The tagline for Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic blockbuster Jurassic Park read, ‘an adventure… 65 million years in the making.’ For the cast and crew of this fan film spin-off, that statement has never rung more true. The production for this movie, the first movie made by Jack De La Mare, has been incredibly troubled (like JP4 really). Production began in 2007, and the film has had many set backs, with the initial 2009 release date pushed right back to 2011. Weaker people would’ve given up on the project years ago, but Jack and his team have stayed with it through the highs, the lows and the reshoots. The halts have been down to mostly post-production, visual effects and sound being the main culprits. But now, the movie is finally ready to be released online to all those who have been patiently waiting and following Jacks numerous update videos. And having been at the preview screening (I’m going to claim it as a press release, yeaaaah I sound official!), is the film a testament to the commitment from Jack and co.?

Now, with a fan film like this, you can’t expect top quality film-making, as no one involved does this professionally. At least not yet anyway. I do strongly believe that if the crew made this now, the quality would be miles better. But they can’t help that. So, no, the acting is hardly RADA standard (although Chris Bentley’s Australian accent is something special). And yes, hair lengths may change, and voices may break. But this is all part of the fun when watching a fan film of this nature. However, there is plenty here which shows signs of brilliant amateur filmmaking. First off, the cast, consisting of Elliott Crossan, Liam Inder and Charlie Patch, certainly convey a genuine friendship on screen as the three friends who take an unfortunate trip to a certain island off the coast of Costa Rica (even if they don’t seem too worried when Elliott disappears for a bit). They’re fun to follow through all the dino-action, and react surprisingly well to the CG incarnations of their prehistoric antagonists, most of the time anyway. The Dino-action itself is very well edited; the effects are incorporated very effectively into scenes for the most part. There are some ropey areas, and some dinosaurs look more textured then others, but, once again, for a fan film, it’s very impressive considering this was completely new territory for Jack, and to take on a film which requires a great extent of animation for their first film at the age of 14-15 is incredibly ambitious (it seems he spared no expense). With this in mind, I think the animation is very impressive indeed, with the scenes on the beach being a particular highlight.

The problem with most fan-made films such as this is that they can be quite cringe-worthy to watch, particularly if you know the people involved. But with this film, I hardly cringed at all, and I honestly mean that, I’m not just saying that for the sake of friendship with the people involved. I had a big smile on my face watching this film with the cast and crew. They may have been cringing, which is understandable, but for someone who wasn’t involved in the production, I certainly wasn’t. There may be continuity errors and a few mistakes within certain frames (oh hey, Bellis), but overall they do not over-shadow how fun the film is. A lot happens in its 40 minute runtime, and I was almost left wanting a little more. There are some nice nods to the Jurassic Park franchise and the musical score certainly improves the experience of the movie. I think, and I’m sure Jack and co would agree, this film was very much a learning experience. Those of you who have seen Isolated (and if not, why the hell not) will agree that lessons were well learnt in terms of filmmaking technique. For what it is, Prime Survival is a lovingly constructed tribute to Spielberg and his Dino-franchise, and features moments that do truly impress. And it really is a testament to everyone’s commitment to see this movie finally come to light and find its way on to the World Wide Web. It’s great fun to watch and this reflects the levels of enthusiasm from all involved. All that is left to say is a huge well done to Jack, the cast and the crew; it certainly is a fun first film to be proud of. I’m sure it will stay with you all as a fulfilling, worthwhile experience. So, head on over to YouTube later on this Friday (8/04/11) and check it out for yourselves! Clever girls.