Come in- if you dare. The opening-night gala for a new exhibit at Chicago's Natural History Museum is under way, but be advised: something terrifying wants to make sure no one ever leaves.Title: The Relic
Penelope Anne Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, and James Whitmore star in this effects-packed shocker that gives haunted house movies a terrific new setting. And the non-human star, (brought to head-ripping life by "Jurassic Park" Academy Award-winner Stan Winston), is something no creature fan can let slip by.
Release: January 10, 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Based On: Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Writer: Amy Holden Jones, John Raffo, Rick Jaffa, & Amanda Silver
Director: Peter Hyams
Music By: John Debney
Produced By: Gale Anne Hurd & Sam Mercer
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Run Time: 110 minutes
There have been tons of monster movies scaring the pants off audience members for years and Stanely Winston (who is responsible for the Jurassic Park dinosaurs, Aliens, and many more); one of the greatest creature makers put his talents to work for Peter Hyams’ The Relic. Based on the bestselling book (that later became a bestselling series) by the authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, the screenplay was written by twice that many people.
With so many writers attached to this project, you would think it would be at least half as good as the book was! Regrettably, it just seems like a watered-down version (as if the screenplay authors just skimmed the original work) of it with more emphasis put on how ugly and evil the creature is than anything else. The Relic and it’s monster (which somehow managed to have it‘s name changed to the tribe in the book), looks impressive but the elegance of Preston/Child’s explanation as to the “how it happened” is missing too. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its moments and there are a few fans of the movie but there is a very good reason why the movie failed at the box office.
Somehow, this movie monster film was nominated for The Saturn award (which deservedly went to the movie Scream) and two smaller awards (Blockbuster Entertainment Award & International Fantasy Film Award) as well. Someone should have given an award to the original authors for turning their first collaboration together into something practically laughable. The crowning disappointment however, was when I realized that my favorite character from the book, Agent Pendergast would not be putting in an appearance. Pendergast is so popular he’s in eight other books by this team of authors and yet somehow, they felt he wasn’t needed.
I honestly tried to be fair and think of The Relic movie as a separate object from the book but from the very beginning, I was picking it apart. Some of the acting was really bad, music is used for the “jumpy parts” (then the director doesn’t follow through), and there many scenes that just didn’t make sense too. I feel like Paramount could have had a hit on their hands, something akin to the great monster movies that are still having sequels made but they totally butchered The Relic. If I would have seen it before I read it, maybe I would have liked it more… but I seriously doubt it.
Related Posts: The Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Links: Imdb.com, Novel (Wikipedia), Original Authors’ Website, Film (Wikipedia), The Script (an early draft), Fan Site (with tons of misspellings)