BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE RELIC / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: PETER HYAMS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: PENELOPE ANN MILLER, TOM SIZEMORE, LINDA HUNT, JAMES WHITMORE / RELEASE DATE: MAY 18TH
What happened to the dumb but fun monster movies? They seemed to be everywhere for years, and then, after a heyday of sorts in the 1990s, they seemed to die out in favour of the more po-faced, Nolan-esque approach to movies. The mid-late ‘90s was full of them (most of which have found infamy by being the subject of a bunch of episodes of the How Did This Get Made podcast) and one of the standouts from the period was 1997’s The Relic.
Adapted from the book of the same name by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, the basic plot of the film sees a Chicago cop team up with an anthropologist to take on the lizard god monster that is killing people in the museum she works at (we all remember school trips to museums being like that). With that out of the way, the film is set up for a series of monster attack, deaths and misleading jumps (they’re all here; the cat jumping out of the dark, the killer hobo in the basement, the wheezy cleaning lady).
Despite all of the clichés and plot holes (at one point the creature seems to be attacking various groups of people in different parts of the museum at pretty much the same time), the film moves along at a brisk enough pace for you to not have time to think about them until after the credits have rolled. Part of this is down to the solid - but not spectacular - direction of Peter Hyams, part is down to some great lines in the script and the rest is down to the cast.
Both Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore are great in the leads, making the most of what are essentially walking stereotype characters (the spunky female scientist and haggard, gruff detective with an ex-wife and a custody battle) and giving them both a charm and wit that keeps you invested in them throughout.
Overall, The Relic is a flawed film that will divide people (with fans of the book taking a dislike to it in particular) at best. But if you’re looking for a dumb slice of ‘90s creature feature fun, you could do a lot worse than this, a film that is both dumb and fun in equal measure!
Sadly the bonus features on the disc seem to have been carried over from the ‘90s as well with just a trailer for the film as your lone bonus feature (although in the ‘90s they would have declared ‘Scene Selection’ and the menu a bonus feature as well). Sadly, it’s not even a good trailer! As such, the film is an 8 out of 10, but the extras deserve a pitiful 0.
Special Features: Trailer
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