Monday, July 24, 2023

THE PRIMEVALS (2023) Fantasia 2023

Begun by special effects master Dave Allen PRIMEVALS was left uncompleted with his passing. An old school adventure with lots of the stop motion that he was known for, the was recently finished by Allen’s associate Chris Endicott for Charles Band’s Full Moon Films and the results are one the great joys of 2023.

The plot of the film has an expedition of the Himalayas returning with the body of a giant beast that could be a yeti. Based on the discovery a new expedition is planned and it heads off to the mountains where they find not just more yetis but hidden civilization doing genetic manipulation.

Glorious throwback to the classic films of Ray Harryhausen, and even Allen’s own EQUINOX, PRIMEVALS is a film the likes of which we haven’t seen in four decades. It’s the sort of B film that filled theaters and drive ins back in the day and would have fit perfectly among such treasures as BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, SWORD AND THE SORCERER and the like It’s such a perfect fit that outside of more modern items you would be hard pressed to say when this was shot.

This is a film that is a warm hug to everyone who loves the older genre films which were made with love and passion. In an age where many films like this get phoned in performances, everyone seems to be into what they are doing, and the result is a popcorn eating charmer. It’s a cinematic campfire story that pulls you in from the start and just drags you along as it goes.

I had a blast.

The effects are wonderful. The compositing of the animated images and backgrounds with the actors is actually some of the best that I’ve ever seen in any budgeted film. The only problem, which is a problem with many films, is that because the actors are working in front of green screens they tend not react to the backgrounds and keep their eyes forward. Additionally, since the backgrounds are usually created to give us one way of viewing things there isn’t much camera movement. To be honest the only reason I noticed it was I was wondering why the camera remained in one POV for certain shot when they clearly had these great sets.

Absolutely minor quibble aside, THE PRIMEVALS is a joy. It’s the sort of film I would have traveled great distances back in the day to see.  It’s also a film that I hope to see on a big screen down the road since that’s the way this film needs to be seen.

Highly recommended.

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