Ying pi, mushu pork ney cho lowe modo ni!!! (translation: "Please help, for there is a large computer generated lizard chasing me!")
Is there anyone out there who truly and honestly enjoyed the big-budget remake of Godzilla? I mean, let's face it—even with all it's special effects and action sequences, the new Godzilla was the equivalent of having your brain massaged with steel wool. Even though it made money, the critics universally panned Godzilla, and personally I have yet to meet anyone who actually enjoyed sitting through any part of the film. Henceforth, I assumed there wouldn't be much clamoring for any rip-offs like there were with Anaconda or Lake Placid.
Sadly, I stand corrected.
In 1999, the film 2001 Yonggary was produced featuring a bunch of no-name talent and a monster with all the realism of Max Headroom (that's a pretty impressive pop culture reference, huh?). Columbia TriStar has taken this movie, re-titled it as Reptilian and released it to an unsuspecting public on DVD.
Facts of the Case
After some scientists unearth the largest dinosaur known to man, the threat of worldwide annihilation begins!
Apparently, aliens lived on earth millions of years ago [Editor's Note: That's what I've been trying to tell everyone!] and left us humans a little present. The dino-monster "Yonggary," as he's known to the alien experts, stands over 500 feet tall and weighs over 100 metric tons. Yonggary's bones have been found in a dessert and are about to be removed when a hovering alien spacecraft shoots a blue electrical beam to earth bringing Yonggary back to life! Suddenly Yonggary is awake, alive and pretty pissed off!
Humans flee! The army attacks! Can humanity stop Yonggary and the alien threat? Or will we all soon bow down to the evil that is Reptilian?
Reptilian is a bad, baaaaad movie. It should be spanked with a rolled up newspaper or maybe even have its nose rubbed in its own "mess."
Bad Reptilian. Naughty.
When I was in college, I used to sit around with friends and write different screenplays under the heavy influence of alcohol and bong water. What we produced made about as much sense as Margot Kidder on tranquilizers. If you want to know how bad Reptilian is, let me put it this way: what we came up with during those college years was ten times better than Reptilian, and our scripts weren't even legible.
Trying to pinpoint Reptilian's main problem is like trying to nail Jell-O to a moving poodle. Let's start with the script by Marty Poole, who also went out on write other riveting movies such as…nothing. Nada. Zip. Poole has gone on write absolutely nothing else, and for good reason. The script for Reptilian has all the excitement of a urine sample. Poole's dialogue is so tired and obvious that it's hopeless—I couldn't even muster up the energy to chuckle at even the cheesiest of lines. Reptilian makes Battlefield Earth look like Shakespeare In Love.
WHOA! Wait a minute…did I just say that?!?! Okay, I apologize to Mr. Poole for that harsh statement. I don't want to say anything that I'm going to regret later.
Here is an example of some of the cheesecake dialogue from Reptilian: After multiple migrant workers are killed on a dig site, the sadistic Dr. Campbell (Richard B. Livingston) is questioned by his assistant on how he can justify the sacrifice of so many lives. Snapping back he replies, "Everything has a price, Holly. Think about what's important. Fame and fortune…or obscurity?" Hmm…well, can't argue with that logic.
Speaking of logic, who was the bonehead who did the casting for this sucker? There's not one, and I mean not ONE person who acts convincingly in Reptilian. I have the feeling if I were to talk to the casting director, it would confirm my suspicions: Reptilian held its casting sessions at a local community college. I can imagine the process went something like this:
Casting Director: "Do you have any previous acting experience?"
Auditioning Actor: "I played Tree #3 in a local production of "Our Town."
Casting Director: "Great! Interested in a lead role?"
The pinnacle of the talent comes in the form of Harrison Young, an older actor who played the elderly Private Ryan in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. I hope he savored that success, 'cause my guess is that after Reptilian is seen, his movie career is going to dry up pretty darn fast.
Let me get out my verbal ruler and smack the makers of Reptilian on their hands. Time to listen up, pinheads. CGI was a great invention. I thrilled to Jurassic Park as much as the next guy. Terminator 2: Judgment Day used computer graphics with startling results. Your little movie Reptilian sucks. I witnessed better computer animation while playing "Space Invaders" in 1983. Every shot of Yonggary suffers from being too light, too murky, or only halfway finished. During the aircraft sequences I could actually see the shadows of the characters' heads against the blue screen. Need I say more?
I didn't think so.
Reptilian is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. If Reptilian does anything right, it at least has an above average transfer going for it. Though there were many instances when the picture looked soft or dark, the transfer is decent for the size and scope of this film (budget: $2.98). Colors were bright with only a small amount of bleeding and blacks were usually solid. Columbia has probably done the best they could with this title.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as Dolby Surround 2.0, both in English. The 5.1 mix was very directional, more so than you'd think for a title of this size. All speakers were occasionally utilized, and the dialogue, effects and music were evenly mixed. Also included are Spanish, English and Portuguese subtitles, though I'm sure all those cultures have better things to do than watch this stinker.
Bonus features for Reptilian are thankfully thin. Supplements include a full frame theatrical trailer for Reptilian, some slim production notes, bonus trailers for Godzilla and Godzilla 2000, a laughable profile on Yonggary, and a small photo gallery filled with images from the finished film.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Reptilian is a shining example of why drug stores carry Extra-Strength Tylenol.
Sitting through Reptilian, I felt as if I were caught in some kind of time trap that was never going to end. Every consecutive scene was sillier than the last. I'm sorry to report that Reptilian doesn't even achieve fun B-movie status. If you are THAT big of a Godzilla fan, then you may like Reptilian. If this is true, please don't ever show your face in public again.
Reptilian is found guilty of being moldy movie cheese! Court is adjourned!
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Scales of Justice
• Theatrical Trailer
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