With the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Gamera falling this coming November, Kadokawa Daiei Studios Co., Ltd. took the opportunity Thursday at New York Comic Con to announce that a new film will be entering into production soon to celebrate that landmark.
The new Gamera film’s writer/director Katsuhito Ishii and producers Shinichiro Inoue and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi were on hand for the announcement. Ishii is perhaps best known for directing the critically acclaimed 2004 film The Taste Of Tea and contributing character design to the animated “Origin of O-Ren” segment of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Appearing in eleven films over five decades, Gamera is a giant turtle with the power of flight and to breath fire, who fights off other kaiju. The character was originally created by Daiei Films in an attempt to capitalize on the craze for giant monster films in the wake of Toho Studios success with their Godzilla franchise. Initially aimed at a younger audience, Gamera was often portrayed as a friend to children.
Inoue hinted that that core concept of the Gamera franchise will not be altered for this new film. “Gamera loves children, however that doesn’t mean that Gamera is a friend to humankind,” he said through a translator. “‘Is Gamera for us or against us?’ That has always been the mystery.”
Ishii stated that recent movies have raised the bar for what he will need to bring to the movie for audiences. “So everybody is expecting like Godzilla and Pacific Rim and it’s like if you’re going to do this one with Gamera, [it needs] the same feel. That’s a lot of expectation.”
As to when the film will be released, Ishii stated that he was working on the screenplay and hopes to have the film shot and in theaters sometime next year.
Two videos were screened during the announcement, both of which were being shown for the first time in public anywhere. The first was the 30-second teaser clip below. They were calling it a “pilot film” and a “trailer,” but it seems as if this is more like a sizzle reel, as it sounds as if they have not actually shot any real footage for the project yet. As you can see, it is pretty intense and CGI-heavy. No man-in-suit action here.
The second video was a longer version that fleshes out a few details.
The action in both versions definitely shows that the filmmakers are going for a tone that is darker than the last, more kids-friendly Gamera film, 2006’s Gamera The Brave. This looks like it might be even more intense than the 1990s trilogy of Gamera films.
If you look closely at the tee-shirts that Ishii and the rest of the crew are wearing, you probably can see that there is some of Ishii’s character design sketches printed on them. Fortunately, we were one of the ones to get one of the free shirts that were given out after the panel, and scanned it for you to get a closer look. (Click on each to enlarge.)