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Peter Benchley's Creature (1998) - Blu-ray Review

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Peter Benchley's Creature - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

By land AND by sea; that’s the territory of Peter Benchley’s Creature, a miniseries presented on blu-ray in two parts, which was originally broadcast in 1998 on The Hallmark Channel. Did you miss it? You aren’t alone. It certainly didn’t make a ratings killing for yet another undersea monster by its author. All jokes aside, though, this is a fun B-movie experience with a slight edge to it.  The flick is definitely underappreciated by the masses.

Starring Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Kim Cattrall (Sex in the City), the film boasts some pretty spectacular practical effects courtesy of the late Stan Winston. It also has one hell of an established cast which includes Colm Feare, Giancarlo Esposito, and Michael Michele. Everyone knew what movie they were making and that adds to the enjoyment of the flick. This is a steady-moving creature feature that – while never completely dipping into camp territory – certainly plays better to a specific crowd than to a larger market. To suggest that it is a televised oddity isn’t an understatement.

Creature originally aired in four one-hour episodes but, for the purposes of the at-home viewing experience, Olive Films splits the series into two parts. It works much better and makes the full 176 minutes feel more compacted. Adapted from the book written by Peter Benchley (Jaws), this adventure on and around the sea starts in 1972 near the end of the Vietnam Conflict and showcases what happens when science goes rogue while tasked with solely finding a way to defeat the enemy.

Two scientists in a remote island laboratory create a half-shark, half-human monster that they, obviously, cannot safely keep. Its hunger is too much to handle. Abandoning the project at the bottom of the ocean after it eats one of its creators, the shark-man abomination is left to die while the surviving scientist loses his mind on a nearby island.

Except the creation doesn’t die and when it resurfaces, 25 years later, it’s one pissed off monster and wreaks all sorts of havoc in and around the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. The locales explain the attacks away with rumors of a great white shark. It’s up to one family, who just happen to be marine biologists (with a desire to cure cancer via shark studies), to bring the undersea creature to public knowledge and end its reign of terror.

Full of ridiculous voodoo nonsense and a good amount of cheese, Creature – thanks to the textured work of Winston and company – is saved by some seriously unexpected tense situations involving a detailed shark-man with an unyielding appetite for human flesh. In one sequence, a group of teenagers are diving from cliffs into the water below and are ripped apart in an explosion of red dye. It’s moments like that save the film from itself.

Creature’s poor director, Stuart Gillard (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II), crams so much of the expected into the film that the damn flick almost sinks before it has a chance to do a couple of laps around the pool. Thankfully, he keeps the horror aspect in check and invites audiences to experience some of the fear on display as people at play become unexpected victims of a shark-man. And then there’s the scene where the monster's fingers are revealed. Gross. Cool. Unexpected all at once. Winston comes to the rescue once again.

For a fan of creature features, Creature is not quintessential viewing BUT it sure is a lot of cheesy fun. Thanks to Olive Films, audiences can relive (and maybe even appreciate) Creature for what it is: an experiment in made-for-television entertainment.

Peter Benchley's Creature - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
240 mins
Director
: Stewart Gillard
Writer:
Rockne S. O'Bannon
Cast:
Craig T. Nelson, Kim Cattrall, Colm Feore
Genre
: Horror | Television
Tagline:
Peter Benchley's Creature
Memorable Movie Quote: "It sounds as if you have a shark problem."
Official Site:
Release Date:
No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 19, 2015
Synopsis: An amphibious shark-like monster terrorizes an abandoned secret military base and the people who live on the island it is located on. A marine biologist, as well as several other people, try to stop it before it is too late...

Peter Benchley's Creature - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 19, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Olive Films presents Creature on blu-ray with a 1080p transfer that presents its monster in glorious detail against strong shadows and good contrast. Really, that’s the high of the owning the film on blu-ray. This shark-man monster is no laughing matter for a made-for-television movie. It’s not an embarrassment and – while no producer/director was probably ever expecting this to find its way on this format when high-def became a thing – fans of Winston’s work will salivate over what he’s created. The teeth are sharp. The color of its skin is strong and, it snaps its jaws in a pretty immersive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Creature is a solid presentation.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Outside of a menu that is split in two parts to accommodate for each part of the miniseries, there is nothing. Sadface.

 

 

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