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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Black: Wait a minute. So just how big is this creature?
DVD ReviewIt times like this that I wish Mystery Science Theater 3000 was still on cable, attacking bad movies with sharp, intelligent humor. If ever a recent film deserved the caustic lampooning of Crow, Servo and Mike, it would have to be Reptilian. A throwback to the Japanese giant monster movies of the early 1960s, Reptilian is littered with comically stiff acting and laughable plot points. This is the type of film where there are unitentionally hilarious exclamations and odd lines of dialogue that constantly had me reaching for the remote to replay as I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes.
Before I dig Reptilian too deep of a hole, I should at least commend screenwriter Marty Poole for not being afraid to load the film with lots of potential content. In the scant space of 95 minutes, there were two giant monsters, an alien spaceship, aliens, soldiers in flying jetpacks, ancient hieroglyphics, atomic fireballs, teleportation beams, magic diamonds, dozens of exploding skyscrapers, a city in ruin...oh yeah, and a bus full of children in peril. Roland Emmerich and his obscene budget for 1998's dud Godzilla could have used Poole to liven things up.
If I were to try to explain Reptilian logically, one might be apt to check my breath for excessive alchohol fumes. Not content with simply unearthing an angry, old creature (a la Godzilla), the beast in here, whose name is Yongarry, begins the film as a skeleton. Dug up by an excavation team led by wild-eyed hambone, Dr. Campbell (Richard B. Livingston), the massive skeleton is soon re-animated by a beam from a huge alien spacecraft hovering above Earth, in fulfillment of some ancient prophecy. The aliens LOOSELY resemble the metal skeleton of The Terminator, and vocalize in that typical booming computerized basso that cartoon bad guys speak in. And it's in English, too!
The big beast commences to destroying a city that I THINK is supposed to be New York, though it's only referred to as "the city". Basically a CG creation, and not half bad at that, Yongarry looks a cross between Godzilla and something that might have appeared on the Power Rangers. The fighter plane sequence in the middle of the city looks OK at times and horrible at others. Buildings explode and collapse, mostly due to poorly aimed missiles, but Yongarry does his fair share of exhaling fireballs that can blast through two or three skyscrapers at a time.
I won't even attempt to dissect the cast. All the characters are flat and lifeless, and utter silly lines of dialogue far too often. So let's not over analyze. The whole point of a film like this is to see a big monster destroy things, and director Hyung Rae Shim gives us that in spades. Sure, some of the effects look like a bad computer game, but for the most part they were consistently mediocre. That is meant as a compliment, Hyung. I wasn't expecting Jurassic Park quality CG, and I wasn't disappointed.
Reptilian's tagline is "Bigger. Badder. Meaner.", which is in obvious reference to Emmerich's Godzilla, as the cover art would indicate. Yongarry does do some major destruction in a short amount of time, much more than big G. Yet when saddled with bad acting and less than perfect effects, the whole package ends up as the entertainment equivalent of a pissed-off iguana.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-
Image Transfer Review: Reptilian is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The final transfer is a bit on the grainy side at times, with poor shadow depth on the black levels, as well. Flesh tones stay consistent, yet there is some color bloom evident. The overall print is uneven in transfer quality, with a wide variance in the clarity of the image.
Image Transfer Grade: C
Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 mix sounds surprisingly excellent, especially considering the B-movie quality of Reptilian. The monster's thundering footsteps and the excessive explosions rumble loudly, with a strong use of the rear channels for ambient effects. The score sounds loud and deep, and could almost work for a film of better quality. Decent use of the sound field for spatial imaging is apparent during the figher jet sequences.
An adequate 2.0 English mix is also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Godzilla, Godzilla 2000
A deceptively entertaining fullframe trailer for Reptilian, as well as trailers for cinematic relatives Godzilla and Godzilla 2000 are included.
Yongarry Profile A neat little three screen bio on the title beast. Includes vital statistics and other historical tidbits presented in a psuedo military/radar screen graphical style.
Photo Gallery 15 photos for a film I could barely sit through. Hmmm. Let me take a look at those photos...NOT!
When the dust settled, all Reptilian offered in the way of interesting extras was a silly monster bio. A fair 24 chapter-stops and easy to read subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese round out the supplementals.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsIf you miss the days of big monsters destroying cities, then I suggest digging up the original Godzilla, or maybe Reptilicus, or The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. If you're desparate though, I suggest you dig up a few friends, buy a couple of cases of beer, rent Reptilian and have your own Mystery Science Theater 3000 party.
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