Perhaps the best parts of Primal are those elements that make it stand out from its contemporaries. The most notable creative choice is to tell the tale without the use of dialogue. Viewers will find that the main characters can indeed communicate, with much being exchanged between the two through looks and grunts, but never a word is uttered onscreen. The real accomplishment here is the audience never feels deprived by the lack of dialogue, and can easily understand the emotions and motivations of the characters. The animation supports this choice, making both the main characters visually emotive in both expression and body language.
This doesn’t mean that Primal tells its tale in silence. On the contrary, you should be turning the volume up to get proper enjoyment from this prehistoric tale. The sound editing is on point, with booming roars and screeching creatures providing the needed audio cues for the story. With background sounds being brought to the forefront, adding a depth of sound, Primal keeps all of the pesky words from getting in the way.
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A short season of five animated episodes by Genndy Tartakovsky, Primal tells the tale of a caveman and a dinosaur. It’s a classic, though not historically accurate, combination that begs for exciting action and adventure. United by tragedy, the motley duo of Spear and Fang make their way through savage landscapes hoping to find a measure of peace amidst the countless dangers of their primordial world. Fans of Tartakovsky will instantly fall in love with Primal. His work has always been stylistically distinct, and his newest release is no exception. While Primal may not have the lasting impact of Tartakovsky’s seminal work, Samurai Jack, it is still a noteworthy addition to his resume.
While at its core Primal is a tale of harrowing survival amid a dangerous world, the show has more to offer than just its action based exterior. As the initial rivalry between Spear and Fang grows from confrontational to playful, then finally into a relationship with genuine caring and comradery, the audience is carried along for the ride and becomes invested in the onscreen friendship. This relationship serves as a stark contrast to the show’s otherwise dark tone and the connection between the audience and the characters makes their battle for survival all the more harrowing. It’s a testament to the medium and another shining example of how animation can provide a memorable onscreen experience as well as any live action fare is able to do.