, Satan's Sadists) and his assistant, Akemi (Kumi Mizuno), who had once cared for and overlooked a young, diminutive Frankenstein/Gargantua that they named Sanda. But Sanda eventually escaped from the lab and found a new home in the mountains. Both Akemi and Paul are confident that it isn't Sanda who has been causing the death and destruction, but rather a "clone" that had been created by Sanda's cells. The theory proves correct when eyewitness accounts indicate that the dangerous Gargantua is green (Sanda is brown) plus the fact that this Gargantua (named Gailah) is ocean-based and fears the sunlight, which Sanda does not.

The military takes action against Gailah and succeeds in nearly trapping and killing him, but Sanda emerges to help and save his "brother". At the same time, orders are made by Paul that the military should prevent harming either Gailah or Sanda with weapons because a simple strand of their DNA could regenerate and create more offspring! Meanwhile, as Sanda helps to take care of Gailah, he notices that Gailah feeds on humans and is alarmed by this. Sanda backs off from Gailah at this point, but the grudge between the two Gargantuas soon explodes when Gailah harms Akemi. Since the military can no longer intervene, it's all up to Sanda to restore the peace. But in order to do this, he has to battle it out with his "twin" in the streets of Tokyo.

If one may be confused by the "Frankenstein" talk in this film, it's because it was meant to be a sequel (or, at least, a loose sequel) to Frankenstein Conquers The World with the Gargantuas being the cell-offspring from the Frankenstein character (all this information was deleted from the original U.S. version). As for this movie itself, much of it is by-the-numbers in typical Kaiju fashion. There's the usual "What is it that's causing the destruction?" and "What can we do to stop it?" sections that you're always accustomed to seeing.

But to break up the monotony, at least there's that amusing (and quite famous) sequence of Gailah's attack....on a lounge singer! But really, one of the more stand-out indications on why War of The Gargantuas is still one of the more beloved and respected of all the Giant Monster classics is due to the costume design and the performances of the Gargantuas. Unlike the quite hefty and immobile suits that you see on Godzilla, Ghidorah, etc the much slimmer Garagantua costumes allow more natural fluidity for the performers to convey emotion and pull off some satisfying stunts when they lay the smackdown on each other or on other large objects (I'm a big fan of Gailah's "hissing" sounds). It actually is too bad that this would be the first and last time that the film world would see these two legendary behemoths on the screen because a sequel (or more) would have likely generated enough fan interest. In the end, it always seems better to make film history one time only rather than to continue beating a dead "Gargantua" into the ground.

Reviewed by Laydback

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