Primeval (2007)

Genre(s): Drama / Horror / Thriller
Hollywood Pictures || R - 94 minutes - $29.99 || June 12, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-06-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Michael Katleman
Writer(s): John Brancato & Michael Ferris (written by)
Cast: Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton, Jurgen Prochnow


Theatrical Release Date: January 12, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Croc-umentary: Bringing Gustave to Life


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot (from DVD back cover): An American news crew, determined to capture a voracious monster and stop his demonic rampage, travel deep within the darkest reaches of the African jungle to hunt their prey. But Gustave, as the natives call him, is also on the hunt -- always on the move, always elusive, always hungry for human flesh.

You know, reading that plot, you get a sense of what this movie should be: a mindless B-monster flick. While there were certainly elements of that, it was few and far between, not to mention a side plot that (to me, at least) exploits real tragedies that occur on the African continent. In this case, a civil war was going on as this American news crew ventures to make and air a tabloid story. There are some intellectual conversations between the characters about doing such a meaningless story when so many die everyday, but I really had a hard time because even though indeed a man-eating crock really did exist in that part of the world, I felt Primeval as a film falsely advertised this. In the end, this is actually minor due to spotty editing and poor storytelling.

This is not to mention the inclusion of a C-list cast that includes Dominic Purcell (TV’s “Prison Break”) and Orlando “Fallen Off the Face of Earth” Jones, plus a few others to taunt the killer crocodile and titillate us, the audience. The problem is, despite the inclusion of such an important issue of the mass killings going on in Africa, it was used merely as a prop, not a message (even if the film was promoted honestly).

So now that the plot is pure crap and the scares are basically non-existent -- the CGI killer croc didn’t scare me at all, when it actually did come on screen -- but these characters are paper-thin, and I think I’m still being kind saying that. Outside of perhaps Orlando Jones, I could care less about what happened to these people. Yes, they’re in danger much of the time, so what? Let the damn croc eat them! That’s right, I root for the badly CGI’d croc to win!

There’s nothing even the greatest cast could’ve done. Dominic Purcell, cutie Brooke Langton (TV’s “Friday Night Light”, “Melrose Place”) and Orlando Jones (Adaptation) couldn’t do anything for this screenplay.

Speaking of the screenplay, it was written by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, two writers responsible for gems like Catwoman and the all-too-average Terminator 3, but these guys also produced The Game. Really? What happened guys? Just to clarify something, I don’t expect epic-like characters along the lines of Gladiator, but a little depth for the main cast wouldn’t be too much to ask given other elements failed miserably. Surely these aren’t the guys who decided to take shelter in a hut set up on stilts in the middle of some water that this killer croc is patrolling, right?

Fact is, this should’ve been a fun B-movie with laughable suspense and dumb humor and what we get instead is an inane plot with no suspense and nothing to care for or about. I’m sure in the early stages Primeval sounded like a good idea (and if taken more serious, it might make for a solid drama) but somewhere along the line, it lost its way and the final product resembled the same kind of drivel I’ve seen get released on DVD all the time (usually starring Wesley Snipes or Jean Claude Van Dam).

This is the kind of movie you will find at the bottom of the bargain bin at Wal Mart and I might be so bold to say that even at bargain price, I still wouldn’t recommend it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Audio Commentary - Director Michael Katleman and visual effects supervisor Paul Linden provide a lively commentary that goes from the design of the croc to the story and filming in Africa.

Croc-umentary: Bringing Gustave to Life (9:38) - This featurette, after a short opening with filmmakers and cast members explaining what Primeval is about, covers the special effects used and the creation of the CGI crocodile.

Deleted Scenes (5:40) - Three scenes are offered with commentary from the director and visual effects supervisor. Nothing stands out from these scenes and explanations offered are the typical as well.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The film is presented in a nice looking 2.35 OAR. I didn’t notice any dust or scratches and even the darker scenes looked just fine. There’s nothing about it outstanding but perfectly suitable for a recent and low-budgeted movie.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is standard. The dialogue comes from the center speaker and despite some of the more action-packed sequences; the other speakers really didn’t get much of a workout. The audio is fine but nothing great.



.::OVERALL::.

Primeval is the type of movie I think better suited for the Sci-Fi Channel, rather than on DVD (and I have little doubt it’ll appear on that channel one day). Please avoid this DVD at all costs as I could find little about this to really enjoy.