Fantasia 2023 Review: THE PRIMEVALS, An Animated Fantasy Adventure For All Ages

Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
Fantasia 2023 Review: THE PRIMEVALS, An Animated Fantasy Adventure For All Ages
The Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, has been discovered in the Himelayean mountains! Repudiated writer Mat Connor is invited to a presentation of the discovery by his former teacher Doctor Claire Collier. Having born the grunt of ridicule for a dissertation about the Yeti years before, this discovery has proven his theories right and his insights would be invaluable on an expedition Collier is planning to find more Yeti. 
Furthermore, this Yeit smuggled out to Collier underwent some kind surgical procedure that turned it violent. They need to discover who is doing this to save the rest of the species. Collier also enlists the help of Rondo Montana, an ex-big game hunter who lives in the region. They will join Kathleen Reidel, another one of Collier's former students and their guide for their journey, Siku the sherpam, in the mountains. 
If you do not know the story behind The Primevals by now, a short recap will catch you up. Producer Charles Band gave a quick recap prior to the screening of the world premiere. Band approached the late animator David Allen to do some work on one of the films he was producing. Allen then presented his idea for The Primevals but the proposed budget, and lengthy timeline, was too much for Band to take on with his independent studio structure. Year after year, Band would go back to his friend with more requests for more work and year after year Allen would ask about taking on The Primevals. Eventually Band built the Full Moon Pictures brand to a level where they could finally begin the two-plus year project. 
Cancer is a bastard. Not too long after beginning production on the fantasy adventure film, Allen succumbed to the disease, and the project was shelved for a handful of years. Band would eventually find the time and resources once again to resurrect the project and deliver a final film to an eager audience of film nerds yesterday afternoon.  
Short story time. I’m reminded of a time when a friend was raising their child, ready to impress themselves and their film geek leanings upon their offspring. We were quite pleased to learn that the young one was going through a boxset of Ray Harryhausen movies, devouring them even. The kid couldn’t get enough of the near ten hours of fantasy and adventure delights. The offspring was barely into grade school at the time but our friend already had a good grasp of their child’s temperament and correctly assumed they were ready for this level of fantasy excitement. It started them down a road of geek and nerd intellectual properties that continue to this day. The kid is now a young man and has graduated or will graduate post secondary education in video game design. As the Grail Knight once said, “You have chosen… wisely”.
I tell that story because this is what The Primevals could also be, a gateway film for other youngsters waiting to discover that source of inspiration that introduces them to a bigger world of fantasy and adventure. It is just the right balance of mystery, discovery and adventure, in a Journey to the Center of the Earth kind of way, for a younger audience. We do not have young kids but we imagine that The Primevals is not too scary. Perhaps it is a bit stabby for some youngsters. We do not know how parents go about doing this introduction thing. It is the same level of animated excitement and action as, say, 1988’s Willow or 1981’s Clash of the Titans
For those of us from a certain generation, The Primevals is a wonderful throwback to the films that once inspired us. The stop motion animation is simply gorgeous. In these action-heavy times, perhaps it will not have enough of ‘the good stuff’ to appease that appetite. The story itself may focus on building a mystery for a bit longer than it needs to. It does save the best for last however, loading the final act with all the amazing stop-motion action it could muster.
Could it have offered more earlier on? Perhaps. There is a great prologue to the film that takes place in the Himelayan mountains where we get to see a Yeti in action. Unbeknownst to us, we have already met two of our expeditionary team, but you hardly feature a young beauty like Walker Brandt then ignore her for the rest of the movie. Another Yeti will make a brief appearance as the expedition carries on, but most of the stop-motion animation we are craving to see happens in the climax of the film. 
The Primevals is great, many things. It is throwback to our generation of film geeks, a reminder of our age of discovery of the fantastic and adventurous. A catalyst that set off memories of after school movie days (or, when you could show a movie like Clash of the Titans as part of your curriculum during Greek History Month) and discoveries in the age of VHS. It is a ‘back in my day’ movie, a reminder of the way that things were done, with our hands for long and tedious hours at a time. This was uphill both ways kind of special-effects move making. This can also be a bonding movie for parents and their children, a movie that any generation can enjoy for its level of mystery, adventure and animated excitement.
And if your kids reject it you could always put them up for adoption. Are they really your children, after all, if they reject it? This is a future geek litmus test, in your pocket and ready to go. 

The Primevals

  • David Allen
  • David Allen
  • Randall William Cook
  • Juliet Mills
  • Leon Russom
  • Walker Brandt
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Charles BandDavid AllenFantasia 2023Juliet MillsLeon RussomRobert CornthwaiteRandall William CookWalker BrandtAdventureSci-Fi

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