Dino-snore time

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“Help – it’s a Low Budget-osaurus!”

An Active3D movie review

Movie: Dino-Time 3-D (a.k.a. Dino-Mom)

Rating: ** (out of 5)

A little boy and his spoilsport sister end up at the home of one of their peers whose dad is a  less-than-successful inventor. The trio end up messing about in the inventor’s time-machine, which, up until that point, hadn’t been working. Of course, they manage to activate it, and the device, conveniently shaped like a large dinosaur egg, rockets them back into the Jurassic age. A large pink Tyranno-something immediately assumes that they are her offspring (despite the fact that they look nothing like baby dinosaurs) and starts to lick them as a dog would groom her puppies. Yes, this is, indeed, silly, and there’s very little evidence of tongue in cheek to make the journey more palatable for adults in the audience.

This South Korean/American effort tries to legitimise itself by using a cast of well-known American actors (such as Jane ‘Glee’ Lynch, Melanie Griffith, and two available Baldwin brothers), but the very audience who might recognise these names is alienated by a script that lacks nuance or wit.

The computer-animated feature film genre is dominated by the likes of Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Fox, and these studios have huge budgets and resources, so it strikes me as insanity to try and compete in this field. The lack of sophistication in, for example, the character’s facial movements, is obvious. The Hollywood studios also have teams of sharp writers who hone the storylines and dialogue, thus engaging audiences in a complex fashion. If the film had been made as a ten-minute ride attraction, for showing in “4-D theatres”, such as the one at Gold Reef City, I believe it would have found its niche – and enjoyed a longer exhibition life, to boot.  In its defence, this naive romp is far superior to the first South African 3-D animated movie, Jock of the Bushveld, although that’s like saying that the sensation of sea sand in one’s shoes is more pleasant than having one’s knees vigorously sandpapered… The stereoscopic work is dodgy, and backgrounds sometimes pop forward unintentionally, as was often the case in the South African movie.

The film’s heart is in the right place, however, and I suspect that there is enough racing, chasing and general action to engage Grade Ones, but that it will prove a trial for parents taking their children out for a Saturday morning treat.

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