Saturday, December 19, 2015

Movie Review: Turok Son of Stone (2008)

The other night I was fooling around on TVTropes rather than revising Battle for the Wastelands like I was supposed to and found that the comic series Gen 13, which I remember being aware of but not reading when I was a kid, had been made into an animated movie. I saw that someone had posted the movie (which was never officially released in the U.S.) on YouTube and also recommended was an animated film called Turok Son of Stone. I remembered playing the Turok video game when I was a kid, so I decided to give it a watch.

And now for the review...

The Plot

Native American warrior Turok is exiled from his tribe after killing several men from an enemy tribe and accidentally wounding his brother. Sixteen years later his nephew Andar comes to seek his help fighting said enemy tribe, which he refuses to provide. It turns out the enemy is armed with guns and makes short work of Turok and Andar's kin. The villainous leader Chichak even kidnaps Andar's mother Catori. Turok and Andar pursue them through caves into the mysterious Lost Land, where dinosaurs, extinct giant mammals (like this one), homicidal Neanderthals, and some people who are apparently distant kindred to Turok's people live. Turok and his family befriend them, but Chichak has made himself king of the Neanderthals and seeks to continue his vendetta...

The Good

*The Turok series has a whole lot of Rule of Cool going for it. There're dinosaurs and various other prehistoric monsters, lots and lots of action, terror-bird cavalry (terror-birds are underused as movie monsters, which is unfortunate), and more. It's great.

*Animation in the United States is usually considered kiddie fare, but this is most assuredly not. The movie starts out with the young Turok killing a whole bunch of enemies with an axe, with blood and limbs flying. And that's just the beginning. Turok's people's foes obliterate them with muzzle-loading rifles, there's neck-snapping and spearings aplenty, etc. It's an action movie that just happens to be animated.

*I like the animation style generally. Turok looks very much like his comic-book and video-game counterpart.

*Turok in one sequence performs some awesome physical feats, but due to a previous injury loses so much blood that he passes out. Although he's able to get up and move around within hours, it's several days before he performs similar athletic feats. That's rather more realistic than a lot of action movies.

*The movie is fairly creative in its choice of predatory antagonists. Instead of the usual Tyrannosaurus Rex, the major animal predator is a Carnotaurus. The Disney film Dinosaur and the novel The Lost World have those as enemies, but that's about it.

*The cave people are ruled by a female warrior chief, but there's no attempt to shoehorn in a romantic plot between her and Turok even though I suspected there'd be one.

The Bad

*The movie is a little on the short side. It's maybe an hour and fifteen minutes tops. Perhaps it was originally intended for television broadcasting? Its extreme violence would make it unlikely to be shown anywhere except perhaps Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.

*It's fun, but it's not really that entertaining. There are much more fun movies out there.

The Verdict

It's fun to see once. Six out of 10.

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