Turok: Son of Stone Reviews
This is not a terrible film. It did provide me with the minimum decency of nostalgia. Still, since I never read the original comic upon which this film is based...I can't help but wonder if the comic has as many holes in the story as this film. Such as...it was never explained how Chichak, or his tribe, acquired firearms, the ammunition to operate them...or the horses. American Indians did not acquire them until after Europeans arrived in `the New World`, i.e., the Americas. And since they did not arrive until the late 1400's and since it would be a good two hundred years or so before the two cultures trusted each other enough to legitimately trade things with one another of such importance, i.e., weapons & transportation, this film certainly seems to be more about catering to some demographic that doesn't care or doesn't know enough to care. Perhaps there is room for all three possibilities...
(And perhaps for multiple reasons. I detest conspiracy theories; but, if I was a conspiracy theorist I might conclude that this film mongers about the influence of technology... That the only good ppl are those that don't sellout for what is bigger, better, more powerful, etc. That it even hates white ppl.
Glenn Beck I am not.)
Why Turok actually told Chichak where they could, honestly, find the `Cliff Ppl` is a mystery that I don't care to solve or have solved. I do understand why Turok told Chichak 'something'... Doing so bought them time, for Chichak to get complacent, so that Turok & Andar could escape, so that Turok could devise a plan to kill Chichak, preferably before he tracks down the Cliff Ppl, & for Turok & Andar to stay alive; but, telling Chichak where to actually, & honestly, find the Cliff Ppl only made those things harder & less likely to be achieved. How Turok could be so courageous & brave one moment & then a moment later be so weak, thoughtless & cowardly is pathetic.
Perhaps the plot wasn't the worst possible plot. It was tired, old, predictable & rather corny; but, I am confident that it could have been worse. The story was the worst part. It was bad.
By no means was this the worst film that I've ever seen; but, still. This sucked.
The story is really quite simple - one day Turok and his brother encounter warriors from an enemy tribe, and defending a girl from their village (Turok's brother future wife) they get into a fight. Turok goes berserker mode and slashes through the enemies... and his brother. In his rage Turok almost kills his brother and the shaman of their tribe sends him into exile. Some 16 years later Turok is asked for help by his brother's son. Turok seems grumpy for being casted away and refuses to take part in the action. But later the boy returns and brings news that his tribe is almost wiped out. Turok takes his tomahawk and goes to help his bro, only to find him almost dead... and he eventually dies after he asks Turok to swear that he will take care for the boy and his mother. Back to the village the leader of the aggressors recognizes Turok's tomahawk - it was his father's and Turok took it years before at that battle in the beginning of the movie. The bad guy wants to avenge his father's death and goes on a rampage, trying to kill Turok. Going through a cave the Indians find themselves in The Lost Land (quite like Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World) - where dinosaurs and prehistoric mammal beasts coexist with savage hordes of "The Missing Link" or something (you know, some huge ugly hard-to-kill humanoid hulks) and Indian tribes. The battle continues...
There is not much of a dialog. No memorable quotes, no one-liners. I feel that the characters are somehow flat, they lack emotional depth and motivation. No inner struggle, no inside conflict. And no comic relief.
The quality of the animation is above average, but far from great. Nothing you haven't seen - no innovative style or some recognizable character design. It's not bad, it's OK. And there are some nice looking Indian chicks :) The backgrounds are not really detailed, but on the other hand - what's there to be detailed? Rocks and cliffs? The dinosaurs are OK, but they lack color nuance and shading. And so do the characters in some scenes. And I forgot to mention - there is not a trace of some fancy 3D CGI cell-shading stuff, which I find good - old fashioned 2d works just fine for me. The only thing that seemed crappy were the computer generated flames for the fire effects in some scenes.
There's plenty of action, gallons of animated blood and even some cut-off limbs. But that will only shock you if you've been watching Bambie all your life. The blood and the battles are no match for a good anime style fight, where everything is presented with some wicked camera angles, fast movements and dramatic pauses. There's an attempt for a showdown at the end of the movie, but it doesn't really work out like in the spaghetti westerns.
All in all - the movie is worth watching, it has its moments, but it could have been much more. I enjoyed it because we rarely have the chance to see something more mature oriented and not-anime.
The character designs look like a watered down version of Mulan and Pocahontas, spliced with the more modern stylized aesthetics of the Legion of Superheroes cartoon series. The art is FLAT. Clothing detail and shadowing are kept to a bare minimum with almost no shading other than a flat color fill for many of the action scenes. The backgrounds are OK, standard animation backgrounds. More lush than those in TV series but not as detailed as those in movies.
The animation for the most part is stiff and choppy. It is about as good as Superman: the Animated series or Gargoyles. This is a 2008 animated movie that has the animation quality of 1990s TV series.
It not only looks bad, but sounds bad. The sound effects come across as a little fake and the mixing is all over the place. Punches sound the same as tree branches cracking, arrows hitting a stone wall sound the same as axes hitting a wooden shield. Whats more, the dinosaur sounds are very obviously lion roars, maybe taken off national geographic or animal planet. No attempt whatsoever was made to give the dinosaurs unique sounds.
The story and characterization are also nothing to speak of. It is a straight forward adventure story with little twists and no surprises. A exiled warrior has to save his old friend and her son from a twisted warlord from a rival tribe. Through some mishap, they land up in a lost world of Dinosaurs and cavemen from which they must now fight for their very survival and hopefully make it back out alive. The characters all lack depth and never in the whole movie does one get to emotionally relate to any of them. They are just "there" to move the story along to the next fight scene.
A few good pointers to this otherwise dismal film. The fight scenes are awesome. When the action starts, suddenly the level of animation jumps to new heights. Utilizing some of the smoothest slow motion seen in animation, some of the fight scenes seem visibly influenced by films like "300". (I think they blew most of the budget on these superbly animated fights). Bloodletting is at an all time high with severed limbs, torn flesh and broken bones in rich gory detail. Also, though the dinosaurs don't sound cool,they look cool. The lack of proper shadowing and shading make some dino scenes look flat but their designs and movement animation seem spot on when compared to other dinosaur films like Jurassic park.
During 20 years in exile, Turok has become a powerful and feared warrior. He now returns home to find his village destroyed and his family slaughtered at the hands of the ruthless tyrant Chichak. On a mission of vengeance, Turok must journey to the Lost Land, a savage place forgotten by time, where primeval beasts hunt all who enter. Turok will face his greatest battle as he fights man-eating dinosaurs, merciless cave dwellers, and the darkness inside himself to take revenge on his sworn enemy. In this epic journey, Turok will find his destiny. In this Lost Land A legend is born.
If you grew up learning predominately from your Nintendo 64 like me, you'll be going to the pictures to see this one with high expectations, and it doesn't disappoint.
We all know Turok as an ice cool dinosaur destroyer of a man, complimented with a lean sunkissed body to be envied. Consequently the casting of Tariq Ijandi raised some eyebrows. With a complexion to match Turok's attitude rather than his skin, and a body more suited towards playing the role of a turtle, Ijandi was definitely not the obvious choice.
Set in prehistoric times when dinosaurs were up and about, Turok sets off on a quest to discover more about himself; slowly realising that he will have to explore all the depths and cervices of his worst enemies to do so.
Although our version of Turok doesn't have the tan the ladies wanted to see, or the veins popping out of his biceps to appease our male fanatics, but instead a scattering of veins concentrated around his eye sockets, don't leave this one early and give Tariq a chance.
Once you get round to the fact that he doesn't really fit the bill, Tariq's tenacity, almost wolfish body language and volatile personality may catch you off guard in this depiction of the video game classic. He squares up to some quite frightening beasts, and I've never seen a rock thrown with such commitment; particularly when it pierces through one eye and unexplainably explodes out the other.
Whilst we are on the topic of stones, I can't say im not disappointed by the lack of futuristic and unavoidably devastating weapons. Sure the film is about stones, but we must not forget the film is based on a video game, and not the other way around. I would have much preferred hearing the sound of spike coated winged grenade exploding amongst a heard of raptors; opposed to the somewhat dismal pre pubescent excuse of a roar leaving Turok's lips.
Sure this wasn't the Turok of Nintendo 64, with the volcanic texture of his prominent nose matching the terrain of the locale set in Pompeii more than the actor matching the actual character, but you have to say he tries hard.