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Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Year: 1999
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Producer: Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
SFX: Shinji Higuchi
Cast: Ayako Fujitani, Yukijiro Hotaru, Shinobu Nakayama, Ai Maeda, Aki Maeda
The Skinny: Third installment of the Heisei Gamera series. A young girl, whose family was inadvertently killed by Gamera, raises a monster called Iris to destroy him.

     Gamera 3: The Awakening of Iris is not just a monster movie; it's an art picture. It's also the Kaiju film that set a new standard for the genre. It's the film by which all others that came after it would be measured. (At least until Shusuke Kaneko's Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Daikaijû soukougeki was released in 2001).
     Gamera 3 employs not only the only tried and true suitmation and miniature methods of Kaiju filmmaking, but also some CGI. The elements are combined for several thrilling sequences. However, the action scenes and monster battles are few and far between, and though the plot and characters are interesting, the story sometimes drags. There is also a strange mystical subplot dealing with ancient priestesses and the end of the world, and it never realizes it's full potential.
Gamera is portrayed as a much darker deity in this installment. The people of Japan are sick of dealing with the destruction he causes every time a Gyaos shows up, and even the heroine of the film has suffered because of Gamera and wants him dead. Ayana's family was accidentally killed during his battle with the Gyaos at the end of the first film. As fate would have it, she ends up bonding with an ancient being that will oppose Gamera. She named the being Iris, after her cat who also died during the battle between Gamera and Gyaos.
     Ayana is a dark and brooding girl on poised on the cusp of womanhood. It's a theme explored by director Shusuke Kaneko in the Gamera films as well as his supernatural film Crossfire, but its use is more overt here. Iris grows into maturity simultaneously with Ayana, and actually physically absorbs her in an amazingly hypnotic scene toward the end of the picture.
     Ayana eventually resolves her issues with the turtle just as an enormous flock of Gyaos approach. Gamera will continue to fight for mankind no matter how bad the odds are. Those who feel all giant monster movies are "silly" need to see this film. It will almost certainly change their views. (Magicvoice 2002) Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen