After a spectacular opening featuring Gamera's return to Earth and his destruction of a hydroelectric plant, this Kaiju flick drops off into a rather mundane effort. A group of thieves arrive at a remote island to steal a fabled treasure, but the opal they seek hatches to become the monsterous Barugon, a giant ice-breathing lizard! The first third plays out more like a precursor to Action/Adventure films like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and takes time in developing each of the human characters that tie together the giant monster battles. While the film composites, miniature work, and cinematography show improvements over the original, the design of Gamera's first major foe Barugon is the embodiment of the cheap rubber monster stereotype. The costume destroys the illusion with its lifeless eyes and rigid movement, and unfortunately Barugon receives nearly twice the screentime as the superior Gamera suit. The monster brawls are OK in this one, but are few and far between. What is surprising is the ferocity given to Barugon as he destroys the city and chews through its citizens. There is a little fun to be had in this one, but it is far inferior to its rivals in the GODZILLA series.
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