The Relic (1997) Blu Ray May 15, 2011 0:45:45 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on May 15, 2011 0:45:45 GMT -5
Peter Hyams' 1997 offering of The Relic brought yet another creature on the loose to the big screen. It was a different take on a very familiar theme, but despite it's glorified B-Movie roots (or maybe because of them) it's still quite entertaining.
Penelope Ann Miller stars as evolutionary biologist Dr. Margo Green, and Tom Sizemore plays police detective D'Agosta. Star power this movie doesn't have. But both of them give fairly decent performances that ring true just enough to make the movie (somewhat) believable. The best performance in the movie was actually given by veteran actor James Whitmore, who had seen something of a career revival after his appearance in The Shawshank Redemption. (Although he never stopped working, but that movie brought him more attention than he had seen in years outside his Miracle Gro commercials.)
The story involves a scientist who travels to Brazil and ships a relic and assorted crates back to the museum where he works. He discovers something terrifying just before the ship carrying the crates departs and tries to have them removed (to no avail). Later, we find out that the entire crew of the ship was killed, and the ship had been drifting in Lake Michigan.
Enter the crates to the museum a few days late, and not long after people start showigng up dead. Very dead. Decapitated with part of their brains missing dead. Who or what is responsible? That is what Lieutenant D'Agosta and Dr. Green both try to find out (from different angles).
The premise of the movie is a little far fetched, but not so much that it is any more outrageous than many other movies of this type. The story works just well enough that once the roller coaster leaves the station the movie rolls along the track and doesn't let up until the end. It's not a classic, but it is a decent movie in the genre and a halfway suspenseful and exciting way to spend an evening.
Now the Blu Ray is very interesting.
The picture quality is sharp and the detail is very good - when there is a well lit scene. Unfortunately, probably 1/4 of the movie is dimly lit. VERY dimly lit. Nearly pitch black. And even more unfortunate is that there is very little in the way of shadow detail during these scenes. I saw the movie in a theater back when it first came out, but I honestly can't remember if it was originally that dark or not. It has been a while. So while the movie looks (and sounds) pretty good overall, there are some scenes that are almost impossible to follow for significant stretches of time because of the darkness.
While that may have been Hyams' artistic decision, it was a bad one. When you can't see what is going on at all that gets frustrating and annoying. The Blu Ray could have used some brightness boosting during those scenes (and only during those scenes). That may have helped.
Even so, for the right price The Relic can still be a worthwhile purchase. The picture quality is crisp and fairly clean - outside of those dark shots - and the movie itself is fairly entertaining.
Movie - 3/5
Blu Ray - 2.5/5