Turok Week’s winding down. It’s been fun, but before we part ways with the saquin warrior, let’s look at his first (and only) big screen adventure, Turok: Son of Stone.
What it is: Turok: Son of Stone is an animated movie by Classic Media and the Weinstein brothers, retelling the classic story of the Dell/Gold Key comics series of the same name. The movie centers around Turok (Adam Beach), a nomadic Native American hunter who, along with his nephew Andar (Adam G.), find themselves in an ancient valley after their village is destroyed by a bloodthirsty tribe lead by the ruthless warrior Chichak (Robert Knepper). In the Lost Valley, Turok and Andar face ancient dinosaurs, giant insects, and prehistoric cavemen until eventually finding and joining forces with a tribe of Native American who have been lost in the valley for ages. Turok finds himself once again fighting to protect his friends when Chichak returns, this time with an army of neanderthals, ready to finish the job he started and kill Turok and Andar.
Why I like it: Turok: Son of Stone starts out looking like a Saturday-morning cartoon — colorful animation, stylized characters, some goofy animation, and a musical score that seems to punctuate every action on screen. But after about the first five minutes, it’s clear this is no children’s movie. The blood starts flowing, limbs start falling, and characters start dying. The themes in this movie are surprisingly mature — loss of family, genocide, revenge — and every action has clear motivation. Turok: Son of Stone makes sure to spend enough time developing believable characters, establishing relationships, and building motivation for each character’s desires. Nothing felt unclear, nor over complicated, and the payoff for these motivations is great. The characters grow, and the story arch comes to a full completion. Combine that with some great voice acting (especially from Adam Beach), and you have a great story being told.
The animation in the film is decent, though it could have been much better. My biggest gripe with the film was the style — it looks like a children’s cartoon, and at first blush I was expecting some kind of shallow, action-oriented flick with slapstick humor and dull characters. Thankfully, Turok: Son of Stone delivered the complete opposite experience. Still, the movie could have greatly benefited from a stronger, more mature art style.
The only other issue I have with the film is the ending. It was abrupt, and while one moment in particular tried to create an emotional reaction, it fell flat and felt unnecessary. The ending itself came so suddenly it gave the impression they ran out of time or budget (the movie isn’t long, only 78 minutes). Still, the filmmakers managed to fit an entire narrative in 78 minutes, and see each plot point through to conclusion.
As a Turok fan, I was incredibly pleased with this interpretation of the Son of Stone story. The changes made to Turok’s origins fit the tone of the movie perfectly, and I found the characterization — Turok’s especially — to be spot on. It was great to see use of Turok’s old foe Chichak, and put a new spin on his his own rise to leader of a fearsome clan of barbarians. For fans of the Dell/Gold Key and Valiant comics, Turok: Son of Stone will be the perfect addition to your collection. For fans of the game series, give it a try — it’s got a great story, delivers on the violence and dino-battling, and is a great introduction to the character of Turok and the world of the Lost Land. Even if you’ve never been exposed to Turok in the past, Turok: Son of Stone is still a good enough movie for anyone looking for an entertaining animated flick. But don’t let the appearance fool you — this Lost Valley’s filled with blood and death.