Taking some time to spotlight this 12 years old, fairly forgotten direct-to-video animated movie about the most popular Native American dinosaur-slaying character in videogame, Turok (yes you are he).
Which is fitting, since the games themselves were based on the Turok comics, the first one titled “Turok Son Of Stone”, but before going any further, i have to say i’m not exactly that familiar with Turok in general, and what little i know comes from the first Turok videogame, and some cultural osmosis. I didn’t grow up playing Turok games on the N64, when i got my very first console the series was already quite slumming as Akklaim itself was inching ever closer to bankruptcy.
This was released alongside the 2008’s reboot simply called “Turok”… which didn’t help in breathing some life back in the series, so the planned sequel to that was scrapped and the series layed dormant until Turok: Escape From Lost Valley released in 2019.
Since the movie was released on DVD in the US… and not anywhere else, apparently, i had to search for the usual ways, and once more Youtube comes to the rescue, in a roundabout way and not that great resolution.
So – once again – you’ll have to forgive the quality of the screenshots.
The plot is quite basic, with Turok, banished years ago from his tribe due to a dark prophecy of blood and carnage following in his path, now having to fight a rival tribe commanded by villanous Chichak in order to avenge the slaughter of his family, and the unexpected threath of dinosaurs. Pretty basic story of warring tribes and bloody vengeance (which could have been avoided if they didn’t banish Turok and fucked themselves over by believing in the prophecy, but then again we wouldn’t have a movie), but it’s well executed, and it doesn’t waste its fairly short 77 minutes run time, gets to the point quickly but also has more story than expected, with the addition of the “lost world” trope so we can have dinosaurs, cavemen and what that usually entails.
It’s definitely geared for older audience, as it really doesn’t skimp on blood and carnage, even in the first 5 minutes we get mutilations, people getting shanked and massacred by tomahawks, etc. Then we get horse decapitations, but don’t expect the movie to go full Hellsing or Ricky-Oh all the time, it delivers on the blood and the gore when there’s reasons for it to happen, but doesn’t over do, has good action and decent characters driving the narrative. Dialogue could be better, but it’s alright, it’s not like you expect Turok to be much of a talker anyway, and it’s the usual “honor of the way of the tribe warrior ancestors” spiel that usually comes with the Native American setting.
Animation is handled by Film Roman, a prolific american animation company often subcontracted to work on shows like The Simpson, King of The Hill, Family Guy, The Critic, Beavis And Butthead, many Garfield specials, the Hellboy animated movies, the Dead Space tie-in films and even The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto. And it’s pretty good, i’m not too big on the character designs, a bit generic, but by a quick glance on Google Images, the source material didn’t really offer an original take on Native Americans, and having the designs styled more after Conan The Barbarian wouldn’t have been necessarily better. Still looks quite good for a direct-to-video release.
The voice acting ranges from fairly decent to good, provided by a cast that – fittingly – is made more of actors with experience in voice acting for videogames or animated series, maybe they will be more familiar to american videogames and/or animated series fan, because sure as hell they don’t really ring much of a bell with me.
Still, quite competent work, no issues there to point out or nits to pick.
Even if you don’t particularly care about the franchise, Turok Son Of Stone is a surprisingly good animated film, fun, goes to the point, and delivers on dinosaurs, tomahawk violence, and action. Thumbs up for me, absolutely!