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dir Choi Yoon-suk, John Kafka
scr James Greco, Zachary Rosenblatt, Adam Beechen, Jae Woo Park
prd Robert Abramoff, Heo Joonbum, David Lovegren, Jae Y Moh, Jae Woo Park
voices Pamela Adlon, Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Strong, Melanie Griffith, Jane Lynch, Fred Tatasciore, Rob Schneider, William Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin, Tom Kenny, John DiMaggio, Nolan North
release Kor 30,Nov.12, US 7.Dec.12, UK 22.May.15
Cretaceous Park: Mama Rex and the kids
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Bright and goofy, this time-travel adventure makes up for its ropey animation with high-energy antics and lively characters. So even if the plot is never coherent, it's relatively engaging, taking a hyperactive approach to storytelling that feel more like a TV show than a proper movie.
Ernie (Adlon) is a rebel pre-teen in Terra Dino, a town built around dinosaur fossils. It's hard work dodging his overprotective mum Sue (Lynch), while his bratty little sister Julia (Strong) constantly gets him into trouble and his best pal Max (Lowenthal) struggles to keep up. Then one day in the laboratory of Max's mad-scientist dad Diego (Tatasciore), Ernie, Max and Julia accidentally trigger a time machine and are sent back to the cretaceous period. They're surprised to discover the mama T-rex (Griffith) to be friendly, unlike two prehistoric crocodiles (William and Stephen Baldwin).
Having the dinosaurs speak to each other (the kids can't understand them) is an unnecessarily odd touch, since everything they say is already conveyed by the imagery. This dialog is only really used to explain a pointless conspiracy between the villainous crocs and their Three Stooges-like henchmen (Kenny, DiMaggio and North). Also adding to the general chaos is a bizarre furry critter voiced by Schneider. But the filmmakers' main interest seems to be in frantic action sequences.
Severely lacking in the detail of Hollywood studio animation, the settings look eerily simplistic, with a particular lack of detail when it comes to hair, water and grass, giving everything a simplistic videogame aesthetic. While each of the rollicking action set-pieces uses whizzy point-of-view angles, they're too choppy to follow. And none of them quite manage to fit logically into the fabric of the plot. This leaves the movie racing briskly from nothing to nowhere, although there's plenty of fun to be had along the way.
The main message here is to trust each other: kids respecting their parents, and parents allowing their kids some independence. It's not particularly original, but at least it's not laid on too thickly, and the voice actors get a chance to add some personality to their interaction, most notably Lynch and Tatasciore in their parallel plot to rescue the children. Intriguingly, the ending sets this up as a continuing franchise, which might have been fun with higher production values.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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