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The 100




Relic, The
(1997)
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 7 Beans

he Relic" is one of those movies which looked interesting before it actually came out. A cool teaser ad, based on a best-selling book... that's when the red alert goes off. Films based on books usually aren't very good (most notably "Jurassic Park" and "Rising Sun," both adaptations of Michael Crichton novels). But you never know, maybe this is the one that's going to change things.

It wasn't.

"The Relic" takes place almost completely in Chicago's Natural History Museum, a cool place to set a film if there ever was one. Except that no one ever bothers to turn any lights on in places where such an action would be appropriate, and... it's this movie.

The action unravels at a tame pace, offering a few people being eaten by a mysterious creature. Unfortunately, the creature isn't that mysterious. Penelope Ann Miller plays the scientist researcher lady who can't seem to figure out the mystery of a crate the museum receives from South America, even though everyone watching figures it out before she even takes a close look at the cargo.

There are some good things about "The Relic," though: Linda Hunt is always fun to watch, even though she isn't given much to work with here. The creature, once it finally gets some screen time, looks pretty cool. That's it for the pluses. The rest of "The Relic" is boring, predictable, blah blah blah. It's roughly on par with "Jurassic Park," if that gives you any idea of what to expect.

If you absolutely must see a film based on a novel, I would strongly recommend "Jackie Brown," directed by Quentin Tarantino. It is perhaps the film which stays closest to its source material while also being intelligent and entertaining. "The Relic" takes the easy route by taking a huge book, cutting away as much as the filmmakers can get away with, throwing a bunch of big words into the script, and shoving special effects in the audience's face. "The Relic" makes decent free entertainment; you'll feel better about yourself if you don't pay to see it.






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