January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Dr. Campbell (Richard B. Livingston) is on the verge of the world’s biggest prehistorical find, the skeleton of the largest dinosaur ever found. Just how massive this is newly uncovered prehistoric beast? This dinosaur is fifty times the size of a T-Rex and whichever way you slice it, that means one gigantic carnivore. But of course, now the mammoth reptile is dusty, buried bones and can do no harm, right? Not if you listen to Dr. Hughes (Harrison Young), a former colleague of Campbell’s who has been missing for some time, presumed dead. It turns out he was working for the government, as part of a mission to unlock the truth behind some alien artifacts found during an expedition. Hughes believes that the massive skeleton could be reanimated and if that happens, the entire world is in serious danger, to be sure. But Campbell dismisses him as a senile old man and continues, despite the recent string of mysterious deaths near the dig location. At the same time, the government has been tracking some alien ships that have appeared around our planet, but are the aliens somehow connected to the buried beast, like Hughes suggests?

If you like cheese laden monster movies, then you’ll be pleased to know that Reptilian has hit American home video shores. This movie was a Korean production with English speaking actors, in an effort to reach a broader audience. Also known as 2001 Yonggary, Reptilian is a monster movie with old school style, unlike Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin’s Godzilla. Reptilian has actors who turn in laughable efforts, but do so in a very serious fashion, which is just how it should be, as it keeps the camp elements natural in tone. Even if the lines are delivered with the passion of a corpse, the film never seems self aware, which is good news, in this case. I am all for films that are self aware, but it gets tiresome, so Reptilian like is a breath of fresh air. But in a movie like this, you need special effects and this film has them in spades, just like in the old days. Yes, you can tell the production here had some cash, but not enough, as the visuals are cool, but in an old school way. I imagine if the sci/fi filmmakers of the 1950s had modern technology, this the kind of movie we’d see from them. The computer graphics work is usually fun to watch, but not seamless in the least, while the exploding (obvious) miniatures bring back memories of a bygone era in monster movies.

As part of their effort to become more of a presence in global cinema, Korea has started to issue films toward a wider audience, with Reptilian among the first in that wave. I can’t imagine that this would be the movie to put their film industry on the map, but I do think Reptilian will gather a fanbase and as such, will end up a small success. I admire the effort put into the flick and while the budget limits are obvious, this is one of the best monster movies in some time, thanks to the old school texture implemented. Again, I don’t think this venue holds the path to global cinema presence, but I hope to see more Korean releases here in the U.S. soon, in all sorts of genres, of course. The cast of Reptilian includes Harrison Young (The Game, Crocodile), Richard B. Livingston (Running Mates, What’s Love Got To Do With It), Eric Bryant Wells (Lethal Weapon 3, The Goonies), and Donna Philipson in her feature film debut.

Video: How does it look?

Reptilian is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I saw a little more grain than expected at times, but the image is still pleasing to the eyes, to be sure. In a movie heavy with visual effects, you expect some issues, but modern blockbusters seem to gloss over them, whereas this film didn’t have the budget to cure those woes. The grain is never extreme, but since this is a darker film in terms of visuals, it is very noticeable. The contrast remains stark however, with well balanced black levels and no detail loss, at least that I could see. The colors are natural in scope most of the time, but sometimes take on richer hues, when needed. Aside from the grain problems, this is a terrific visual effort, much better than expected.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a movie about a massive reptile kickin’ ass and takin’ names, so the audio needs to have some power, which it does here. The surrounds see plenty of use and in effective ways, so you’ll know you’re watching an action packed flick here. The dynamics aren’t as smooth as more high end blockbusters, but the differences aren’t much, so I doubt anyone will be let down with this track. The dialogue is clean and never falters much either, quite an impressive overall audio experience. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, should you need any of those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes some on disc and very informative production notes, a talent file on Yonggary, a selection of still photos, and the film’s promotional trailer.

Disc Scores