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The Relic (Widescreen) (Bilingual)

Penelope Ann Miller , Tom Sizemore , Peter Hyams    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
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Do yourself a favor: pick up a copy of Alien, Ridley Scott's brilliant sci-fi/horror masterpiece, instead of wasting your time on The Relic. This patent rip-off of just about every other worthy horror and/or disaster flick certainly looks good in the packaging: a sturdy cast led by Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, and Oscar-winner Linda Hunt; a reliable director (Peter Hyams); and a creepy enough setting--Chicago's Museum of Natural History, where an anticipated exhibition about tribal artifacts called "Superstition" is about to debut. OK. So far, so good. But some of the pieces scheduled for show have crossed customs even though the freighter that has hauled them north is found adrift and empty--its crew the victims of a mysterious creature that is soon on the rampage in the museum.

The Relic relies on huge leaps of faith to engage the viewer, and finally offers nothing to elevate what could have been good fun--poking here and there at several different movie genres--to a higher level . Ultimately, the film suffers most from its own self-consciousness--it knows it's a carbon copy of better predecessors, and its awkwardness is apparent. The otherwise glossy production is so dimly lit that it's a struggle to tell what's going on, and everything in this tepid formula piece about genetic mutation gone awry is further marred by cheesy special effects. It's almost as if the movie is trying to run away from itself and hide. Try as they may, the cast is saddled with dull, wishy-washy characters who are predictably doomed or saved, depending on their place in the food chain. While the trick in any good sci-fi film is to make the monster as smart--or smarter--than its pursuers, The Relic relegates its mutated horror to less than brainy turf and the war between good and evil is never much of a war at all--just a noisy, bloody, borrowed mess. --Paula Nechak

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The Relic

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dusty relic Feb. 24 2014
A museum doesn't seem like a logical place to find a giant primordial reptilian monster with a taste for brains.

But that seems to describe "Relic," which is loosely based on a novel by Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child. It tries mightily to add the "Alien" monster-movie aesthetic to a more cerebral setting, but the sludgy pace and massive plot holes make it a chore to sit through -- and no matter how many gory body parts it flings at you, nothing really horrifies.

A ship arrives in Chicago with its crew horribly murdered, and Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) has no idea what has happened. The cargo -- crates from a roving anthropologist -- is sent to the Museum of Natural History for their "Superstition" exhibit, but Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) finds nothing inside but a stone idol and leaves covered in a strange fungus.

Then a security guard is brutally murdered in a bizarre way -- he's decapitated, his brain is torn out and his hypothalamus goes missing. D'Agosta immediately shuts down the museum and begins searching for the killer, but Green begins to suspect that something more bizarre is afoot. But even if they can figure out what the killer is, they may not be able to stop it.

Just a warning: fans of Preston and Child's thriller series will be hugely disappointed in "Relic." The unique lead character has been completely cut out of the story -- imagine an adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" without Frodo Baggins -- and the plot is transformed into a generic monster movie with generic characters. It feels sort of like "Alien," except without the feeling of being trapped (since they can easily leave the museum) or the build-up of tension and horror.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good fun Jan. 17 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
saw this when it came out looked for it forever
was surprised to see a bluray bought it
the picture is great the film is fun and
would recommend it to anyone
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5.0 out of 5 stars tres satisfait April 4 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
j'ai recu le produit en quelques jours et j'en suis satisfait le film etait en excellent etat tout etait ok
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By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Relic seems to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it movies about which I always seem to be sitting on the fence. It's a frustrating treat for the eyes of horror, but one hopes for a little bit more.

Penelope Anne Miller stars as Dr. Margo Green, an evolutionary biologist at the Chicago Natural History Museum (no such thing, I imagine; this was filmed at the Field Museum), and Tom Sizemore is here too as a cop investigating some deaths there and outside the museum, nasty deaths, too. I think Hyams does a great job setting up a doom-choked mood; acting as his own cinematographer, he gives the film a dark and dusty look which is appropriate to being set in a museum. I'd have preferred a little more light so that we could see a little more of the museum and what makes it such a wonderfully creepy setting for a horror film, but still, it works, and besides, seeing this on VHS, maybe I should be giving this movie the benefit of the doubt when things are, I trust, a little clearer on DVD. Unfortunately he's got this incredibly annoying habit of framing close-ups way too close. I don't know if the version on video is pan-n-scanned or simply unmated, so I don't know if it would have looked better, or worse, on the big screen. But these close-ups happen a lot and are a bit annoying.

Stan Winston's creature, the Kothoga, is just great. At the time of this film's release, he said frequently that this was the best creature he'd yet created. It's kind of hard to describe, like a cross between a lion and a beetle, but it's big, it's nasty, and it's exceptionally well realized with animatronics and CGI (unusually good CGI for a creature that's hairy; hairy animals are much more difficult to create with computers than scaly ones).
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1.0 out of 5 stars ever read the book? Oct. 20 2003
Or any book by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child? Great storytellers, intelligent writing that absorbs the reader. The original book version of The Relic is a great place to start. As for the movie, your time is too valuable; life is too short. Avoid it at all costs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the book first June 17 2003
By A Customer
Before you see this movie, you should really do yourself a favor and read the book. "The Relic" is basically the dumbed-down version of "Relic," the novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, an amazing and scary read. For the general moviegoer, The Relic simplifies the story significantly. Missing are two of the most influential characters, Special Agent Pendergast and the journalist, Bill Smithback. Greg Kawakita becomes Greg Lee, and his character is so much simpler in the movie. Mrs. Rickman, Ian Cuthbert, and Dr. Wright are combined into a single character, a female Dr. Cuthbert. Whittelsey becomes Whitney (presumably for the ease of the characters' speech). Also, the fictional museum is moved from New York to Chicago (why, I cannot say).
Basically, the plot is the same: people start turning up dead, horiffically slashed and decapitated, on the eve of the opening of the museum's new Superstition Exhibit. No one believes it's a monster, but of course, it is. Duh. Chaos ensues.
Let me take a moment to talk about the monster. In the novel, the monster, Mbwun, is terrifying. When it is finally seen, it is revealed to be quite manlike... which of course makes sense, given its origins. However, in the movie, the creature (whose name is changed to Kothoga, probably to aid in pronunciation again), while wicked awesome cool, just doesn't fit with the story. It'd be better off in an action movie, not a straight horror. In fact, the scariest parts of the movie occur before the monster is even seen (which is the thing with most of these movies).
Bottom line: as a movie, "The Relic" is quite entertaining. Compared to the novel, it falls short.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The two crucial factors
I am only going to mention the high and low of this movie here.

High: The late great Stan Winston might have just peaked his stellar career with Kothoga. Read more
Published on April 27 2010 by Disco Daggett
4.0 out of 5 stars Penelope Ann Miller and hormones
A ship that was supposed to transport some crates from South America to a museum seems to have a crew that lost their heads. The crates finally get flown in. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2007 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a pretty good Monster movie that's not a critics Drama
I have seen the bad reviews and I think they are missing the point. This is a B monster movie and they are comparing it to Aliens? Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Aebares05
3.0 out of 5 stars buy the book
If you really want a good story, buy the book. There is so much more to the story than what the movie showed. Read more
Published on April 6 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Hypothalumuses.
The book was excellent (as is anything written by duo DOUG PRESTON and LINC CHILD), the film is a thrown-together mess. This is a textbook example of great book-bad movie. Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by Hogarth Hughes
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre At Best
The Relic is supposed to be an intelligent thriller and horror film. Well one out of three isn't that bad. At least it's considered a horror. Read more
Published on March 14 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
Don't see this movie if you've read the book. The only adaptation I've ever seen that was worse was The Bourne Identity. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2003 by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Grab a can of pop, some chips and sit back & enjoy the movie
This is a great monster/creature movie for a rainy afternoon. The movie takes place in Chicago's Field Museum with towering great halls, dark corners and sub-basements that have... Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by Mary from Michigan
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