... and I am talking about the IMDb universe, because I am not currently registered to do entertainment reviews on the other inhabited planets. Still, just a guess, I think this horrendous adaption of a Preston/Child novel would likely qualify as awful in those realms as well. In fact, I suspect that this single film was responsible for the fact that very little of Preston/Child's later works -- many of which were just brilliant -- ever caught another bid from Hollywood.So what can we say about Peter Hyam's bizarre attempt to turn a wonderfully mature, adult, mystery novel into Jaws 36? * IMDb rating is dead on. Thank you, IMDb reviewers * an all-star cast is completely lost when competing with the CGI creature. Only Penelope Ann Miller shines. (This reviewer has always considered her an under-appreciated actress -- this was done just after she stole the show in Witch Hunt, one of the most obscure but entertaining movies ever. Tab to Amazon and order that!) * the movie is so off-kilter that, by the climax, the audience is as likely to be rooting for the creature (single-minded, focused, acrobatic, athletic, all good and admirable qualities) as his prey.Whatta waste.
A homicide detective (Tom Sizemore) and an anthropologist (Penelope Ann Miller) try to destroy a South American lizard-like god, who is on a people eating rampage in a Chicago museum.I love this film because it is humorous and there is some bizarre obsession with various kinds of coffee (mocha, espresso and latte all get mentioned at different times). And that is before it turns into a monster movie.Ebert said it "combines the conventions of the horror and disaster genres" and "is actually a lot of fun, if you like special effects and gore." Siskel called it "surprisingly entertaining", and even Leonard Maltin had to say the monster "is especially impressive." Yet, the film allegedly cost 60 million and only made 33 million at the box office, making it a flop. Perhaps if the lead had been Harrison Ford rather than Tom Sizemore, this would have drawn in the extra people (and possibly have given the film a stronger actor, with all due respect to Sizemore). I tend to side with the critics on this one -- I thought it was a lot of fun if nothing else.
I remember seeing this movie in the theaters when I was 17 and enjoying it. I saw it was on Netflix instant and gave it a whirl...I'm not going to rip into this movie because it was full of clichés, its a monster movie for goodness sake. As far as the "ancient idol/horrible monster/kill everyone around" genre goes, its not bad at all. I enjoy Tom Sizemore as an actor and while the script was what one would expect of 4 credited (and lord knows how many uncredited) screenwriters, I felt he did a good job as his character. Honestly for a movie of this type, the acting was just fine. They weren't required to do much, but that was OK.However, if you watch this movie, get used to entire scenes where you have no idea what is happening because its so dark. I understand, keep the settings dim to create fear (and realism, the power is out most of the time though why everyone in the museum works in near total darkness 99% of the time is a bit mind-boggling) but I can't be scared if I can't see what's happening when I'm supposed to!Dark, extremely dark shots keep the viewer in the (I can't do it), keep the viewer confused in many scenes. It was bad enough that a moderate length movie (109m) seemed MUCH longer and not in a good way. Much like gimmicky camera tricks or abuse of slow-motion (I'm looking at you John Woo) can ruin a movie, the overly dark nature of so many shots just leaves you sitting there wish you could tell what the hell was going on.I will say, possibly watching it on a larger screen, or a better quality television (mine is a 32" Sony LCD, nothing fancy) might mitigate lighting issues a bit, I don't know.Overall, its an OK movie for the genre that is partially ruined by not being able to tell what the hell is going on.
Even the most jaded horror movie addicts may find themselves squirming in parts of Peter Hyams' murky but well-made creature feature "The Relic" starring Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore. Meanwhile the faint of heart may want to reconsider enduring this experience. You'll lose count of the number of severed heads. You'll also lose count of the number of times that the filmmakers dare you to accompany heroes and victims down a catacomb of spooky hallways. Special effects wizard Stan Winston has created a huge, slimy, lizard critter with tusks for "The Relic" that would give "Alien," "Predator," and those "Jurassic Park" raptors a run for their money."The Relic" is basically a haunted house chiller. Most of its grisly action occurs inside a creepy Chicago museum, within scores of shadowy corridors, labs, and staircases. A dinosaur reptile of amazing agility prowls these premises and feasts on flesh. Mainly, this hybrid monster tears your head off and munches a chunk of your brains. The melodramatic script pays homage to scary sagas such as "Jaws," "Alien," and "Jurassic Park." Penelope Ann Miller plays a dedicated but cute evolutionary biologist who pedals a bicycle to work and worries about who'll fund her research. She shares many of Ripley's heroic characteristics from the "Alien" franchise, except Penelope doesn't perform a strip tease for the monster. She keeps her clothes on and relies on her wits to outsmart the creature. Burly Tom Sizemore abets her as a superstitious Windy City cop. He wants to close the museum, but the mayor needs it open for a gala fund raiser.Naturally, the monster crashes the gala and heads roll. When the monster isn't terrifying the rich, the museum becomes an obstacle course. The monsters shuts down the power, and the wealthy patrons find themselves trapped in the dark, rained on by fire sprinklers. "The Relic" aspires to be more than just a horror movie. The worst thing about "The Relic" is its surplus of plot. What might have been a small horror movie turns into not only a big-scale scary movie, but also a disaster movie. The film opens with a jungle witchcraft scene that is supposed to frighten but winds up being incomprehensible. The filmmakers then build the plot and introduce their array of characters before the finally unleash the beast. Part of the time the scenarists clobber us with a load of scientific, computer gibberish that makes the movie sound realistic. Interestingly, everything that the monster devours becomes part of its DNA and guides it behavior.Peter Hyams lights the museum as if it were the space ship in "Alien." Hyams, who helmed "Outland" and "Running Scared," aims to scare the daylights out of you. He resorts to every tried-and-true truck to elicit paranoia and hype suspense. If you aren't family with how horror movies manipulate their audiences, you may find some scenes in "The Relic" a little intense. Predictability, of course, paralyzes the plot because Hyams spends too much time trying to be like other horror movies so that it breaks little new ground. But the effects may be gruesome enough that you forget the formula that the story follows. Hyams gets great help from composer John Debney whose tense, dramatic orchestral score heightens the tension."The Relic" qualifies as a good horror movie boosted by glossy production values. This chiller is worth seeing at least once while you're searching for a genuine classic.