In the Middle East, a bomb is set off that creates massive earthquakes. Meanwhile in South Korea, a young couple is about to get married and the tension builds when South Korea sends a manned space capsule to investigate the bomb site. The earthquake makes its way to South Korea, caused by a giant monster named Yongary (inspired by a mythical creature in Korean lore). Yongary attacks Seoul and makes his way to the oil refineries where he consumes the oil. A child related to the aforementioned couple turns off the refineries' oil basins; Yonggary, enraged, starts attacking until a chemical explosion at the refinery proves to have an effect on it. The Korean Government then uses oil to draw Yonggary to a local river, and kills it with a refined version of the ammonia compound.
The film was remade in 1999 by Shim Hyung-rae. To date, the Yonggary remake is the most expensive Korean film ever produced. The film was a moderate success and due to its success, a 2001 Upgrade Edition was produced a few months after its initial release. This version was slightly different from the original 1999 cut. The 2001 Upgrade featured new additional scenes, a new soundtrack by Chris Desmond, and new effects. 60% of the original 1999 cut made it to the 2001 upgrade version. It first premiered at a Japanese film festival in 2000 and then had its worldwide release in January 2001, which flopped due to poor promotion. The original 1999 cut was never released on VHS or DVD and the only version of the film available is the 2001 upgrade edition, which is now known as Reptilian. It's been debated whether prints of the original 1999 cut had been destroyed by the studio when at the time they believed that the 2001 upgrade edition would be a box office success.The 1999 cut was a proper remake of the first film, where Yonggary dies at the end, and the aliens were not in it.
In South Korea, Reptilian was very unpopular, and no DVDs were sold. In the USA and Japan, they can be purchased online and at some stores. However, it aired a couple of times on SciFi Channel.
The new design of Yonggary is completely different from the original. He is taller, has three horns on his head, and has a jewel on his forehead called the Damon. The Damon was placed there by the aliens, so that they can control Yonggary and use him to destroy planet Earth. When the Damon was destroyed, they lost all control over Yonggary, and Yonggary turned good and helped mankind defeat the aliens.
The original Yonggary had flamethrower breath and could shoot a laser beam from the horn on his snout, but the new Yonggary shoots fireballs from his mouth and has powers he has yet to discover(according to the aliens at the end of the film).
The original Yonggary bears a striking resemblance to Barugon from the Gamera series, as well as Godzilla, whom of which inspired Hyung Rae to create Yonggary.
In the original film, Yonggary is shown to have a diet of oil. However, in the remake, he is not shown eating (or drinking) anything.
Although the original version of the beast was closer in appearence to Godzilla, the remade version fought another monster, which is featured in most Godzilla films. Another similarity, the original kaiju was meant to terrorize the people of Korea, much like the original Godzilla destroyed Japan. Also, in the US version of the remake he is a savior to mankind, like Godzilla is in countless movies.
The origin of the new Yonggary is unknown; the original was burrowing underground, but the new monster is just a skeleton at the beginning and is resurrected by the aliens.
Yonggary means Huge Dragon in Korean.
One of the possible reasons for Yonggary's redesign in the remake might be people criticized the monster for looking like Godzilla. Another reason might be the remake was inspired by the American Godzilla remake, and Godzilla's design for the movie changed the monster completely. This could be the case, as it has many similarities to the American Godzilla remake, such as a Western cast. Also, the American Godzilla ends with the camera going into the surviving baby's mouth, and Reptilian ends with the camera going into Yonggary's mouth.
There was an alternate ending for Reptilian that was exclusive to the original Korean release; Yonggary never turns good and is eventually killed by mankind, and never fights Cykor.