Turok is a property that seems to come and go. In the 1950’s, it was introduced to lure kids away from the television sets because it had dinosaurs and intriguing stories. It was later updated when it got inserted in the Valiant comic world and rose to sell nearly 2 million copies with its first issue for the universe. In more recent times, Turok has become a series of video games by Acclaim. So it was only natural that an animated dvd would also hit the mix. However, would the character be more representative of its roots or perhaps take on a more futuristic feel akin to the current property portrayed in the video game?
The movie opens up with three native american teenagers are playing in a stream when Catori loses her hair clip. The two male men, Turok and Nashoba decide to go after it and come upon a nasty group of warriors who want to keep the clip and cause harm to the three kids. Turok goes on a berzerker rage, killing all of the warriors and injuring his comrade Nashoba. Afterwards, it is determined that Turok should be exiled from the tribe because he is too dangerous.
Sixteen years later, Nashoba is chief of the village and married to Catori. However, Chichak of the rival tribe has come back to avenge his father who was killed by Turok years earlier. Andar, son of Nashoba & Catori is sent to recruit Turok as he is needed for the battle. However, Turok stays behind and the tribe is massacred. Andar escapes but Nashoba dies at the hands of Chichak. Andar again goes to Turok who rushes to the camp to see the carnage.
Turok and Andar run after Chichak who has kidnapped Catori and follow them into a cave. Once inside the cave they come out the other side and realize shortly that they are no longer in their land but instead in what Turok calls the “Underworld”. Dinosaurs, large birds and Neanderthals inhabit this land that Turok and Andar as well as Chichak and Catori are now a prisoner of. In this Lost Land, Turok will realize his true self and rescue Catori. As the DVD box says, a legend is born.
The first thing you might notice when you get this dvd is the warning sticker on the front that reads, Warning: Contains Graphic Violence, suitable for mature audiences only. So now you have two emotions running through you, one is the attraction of blood splatter and body parts. The other is I hope there is still something resembling a story. Turok Son of Stone surprisingly does have quite a fascinating story. The lead character shows emotion and has an interesting arch as he progresses from a teenager with violent tendencies to a lone warrior who must come to face his fears of being able to exist in a society.
The rest of the cast is also filled with passion and interesting characters. Andar is a great supporting role to Turok as he has to take on the warrior instinct at an early age and change from scared & inexperienced to powerful and daunting. Chichak is merciless and pure evil in his never ending quest to rid himself of Turok and the rest of the rival tribe. Even Catori has an arch as she goes from a helpless widow to one who can lead and protect herself. There are so many stories here that it is hard to believe that it fit into a tiny seventy three minute timeframe.
There are some plot holes in this movie but overall it comes off as very strong. The violence will make some squeamish but it doesn’t feel like it shouldn’t be there. It’s natural and the tribes strike the viewer with the notion that it is totally appropriate. The Turok property is used here in a very classic sense, it goes back to its roots. What is left is something very refreshing and meaty. If you like strong and violent animation with a good story, you should enjoy this very much.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The animation style is very classic as it looks like most cartoons of this day and age that are not anime based. The production holds up well and color for the most part is very vibrant and correctly placed. Sometimes clouds or background will be lazily placed but overall a very fine graphic presentation.
I was kinda worried when I put in this disc and there was no audio option on the menu. I’m thinking, oh great 2.0 *twirl*. However, it is an extremely rich 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround (English). The surrounds are used near constantly and the score is awesome. Dialog is clear and the movie is full of cool sounds whether it would be a dinosaur scream across the landscape or the classic rain that fills up the speakers and subwoofer. No subs but it is hardly needed.
- Audio Commentary: Producer Evan Bailey, supervising director Tad Stones, and directors Curt Geda, Dan Riba & Frank Squillace provide conversation for the movie. Each of the directors did 1/3 of the movie due to time constraints. However, it came together very well. There are dead spots in the commentary and personally I think it is hindered by the fact that this is the first time that the three directors have seen the whole movie at once. But it is informative and everybody seems to enjoy the Turok property and hopes to see more animated movies.
- Total Turok 22:20: A very nice featurette that goes over the history of Turok. This goes from the 50’s when it was introduced as a comic on through the Valiant Comic Universe when it was bought by Acclaim and then turned into the mega property we know it as today. For those who are looking on some information on the video game, you won’t find it here. It sticks very close to the comics (which is probably best) and the experiences those involved had in producing the dvd feature.
Some people might not give this film a chance due to the violence and dinosaurs portrayed in the picture. However, if one takes the time to recognize the story behind the violence and enjoy it for what it is, they will have a great time. The DVD is very well done with good video and superb audio ranges. The extras are kinda thin but as the featurette suggests, the film was rushed to meet a time constraint. Despite the rush, the film comes out solid. Turok is a great property and I hope to see future animated movies like the string of Hellboy animated releases. Highly recommended.
- DvdTalk.com – “Suffice to say if plot holes bother you, this isn’t the show for you.”
- BlogCritics.org – “The movie works as a stand-alone story, but the door is left open for follow-ups, and I hope they do return to Turok, as he is an interesting character.”
- Newsarama.com – An interview with the supervising director Tad Stones and how he assembled the group of animators for Turok.