So, this killer crocodile, with the absurd handle of Gustave, is munching on Africans in war-torn Burundi. And he's like super hungry. Given that he can live to 100 years and eats hundreds of people a year, the croc's a one-lizard population safeguard. Unfortunately for the villagers who live in fear of this monster, there's another Gustave in the bush: Little Gustave, a nasty decapitating warlord. (His name is a great example of Hollywood slap-your-forehead allegory.) When an American news network sends in a television crew to film the capture of the croc, they run afoul of both the cold-blooded river beast and the hot-tempered warlord. Hysterics ensue.
Sounds ridiculous. Sure is. Here's how I imagine the first production meeting for Primeval must have gone:
Writers: So, I've got a great idea for an Anaconda rip-off but instead of a giant badly computer generated snake we've got a cheap looking computer generated crocodile. Problem is we only have about 30 minutes of actual croc plot.
Producer: Hmmmm. What do you propose?
Writers: That Blood Diamond flick seems like it'll make some good money, why don't we just throw in an hour of subplot about civil war in Burundi?
Producer: Why not?
And that's exactly what Primeval feels like -- a schizoid combo of two completely unrelated films, neither of which are done well. The cast is uniformly wretched -- Dominic Purcell is the grizzled stud, Brooke Langton the journalist with a heart of gold, Orlando Jones the wise-cracking black guy, Jürgen Prochnow the... well, it's Jürgen Prochnow, and Gideon Emry as a Crocodile Hunter spoof (bad timing!) -- and they seem to have no idea exactly what movie they are in. If they're not running from the big Gustave across a savannah (yeah, a savannah) then they're debating the role of journalism in covering African strife. You'd think it would be easy to generate some excitement from scenes of a giant croc tearing someone in half but this film doesn't even get that right.
Primeval is being advertised as the true story of the most terrifying serial killer in history. And while the real Gustave may have racked up 300 odd kills, this film is surely an even bigger, badder killer -- of brain cells.
Faster than a speeding crocodile.
In Theaters: Friday 12th January 2007
Box Office USA: $10.4M
Box Office Worldwide: $10.6M
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Production compaines: Hollywood Pictures, Pariah, Sarah James Productions
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 43
IMDB: 4.7 / 10
Director: Michael Katleman
Producer: Gavin Polone
Screenwriter: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris
Starring: Dominic Purcell as Tim Manfrey, Brooke Langton as Aviva Masters, Orlando Jones as Steven Johnson, Jürgen Prochnow as Jacob Krieg, Gideon Emery as Mathew Collins, Gabriel Malema as Jojo, Linda Mpondo as Gold Tooth, Lehlohonolo Makoko as Beanpole, Dumisani Mbebe as Harry, Eddy 'Big Eddy' Bekombo as Ato, Chris April as Captain, Lika Berning as Rachel (as Lika van den Bergh)