Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)

Class: User
Score: (5/5)
May 11th, 2005 [Review May Contain Spoilers]

There are many words that describe Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. The words "magnificent" and "amazing" just barely scratch the surface. Yes, these are strong words, but do they really suit this film? The answer is a resounding yes! Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is pure cinematic gold. With few, if any, visible flaws whatsoever, this movie is truly one of the best kaiju movies ever.

Ayana Hirasaka wants nothing more than revenge on Gamera. The enormous creature killed her parents and cat when Gamera first fought Super Gyaos.

Gyaos suddenly start appearing all over Earth, and Gamera begins to attack them. Gamera defeats two Hyper Gyaos, but the monstrous turtle has obviously become more relentless, causing massive damage to the surrounding city.

Soon, Ayana finds a mysterious egg, which hatches to reveal a mutated Gyaos. Ayana cares for the creature, calling him "Iris", in memory of her late cat. Soon, Iris tries to merge with Ayana, but fails in his attempt. The creature soon grows to full size, revealing itself to be a huge monster, with saber-like arms and four tentacles of a mind-boggling length.

Iris takes off to the sky and begins to head toward a nearby city. Gamera intervenes and begins to fight Iris in the sky. Soon, Iris gains the upper hand and knocks Gamera away. It continues on until it lands in the city. Gamera arrives back on the scene and fires some plasma balls at Iris. Iris merely swats them away, showing to the world that he will not go down easily. The two then stare each other down, until Gamera finally charges. The epic battle begins!

The two fight until Iris once again gains the upper hand. The malicious monster impales Gamera through his shell with his saber-like hand. He then shoves Gamera into a train station, causing him to crash into the ground. Gamera is apparently down and out. Iris then merges with Ayana and begins to show her the truth about Gamera: he didn't mean to kill her parents. Ayana seems trapped, left in the endless abyss inside Iris.

Though Ayana seems to be lost forever, Gamera suddenly shoves his hand into Iris's stomach and pulls Ayana out. Iris strikes back, stabbing his saber-like hand into Gamera's arm. Iris begins to absorb the life energy out of Gamera and his tentacles suddenly begin to move to his head. They reveal small plasma balls, which gradually grow until they become the size of Gamera! Gamera has no choice but to escape. Unfortunately, he sacrifices his hand in the process, blasting it off. Iris proceeds to shoot the plasma balls! As they are about to hit Gamera's arm, Gamera pulls out his arm and forms a plasma fist. He shoves it into Iris, killing the demon forever.

Gamera then puts down Ayana and lets Asagi Kusanagi try to revive her. It doesn't work. When all seems lost, Gamera lets out a roar, and Ayana wakes up. Everyone is ecstatic that she has survived.

Meanwhile, the military has been warned of an ominous event. It turns out that large numbers of Gyaos are flocking and converging on Japan. The military orders an attack to aid in Gamera's upcoming fight. The giant turtle slowly advances toward the Gyaos flock, ready to battle for the planet yet again...

The plot of this movie is excellent. It is crisp and well thought out. The conflict between Ayana and Gamera is one very excellent example. Luckily, this movie spends a good amount of time on both the human and the monster aspect. Unlike many films that sacrifice one for the other, this film has found a perfect middle ground. The conclusion of this film is nicely done, as well. It seems as though Ayana is dead, and this is absolutely heart-braking. The situation may seem hopeless, but ultimately resolves. Clearly, this movie has a nearly flawless story.

The character development is well executed too. The characters are likeable and, unlike many kaiju movies, are quite memorable. One can easily feel Ayana's emotions: her anguish and thirst for revenge. Tatsunari Moribe's love for Ayana is also quite emotional and heart-wrenching, and it is clearly and expertly portrayed. Asagi is kind and caring as always. She never gives up, as shown during the conclusion when she tries to revive Ayana. The humans aren't the only characters to whom development is given. A good example is Gamera. At the beginning, he seems ruthless, and not very caring. Later on, he returns to his old self. As for the monster Iris, he is shown to be pure evil. Though it shows affection early in the movie, it later shows its ruthlessness and selfishness.

The acting in this movie is also great. The actors have a very excellent grasp of their characters, and there are no scenes that really remind one that these are just actors. Ai Maeda is very good at capturing the emotions of Ayana. Yuu Koyama expertly shows his character's love and compassion for Ayana, and it is very believable. This movie truly excels at portraying an emotional human journey alongside the central monster war.

The special effects are also amazing. The effects used on Gyaos are executed with far greater success than those used on the monster in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995). Gamera's plasma fireballs also look much better this time around. His plasma fist is also a great eye-catcher. Iris has some truly amazing CGI effects as well, mainly during the scenes where he is flying. Probably the scene with the best effects is the fight scene between Gamera and Iris in the sky. The CGI and graphics as a whole are easily the icing on the cake for this film.

The music is, in a word: wonderful. It is well made, and the music is particularly at its peak during the ending theme that accompanies Gamera's advance toward the Gyaos swarm. Another excellent piece is the fight between Iris and Gamera in the sky. Those are just two examples of music in a film that promises not only to appeal to the eyes, but also to the ears.

Overall, this movie is perfect, or at least within a few angstroms of perfection. It has a well thought out plot, excellent characters, great effects, and enjoyable music. If you haven't seen the third installment in the Heisei Gamera series, what are you waiting for? This is a great movie that will never fail to disappoint.