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Gappa: The Triphibian Monster (1967) - Blu-ray Review

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Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

“Gappa.  No God.  Gappa.  Fly.”

With those words of warning from a native boy, a crew of scientific explorers, specifically Hiroshi Kurosaki (Tamio Kawaji) and Itoko Koyanagi (Yoko Yamamoto), discover more than they expect on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. 

"While minor when it comes to kaiju flicks, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster is worth owning due to its history of being the one and only monster flick that the prolific Nikkatsu Corporation ever made. "


Long before Jurassic Park, there was Obelisk Island.  It’s time to go back thanks to the blu-ray release of Gappa: The Triphibian Monster.  Originally released in Japanese theaters in April of 1967, the movie arrives on blu-ray here in the United States thanks to Media Blasters and Tokyo Shock and proves that there is STILL a lot of fun to be mined with this Japanese kaiju film.  I mean, quite honestly, what other kaiju film ends with three winged lizard/birds flying off into the sunset?

The rubber-suited antics start with the discovery of a prehistoric egg in a dark, wet cave.  Thinking no harm will come to them, the crew mindlessly decides to bring the egg out of darkness and into the light of day . . . in Tokyo, miles away from its home on the island, where it hatches.

Big mistake. 

Because when that million year old egg actually reveals what’s inside, its parents - large lizard-like birds with a huge wingspan - come after it, bringing with them all sorts of havoc as they follow in hot pursuit of the ship and stop at nothing to be reunited with their offspring.  

Working for Playmate Magazine publisher Mr. Funazu (Keisuke Inoue), the crew’s real mission is to bring back strange and unusual creatures for his animal-themed park.  They just never thought Gappa would be the end result of the mission as the bird/lizard creature grows and grows and grows and his parents - surviving all sorts of attacks from tanks, fighter jets, and submarines - get closer to where Funazu is hiding what he thinks is his and his alone.

Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi and written by Gan Yamazaki and Ryuzo Nakanishi, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster features typical miniature and model special effects from Akira Watanabe, the art director who worked for Toho during the Showa era.  The designs of the three creatures are unique and stirring as one of Gapps’s parents appears to have a giant octopus in its mouth when it makes landfall.  Mid-fight, it drops the octopus on the soldiers below.  Such attention to detail, makes this copycat damned memorable. Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

Climb in and witness cockpit views of fighting giant monsters and crashing into the hills as these creatures take down jets and smash houses, crumbling all into piles of rubble while in search for their baby.  Quick zooms and flying monsters are the norm in this flick while baby Gappa makes the cover of Playmate Magazine.

While minor when it comes to kaiju flicks (since it rode the historic Gorgo wave), Gappa: The Triphibian Monster is worth owning due to its history of being the one and only monster flick that the prolific Nikkatsu Corporation ever made.  

Gappa: The Triphibian Monster - a towering, flying reptile - swoops onto blu-ray for the first time ever this month!

4/5 stars

Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Media Blasters, INC DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- February 25, 2020
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
Japanese: LPCM 2.0 Mono; English: LPCM 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Originally released directly to U.S. television in 1968 as The Monster From A Prehistoric Planet (in a badly panned and scanned format), Gappa unfolds on a serene tropical island paradise untouched by modern civilization and technology where a dark secret lies dormant for centuries. When a greedy business tycoon has grandiose plans to turn the island into the world’s largest resort and amusement park, a team of scientists stumble upon a mysterious dinosaur egg. When the egg hatches, Gappa is born - a mythical giant reptilian bird that the indigenous island people worship as a god. Seeing dollar signs, the tycoon hurriedly ships the baby monster to Tokyo for commercial exploitation. Little does he know that the much larger, irate parents of the infant Gappa follow close behind to rescue their precious baby and wreak havoc upon monster-plagued Tokyo!

Video: 

Long out of print on DVD, the Tokyo Shock blu-ray and remastered DVD editions are the only legitimate versions of the film officially licensed for North America and finally presented uncut in a fresh high-definition transfer to preserve all of its original widescreen glory.  Tokyo Shock presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The 1080p transfer was remastered, but considerable grain levels, which is very obvious in some of the more well-lit sequences. Thankfully, most of the monster action happens at night which does mask the noticeable grain levels. The most obvious downfall of the disc is that the colors are on the more dull side, lacking a rich vibrant array. Regardless, there are a few sequences that do look quite impressive like some of the shots of the monsters. 

Audio:

The Blu-ray has two audio tracks, one the original Japanese version and the other the International English dub version. Both are presented in PCM mono and sound good, with no distortions in either track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

2.5/5 stars

Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Hiroshi Noguchi
Writer:
Iwao Yamazaki, Ryûzô Nakanishi
Cast:
Tamio Kawaji, Yôko Yamamoto, Yuji Kodaka
Genre
: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline:
The BEST in Years! The Screen's Newest GIANT THRILL!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Like it? I call it Playmate Land."
Theatrical Distributor:
Nikkatsu Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
1968
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 25, 2020.
Synopsis: An expedition in the South Pacific lands on a tropical island where the natives worship the mysterious deity Gappa. An earthquake opens up an underground cavern and a baby reptile is discovered inside. The natives warn the foreigners to leave the hatching alone, but they don't listen and take it back to a zoo in Japan. Soon after, moma and papa Gappa start smashing Tokyo looking for their kidnapped child.

Gappa: The Triphibian Monster

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