Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
The Blu-ray cover design is going to get on my nerves pretty quickly, I can tell ya that right now. Why would they want to cover up about 30% of the cover with that swoosh? Well, that’s not the people who put the Primeval DVD together, so I won’t go on and on about it, but just know it’s on my mind.
Beside the annoyance of the blue swoosh, we find a close up of what looks like a cartoon croc mouth with modeled teeth. There is a hint of blood and stuff on there, but because it looks so computer generated it looses some of the scare factor.
The menu is red and has some creepy music with images of skulls and bones in the background. The navigation drops down in a semi-cool casual style which gave me some hope for the style of the movie. I know, that’s crazy, how can the menu indicate the movie is going to be good? I have now learned that the menu means absolutely nothing in terms of the film hiding inside. That might give you some indication of what you will find in the rest of the review.
- Audio Commentary With Director Michael Katleman & Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Linden – I watched the movie once and then listened to the commentary on the deleted scenes, that’s enough. I did listen briefly to the chit chat, but then I realized, I wasn’t really listening. I didn’t like the movie enough to commit another chunk of time to it.
- Croc-umentary Bringing Gustave To Life – This story is loosely based on some true events so a documentary about the real life people involved with this huge crocodile would have been a good thing. That’s not what this is. It’s a run down of how they got the CGI croc to come to life, that’s it. Giving it a cutesy name like “croc-umentary” sadly doesn’t improve the quality of the piece.
- Deleted Scenes With Director Commentary – It probably wouldn’t matter if they left these scenes in the movie. In fact, the inappropriate shower scene of the sexy chick might have made it a little more entertaining for about 45 seconds.
The sound is excellent. Africa is amazing and a lot of the film looks beautiful. And.. um…. let’s see, what else. Oh yea, the beginning is cool when a woman sticks a shovel in the ground and suddenly gets violently dragged into the river by something mysterious and potentially scary. After that things go wrong pretty quickly. By “wrong” I mean precisely this, they take us right into a metropolitan media office, too slick, to shiny, to obnoxious and the characters we meet are instantly boring, bland, boring. A jerk journalist who we instantly are told has used some bad info to break a story and so now is in the dog house. Next is the overly modeled up chick who is introduced as an animal reporter, lead to believe she will be somewhat earthy and powerful. How wrong a first impression can be.
I don’t want to just talk about the negatives of Primeval. There are some good things. Africa is a gorgeous visually stunning place to make a movie. I wonder if that was the main contributing factor to how good a lot of the movie ended up looking. Long shots of the scenery, wild life, river life with villagers doing their thing in the mucky waters. It is all intriguing and would have made for a tremendous backdrop for a good movie. This isn’t it.
We go on their hunt to capture the once mysterious beast of the river. What I thought seemed like a daunting and terrifying foe in the first minute of the film turns out to be a big crocodile suffering from CGIitis. That’s the disease other movie characters have been struck down since the booming use of computer generated imagery in action flicks.
The story sounds interesting. Journalists looking for a giant croc while a civil war rages on around them. A warlord rules the roost and they do a good job of making him sound horrible, which he is. The croc doesn’t fair so well in the horrible department. I mean come on, it’s a crocodile that eats human flesh because of all the bodies dumped into the river during the war. He’s an animal, he can’t help it. He does what he does because it’s his nature.
So, hunting him down with cages and cameras and wanting to capture him to bring him back to civilization to make a good news story takes the edge off any hope of a frightful beast who is hunting down humans. He’s just hunting food…ohhhh scary.
The CGI is good mixed with awful. The scale of the animal changes from scene to scene. Sometimes it looks huge and sometimes it looks like a regular sized lizard dude. That puts me off big time. They did all that work to get the texturing and movement accurate, or at least believable, and then they mess up on the most important thing, making it look menacing and imposing.
The jerk reporter and chick lose their characters completely once they leave the big city. They become boring and bland scenery for the rest of the story completely forgettable and unimportant. This doesn’t help in the area of me caring if they get their heads bit off or not.
I won’t say I didn’t get entertained once in a while, I did. There are moments when I did let myself get lost in the idea of being stranded in a strange place with war and famine and a stinky river hiding big flesh eating creatures under me. That would last until someone spoke.
If you enjoy some YIKE moments and you don’t care about good visual affects or interesting characters, Primeval is right up your alley.
Oh, how does it end? Well…just kidding. I might not like it much but I won’t spoil it for ya. You have to sit through it just like I did to find out. If you love it, excellent, you will feel quite superior to me and my snotty review.
Video & Audio: (By Ascully) 7/10
I am not sure why BVHE would choose a film like Primeval to put out on the shiny new Blu format with all the superb back catalog titles they own the rights to but hey to each his own, I am also not sure we need to see Orlando Jones and that bloke from Prison Break in 1080P clarity either. But on the bright side Primeval looks much better than the standard DVD release on Blu-ray disc. The last two thirds of the movie take place pretty much in darkness so the rich blacks and lack of compression artifacting really help in scenes which look pretty muddy on standard DVD. Audio is very impressive especially the uncompressed soundtrack, infact when the movie ended we looked at each other and said “Well at least the sound was awesome”. Primeval isn’t a essential movie to add to your HD collection but it did look and sound great.
It’s good enough to watch late at night when it comes on cable, when nothing else is on and no infomercial catches my attention. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much this Blu-ray disc costs to me. It could be a dollar, and unless you are uncontrollably obsessed with collecting Orlando Jones movies, it’s better to spend that dollar on a candy bar and a cheap can of soda. At least you get some tasty calories out of the deal.
Overall Score 3/10