The Primevals Image

The Primevals

By Bobby LePire | June 26, 2024

AVAILABLE ON FULL MOON FEATURES! The production of The Primevals spanned three decades, while its origins date back even further. Director David Allen, best known for his incredible special effects work, attempted to bring his Jules Verne-H.G. Welles throwback to life starting in the 1960s. But it wasn’t until 1994 that Charles Band agreed to fund the film. Ultimately, financial issues halted the shooting. Then tragedy struck: Allen was diagnosed with cancer and would be taken by the disease in 1999 at the age of 54. In an effort to bring his friend’s vision to life, Band launched a successful backer campaign to finish the stop-motion animation and other elements. Many of Allen’s friends and colleagues pitched in to honor the man. So, was this passion project worth the wait, or should it have remained a dream?

Written by Randall William Cook from a story by Allen, the movie opens with a gripping scene deep in the Himalayas. A Sherpa family is startled by loud noises, only to discover that “the ancient one” is on a rampage. Anthropologist Kathleen (Walker Brandt) pleads with Siku (Tai Thai) and his older brother to capture, not kill, the creature known as the yeti. The ensuing confrontation results in the death of both Siku’s brother and the yeti. In the aftermath, Kathleen smuggles out the creature’s carcass and sends it to her mentor, Dr. Claire Collier (Juliet Mills), setting the stage for a thrilling and suspenseful journey.

“…hunted by reptilian beings who are somehow tied to the rampaging yetis.”

Shortly after a press conference announcing the discovery, Claire, disgraced but proven right PhD student Matt (Richard Joseph Paul), and tracking expert Rondo Montana (Leon Russom) are en route to meet up with Kathleen and Siku. The five of them set out to discover the origins of the yeti and hopefully find more of them. What they stumble into, though, is a land where evolution froze and hominids roam freely. Unfortunately, they’re hunted by reptilian beings who are somehow tied to the rampaging yetis. Soon enough, the reptilians are after Claire and her expedition. Can the group make the scientific discovery they are after and escape with their lives? Or is the brutality of this land too much for them?

The Primevals is very much a Full Moon feature of the 1990s. That means some of the actors are bad, the plot is basic, and the whole enterprise has a cheesy quality to it. Paul, as the ostensible lead, has the requisite floppy hair and good looks for a leading man. As an actor, he can stare very hard at things effectively. Brandt is lousy from her first scene to her last, occasionally giving the impression that she read the script for the first time two minutes before filming started. Russom is certainly trying and succeeds more often than not. But the cast has two saving graces: Thai and Mills. While Thai’s Siku isn’t given enough to do in the third act, he sells the vengeance and danger well. Mills is terrific as the older academic who is ready to believe, but needs science to back it up. She fully inhabits the character and makes audiences care for her every step of the way.

As a throwback production of an old-school adventure, there are a few scenes that immediately date things. Rondo’s introduction in Calcutta sees him saving Claire and Matt from thugs. The muggers are the only Indians in the flick, and their portrayal is less than flattering. And also, yes, aside from Siku, everyone else is white. These depictions are a holdover from the films of yesteryear this yearns to be. As such, these elements don’t come across as malicious as they could have.

The Primevals (2024)

Directed: David Allen

Written: Randall William Cook

Starring: Richard Joseph Paul, Juliet Mills, Walker Brandt, Tai Thai, Leon Russom, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

The Primevals Image

"…one of the most ambitious and engaging Full Moon films."

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