Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
The character of Turok has had a long and storied history. First published by Dell Comics in 1954, the story of a Native American fighting dinosaurs was a huge hit as the popularity of superheroes started to wane. Many years later, the character was revived by Valiant Comics, re-imagined as a hunter of bionic dinosaurs. When Acclaim Entertainment bought Valiant, Turok became the star of their best-selling video game franchise.
In 2008, Turok – Son of Stone has been re-imagined yet again, this time as the star of an animated movie. With a screenplay by Tony Bedard, a long-time Turok fan and writer of the Valiant series, this version of Turok hews a little closer to the original. The high-tech equipment and bionosaurs of the more recent comics and video games have been jettisoned in favor of a more classic and respectful approach to the character.
The story begins when Turok, his brother Nashoba, and female companion Catori are ambushed in the forest by members of a rival tribe. In a rage, Turock slaughters their attackers and nearly kills his own brother. Turok is banished to a desolate wilderness for his transgressions.
Fast-forward to sixteen years later, and Chichak, the son of one of the men Turok killed so many years ago, has risen to prominence in his tribe. They have returned to slaughter the members of Turok’s former village. The only survivors are Catori, whom Chichak kidnaps, and Andar, the son of Catori and Nashoba. Vowing revenge for the murders of his brother and his tribesmen, Turok and Andar give chase to Chichak and wind up in the Lost Land, a savage world inhabited by dinosaurs and cavemen. Once there, Chichak finds a tribe of vicious Neanderthals to lead, while Turok, Andar, and Catori are taken in by a group of Native Americans very similar to their own tribe. As Turok and Chichak prepare to do battle, Turok must learn to accept the darkness within his soul, and his destiny as a warrior.
Turok – Son of Stone proves that with the right people in charge, a character can be re-imagined and reinvented for a new generation of fans. Building on the classic idea of a man trapped in a lost world that time has forgotten, this story adds more depth to the character of Turok, choosing to put the focus on the man, rather than the beasts. Turok and Chichak are presented as two sides of a coin. Both are proud warriors: one seeking revenge for the murder of his father, the other for the murder of his brother. The only difference between the two is that while Turok has a great respect for life, Chichak is a ruthless killer.
The story in this film is intelligent and aimed at an adult audience, and it should be noted that this is not a children’s movie. There is a warning on the package concerning graphic violence, and it should definitely be heeded. This movie contains lots of blood, along with a few beheadings and severed limbs. It’s probably okay for older kids, but parents who are concerned about such things might want to preview it first.
Extras on the DVD include a director’s commentary, and “Total Turok”, a short but in-depth look at the history of the character and the making of the film. An interesting aspect of this documentary is the attention to detail the filmmakers paid to Native American history. They made great attempts to ensure that the weaponry, clothing, and way of life shown in this film were authentic and respectful. It’s definitely worth checking out after viewing the movie.
Turok – Son of Stone was a movie that served as a great introduction for new fans, and a great retelling of a story that old-time fans have known and loved for years. I highly recommend it to both.