The Primevals is awaiting a UK release date.
Directed by the legendary special effects wizard David Allen (Young Sherlock Holmes) and co-written by Randall William Cook, the effects wizard behind The Gate (1987), The Primevals pays homage to the late great Ray Harryhausen while wrapping us in the wonder of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong. Allen’s film is bathed in the magic of cinema as it whisks us away to a hidden world of wonder, adventure, excitement and danger by embracing a style of filmmaking now largely redundant due to CGI.
For centuries the mysterious and reclusive Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman, has been celebrated, praised and protected by the Sherpa who live high in the Himalayas. But on a cold stormy night, the beast turns on its protectors, killing many before being buried under a pile of rock and ice. The beast’s body is transported back to the United States for research at a leading University, where the esteemed anthropologist Doctor Claire Collier (Juliet Mills) attempts to unpick its secrets. But the plot thickens when an autopsy reveals that the Yeti had undergone complex brain surgery before its death – the fear centre of its brain tampered with to create a violent outburst. Intent on finding answers, Collier recruits her ex-student Mat Connor (Richard Joseph Paul), an ex-game hunter, Rondo Montana (Leon Russom), Kathleen Reidel (Walker Brandt) and the young Sherpa Siku (Tai Thai). Together they travel deep into the Himalayas in search of the truth, but the truth is far stranger than anything they could have dreamt up in a University lab.
Anyone who remembers the sense of adventure and excitement that surrounded Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959), Jason and the Argonauts (1963) or Clash of the Titans (1981) will fall in love with Allen and Cook’s live-action and stop-motion fantasy/adventure. But The Primevals is far from just a love letter to cinema’s past; it’s a testament to the continuing power of stop-motion effects in whisking us away to new worlds and a fitting memorial to Allen’s towering talent following his death in 1999.
Charlie Band and David Allen (The Primevals) promo clip 1994
At this point, you may ask yourself, if Allen died in 1999, why is The Primevals making its debut some twenty-four years later? Allen began principal photography in the early 1990s under producer Charles Band, CEO and Founder of Full Moon Features, and by 1994 much of the work had been completed; however, due to financial pressures at the studio and Allen’s death at just fifty-four years old, the film was canned, never to be completed. That was until Allen’s associate Chris Endicott (Spider-Man: Homecoming) stepped in many years later to see the film to completion. It is, therefore, a miracle that The Primevals made it to the screen, and thank god it did!
Allen’s movie is a stunning mix of stop-motion action, live-action adventure, and imaginative fantasy, proving CGI can never fully replace the wonder and excitement of stunning practical effects. The Primevals is an ode to the power of cinema and the imagination of the many VFX artists who took us to new worlds with models, animation and intricate artwork. From its rousing orchestral score to its stunning on-location work, beautiful animation and relentless excitement, David Allen’s film is a masterpiece bathed in the warm glow of a disappearing sense of adventure.
The Primevals is an ode to the power of cinema and the imagination of the many VFX artists who took us to new worlds with models, backdrops and intricate artwork. From its rousing orchestral score to its stunning on-location work, beautiful animation and relentless excitement, David Allen’s film is a masterpiece bathed in the warm glow of a disappearing sense of adventure.