3: The Awakening of Iris is not just a monster movie;
it's an art picture. It's also the Kaiju film that
set a new standard for the genre. It's the film by which
all others that came after it would be measured. (At least
until Shusuke Kaneko's Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah:
Daikaijû soukougeki was released in 2001).
Gamera 3 employs not
only the only tried and true suitmation and miniature methods
of Kaiju filmmaking, but also some CGI. The elements
are combined for several thrilling sequences. However, the
action scenes and monster battles are few and far between,
and though the plot and characters are interesting, the
story sometimes drags. There is also a strange mystical
subplot dealing with ancient priestesses and the end of
the world, and it never realizes it's full potential.
is portrayed as a much darker deity in this installment.
The people of Japan are sick of dealing with the destruction
he causes every time a Gyaos shows up, and even the heroine
of the film has suffered because of Gamera and wants him
dead. Ayana's family was accidentally killed during his
battle with the Gyaos at the end of the first film. As fate
would have it, she ends up bonding with an ancient being
that will oppose Gamera. She named the being Iris, after
her cat who also died during the battle between Gamera and
Ayana is a dark and brooding
girl on poised on the cusp of womanhood. It's a theme explored
by director Shusuke Kaneko in the Gamera films as
well as his supernatural film Crossfire, but its
use is more overt here. Iris grows into maturity simultaneously
with Ayana, and actually physically absorbs her in an amazingly
hypnotic scene toward the end of the picture.
Ayana eventually resolves her issues
with the turtle just as an enormous flock of Gyaos approach.
Gamera will continue to fight for mankind no matter how
bad the odds are. Those who feel all giant monster movies
are "silly" need to see this film. It will almost
certainly change their views. (Magicvoice 2002)