""Primeval" tricked me. I knew nothing about the film other than a brief blurb I'd read that said it was about a serial killer and was based on a true story. Turns out the "serial killer" is, in fact, a large, hundred-year old crocodile named Gustave. Ho ho!
The story is about a news team that has been sent to Africa in order to cover a story on (and perhaps capture) the elusive beast. The movie briefly explains why a blood-thirsty crocodile is news (and even why it would be left up to journalists, a cameraman, and two wild animal experts to catch a critter that's been eating unsuspecting humans for decades), but the explanation is weak, at best.
Even weaker is the awkward melding of the croc plot with another story thread involving an African civil war that is propogated and prolonged by a blood-thirsty warlord named -- that's right -- Gustave. Is this a powerful political metaphor? Probably. Is it done well? Of course it isn't.
Populated by stock characters of the worst kind (although Orlando Jones manages to do some good things with his smart-aleck cameraman role), "Primeval" succumbs to ludicrousness (the characters, after a recent croc attack, decide that a rickety shack built IN the river is their best safe haven), pointlessness (the dull bonfire "bonding" scene where a tribal drum session is followed by the Westerners singing "Amazing Grace" off-key), and confusion (most of the croc attacks take place at night and are dizzyingly hard to follow). Tack on a hokey (albeit unfortunately true) message about American apathy toward African brutality, and you're left with a jury-rigged mess of a movie, a schizophrenic cinematic experience that tries to be viscerally scintillating as well as politically charged. If it had picked one or the other, it may have had at least a shred of consistency to give it pluck and cohesion. Instead, it's a mawkish blend of macabre and moralistic.
And it's not about a serial killer."
Misleading ... But Interesting
A. Abbott | South Dakota | 07/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I rented primeval, I was expecting (and hoping) for a sci-fi channel type movie about a monster crocodile that would attack everyone. Well, it was partly like that. A group of journalists is sent to a civil war stricken South African country to report on the capture of this man eater.
The journalist meet a few local villagers and hook up with a crocodile expert. However, their lives are threatened by much more than just a crocodile when the cameraman accidentally films men from a local warlord's army executing a tribal holy man and his family.
The crocodile does play an important part in this movie; but I felt that it became more of a movie about the Burundi civil war; its war lords; and a general statement about ravaged Africa as a whole. Some people, I have read, did not like this movie. I think its worth a try, I certainly enjoyed it.
By the way, Gustave (the killer crocodile) is indeed real. He lives in Burundi and may be the largest freshwater crocodile in the world. I Googled "Gustave crocodile in Africa" and got a BBC News link from a 2002 article. Interesting."
Decent thriller/suspense, with social justice twist
Mad Max | Seattle, WA USA | 09/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I sincerely applaud this movie for making a social statement. The US needs to know about the tragedies in Africa - Darfur, Congo, Rwanda, etc.
That being said, outside the geo-historical backdrop, it's a fairly typical thriller. Great scenery, acting is pretty good. If you like thrillers such as Anaconda, this is actually a notch or two better. But don't expect Oscar material."
It is what it is- a B movie to rent
Aebares2006 | Boston, MA | 10/04/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"-Take the cinematography from "Ghost in the Darkness"- Africa landscapes -Throw in the boat from "Anaconda" -The guy from 7up & Mad TV for comic relief- with a few good laughs -A few elements from "Lake Placid" -Some villians from "Black Hawk Down" (two plot lines going here) -Have the Crocodile attack either like "Jurassic park 3" or a serial killer.
You basically have a Saturday night rental that you can leave on as you half pay attention and guess which common movie plot line they will do.
It is what it is; not good, but not really bad either. The cinamatographer will difenantly get more work."
Not bad for a "B" creature eats people flick
Sam | Seahurst, Washington | 09/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Big CGI special effects movie starring a fast 30-foot crocodile. The movie puts the characters in danger early and keeps them there throughout, creating an effective sense of tension. Unfortunately, the result also feels unrealistic, and is way too serious; scenes establishing the problems Africa exist uneasily in what is essentially a dumb creature (B) film. Finally, this movie has enough moments to succeed on a certain level, though it could have been a lot better."