Friday, January 25, 2008

Turok: Son of Stone DVD Impression

Turok, Native American and Dinosaur Hunter. That would look very cool on a business card, and the training video to accompany it would be Genus Entertainment’s Turok: Son of Stone. Turok is a comic character that fathers, grandfathers and sons alike can talk about due to his rich history dating back to the mid 20th Century. Turok was your comic book hero that broke all the molds. No tights, superpowers or alien background. Just a Native American in the wrong place at the wrong time, with dinosaurs on top. That being said Turok: Son of Stone looks to retell the basic story of the original comic (as opposed to the Valiant comic’s version of the 90’s) and offer us a true version of the hero that lives on in video games.

The movie opens with Turok, his brother and gal-pal Katori running around. They encounter a rival tribe, fight breaks out, Turok turns into killing machine (with a hidden power never really addressed in the feature) and then is banished by his own tribe for his actions. Protect your friends, get banished, nice. Fast forward 20 years and Turok is a grown, bitter loner whose nephew, Andar, tries to convince him to come back to the tribe, where Turok’s brother is now chief, and Katori is Andar’s mother. Turok refuses, and Chichak (son of guy Turok killed) shows up and wipes out the village as revenge for the death of his father at Turok’s hands. Chichak gets some revenge, killing the chief and kidnapping Katori. After all the killing is done, then Turok shows up to fight, faces off with Chichak, chases him and Katori with Andar and they all stumble into a lost land, one filled with dinosaurs and other beastly creatures. Turok, Andar and the rescued Katori end up with a tribe descended from Turok’s own, undergoes some test (fetch eggs Turok) while Chichak ends up with a group on Neanderthal cave dwellers whom he uses to attach the tribe Turok catches on with (whew!) There is an epic final battle, soul searching by Turok and T-Rex chomping goodness, but I won’t spoil that part for you here. Did I mention Chichak has guns, another fact not really explained? Well now I have.

At first I frowned on the animation shown on the box, but upon starting up the movie I was please to see that this was not some cheap knockoff, Saturday morning cash-in, but rather a well designed and animated adventure, that had authenticity due to the feedback of Native American advisors and modern day dinosaur designs (T-Rex tail up my friends). The violence of the feature, splattering of blood, also sets this feature apart from what would be deemed childish. Indeed this is for adults. The voice acting is solid with only a few minor hiccups where you think there would be more emotion. As for the story, it’s too short. This feels like the pilot to a longer series, and knowing what Adult Swim has going on this might not be a bad thing. Besides a solid feature the Total Turok feature is money. Interviews with the movie creators as well as native advisors and Valiant comic talent is wonderful and when you throw in the fact they outline the entire history of Turok, the comic history, it’s a great starting point for someone looking to get into the franchise and pick up some old issues.

One off DVD features based on comic franchises don’t always go right (Dr. Strange anyone?) but with Turok that’s not an issue. Fans of the franchise must pick this up, and if you’ve ever had a passing interest in Turok, there are worse things you could put your dime on.

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