Destroy All Planets

Director: Noriaki [Kenji] Yuasa

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Destroy All Planets The fourth Gamera film, Gamera tai uchu kaiju Bairasu (1968), is best known in the west as Destroy All Planets, despite that there are no planets other than Earth anywhere in the story. It's sometimes known by a more apropos title, Gamera vs Viras or Gamera vs. Outer Space Monster Viras. It's too bad Mystery Science Fiction Theater never bothered to lampoon this particular episode, because Space Monster Viras has a strange resemblance to both Tom Servo & Crow T. Robot.

The film opens with one of the wackiest alien space ships ever, seemingly constructed from candy-striped pingpong balls. As invaders prepare to attack the Earth, from out of the blue appears the whirling carapace of Gamera the giant space turtle who saves the world before anyone on the planet even knew they were endangered. This opening is wonderfully cartoony.

Destroy All PlanetsBut the invaders won't give up that easily & will send a second candy striped warship to fight Gamera, knowing they must get him out of the way before they can take over Earth.

The middle of the film is greatly padded out with clips of Gamera's battles with past adversaries, including his match with the papier mache Jackson chameleon called Baragon, & his match with the supersonic pterodactyl named Gaosu or Gyaos. A third of the film is recycled footage from the earlier episodes, & tests one's patience for watching rubber suits grapple & spew smoke.

Boyscouts & girlscouts of Japan are having an outing when two troublemaking little boys wander off to their own adventures about the same time the war between rocket-powered Gamera & the candy space ship begins. The aliens kidnap the boys & threaten to kill them unless Gamera will tear up some models of stuff, so Gamera stomps around in some models for a while, destroying a dam. When the boys make good their escape, however, Gamera is freed up to wallop the alien space ship.

The master alien Viras survives the destruction of his ship. He was originally a six or seven foot tall squid, but by absorbing all the other aliens he turns into a humongous squid that has an extended wrestling match with Gamera.

This is a kiddy flick all the way with little boy heros & cutesie monsters & cutesie mini-sub & spaceship models, most of it obtainable in toystores of the time. Anyone who likes Japanese monster movies shouldn't overlook this one, but anyone who finds them rather moronic will find this one particularly so.

For another Gamera film, see:
Attack of the Monsters; aka, Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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