krpalmer: (mst3k)
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The strange odyssey through the Gamera episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is complete with "Gamera vs. Zigra," which happened to be the last made of the "original" Gamera movies, thanks in part to the (fiscal) bankruptcy of the studio making them. (There were two movies in that initial cycle that Mystery Science Theater didn't feature, including one glimpsed in flashback in "Gamera vs. Guiron" where the kids are in Boy Scout uniforms, but "more Gamera episodes" might well have been "too much of a good thing.") Things are a little more "traditional" than the last time around, but that, of course, doesn't say that much.

Starting off with a (model) Moon base laid waste by a strange spaceship compared by our heroes to part of the Sydney Opera House and an illuminated candy dish, we then head straight to Earth and a Japanese Sea World. Two adults muse about the dangers of water pollution ("Hey, save the message for the end of the movie!"), and their Japanese son "Kenny" (which I suppose hints the Japanese names in the particularly stilted dubbing of "Gamera vs. Guiron" was more a matter of somebody else handling it) and American daughter Helen stow away on their small boat to be treated to a fly-by appearance of Gamera complete with theme song; Kenny gets to inform the less culturally literate Helen of Gamera's friendliness to all children. Then, the whole boat gets beamed on board the spaceship.

Inside the spaceship (complete with monster head near the ceiling), a lone space woman in a shiny, form-fitting outfit threatens the world on behalf of Zigra with earthquakes of unbelievable magnitude, as high as and higher than "thirteen and a half." ("Which is also the IQ of Sandy Frank.") She hypnotises the adults, but somehow Kenny and Helen are able to evade and subdue her and then figure out how to teleport back out to open water, where Gamera scoops up the boat ("You're in good hands with Gamera.") and flies it ashore, where a strangely dressed old man stretches out the movie somewhat. Then, in the midst of a general evacuation, the space woman hypnotises the bikini off someone fleeing the beach with the thought that this will let her blend in and track down Kenny and Helen.

All of a sudden, a Sea World employee is arguing with a hotel manager about fish ("What does this have to do with anything?") for quite some time ("No one will be seated during the famous fish argument.") until he at last drives away only to pick up the space woman. ("Fish Argument Theatre will be back! But first, a scene from Plot Convenience Playhouse.") At Sea World, she manages to change into an ordinary dress, but Helen and Kenny escape her clutches in part through throwing a large teddy bear at her. ("Oh, yeah. Travel through the fourth dimension, no problem. Stuffed animals, watch out!")

In the meantime, Gamera has charged into action, but mostly manages to turn the spaceship (which has already wiped out the forces of mankind off-screen) into the pointy shark-parrot-swordfish monster Zigra before some abrupt editing has the adults figuring out yelling into a walkie-talkie will break the space woman's hypnotism. In the nick of time, she's returned to normal as well and revealed to be from the Moon base, but with no memory of how to battle Zigra. Somewhere in the editing, Gamera wound up with his head stuck into the sea floor and his feet sticking out into the air, so the two adults descend in a yellow (model) bathysphere to discover Kenny and Helen have stowed away. Zigra cuts the bathysphere cable, but in the nick of time some convenient lightning has restored Gamera to life. He gets Zigra ashore, and despite Zigra being able to stand up Gamera subdues him, plays a snatch of his own theme song using Zigra's spikes as an xylophone, and finally incinerates his opponent with his flaming breath. In place of the Coke Helen has been asking for the whole movie, she gets something orange in a pop bottle ("Wait a minute, she doesn't have a Coke, she's got a Rolling Rock!"), but that's good enough as Gamera flies away in triumph.

Even the "riffing" gets around to commenting on how things seem to be missing from the movie, and whether simulated or genuine, resentment for the man whose name is on every one of the Japanese movies this season seems to be starting to boil over, with Tom Servo singing "I curse the day Sandy Frank was born!" during the Gamera theme instead of "Spam, Spam, Spam," at one point. The "host segments," though almost seem to compensate, with Crow and Tom presenting a cutaway model of Gamera (complete with appropriate musical accompaniment), the construction in play-dough of moments from the Gamera series (where Gypsy still seems particularly thick-witted, but Joel manages to invoke a sense of "family"), Kenny and Helen flying by on Gamera's back (they still manage to be poorly dubbed despite being played by "Best Brains" Michael J. Nelson and Bridget Jones), and a final string of interpretations of the Gamera theme song, with even Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank (as he calls himself during the "Invention Exchange," although he's not billed as that yet in the end credits) getting in on the fun with heavy metal garb courtesy of a local Harley-Davidson dealership.

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