Whether he’s zooming around town on his rocket-powered skateboard or stealing an early peek at the cool new fossil exhibit at the Dinosaur Museum, Ernie never lets the strict rule of his mom, or his tag-along sister, Julia, keep him from stirring up some fun. Only this time, he has a little bit too much of it and it sees him transported 65 million years into the past.
Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)
The Gist of It: ‘Dino Time’ focuses on a young scamp named Ernie whose rebellious antics lead him to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, with his friend Max and sister Julie.
Ernie (Pamela Adlon) is the hyperactive son of PTA ‘Mom of the Year’ Sue (Jane Lynch). He’s joined in his serial mischief-making by best friend Max (Yuri Lowenthal) and pursued by sister Julia (Tara Strong) who has made it her mission-in-life to bust her errant brother.
Messing with Max’s inventor father’s time-machine that doesn’t work until the kids accidentally spill soda on to it and BINGO! The time-machine sends the trio hurtling back 65 million years to prehistoric times to a land with untouched, lush jungles and roaming dinosaurs. After emerging from an egg-shaped time machine, they are mothered by a bright pink T-rex, Tyra (Melanie Griffith), who mistakes them for her babies, bond with adopted brother Dodger (Rob Schneider), and fall foul of the villainous Sarcosuchus brothers Surly and Sarco (Stephen and William Baldwin).
Thrills and spills ensue in frenzied fashion, including a ride through the rapids, which results in Ernie losing the key to the time-machine, while Dino-Mom must contend with Lower Valley kingpins the Sarco Brothers (the Baldwins) who want to take over her territory; with the help of three blue spy-birds (who suffer from the severe flatulence) who intend on kidnapping her ‘babies’ to achieve it.
Meanwhile, back at home, Mom, whose heroic bosom will probably be the star of the film for bored dads, helps Diego, Max’s inventor father, transform her car into another time machine in order to save the mischievous trio.
‘Dino Time’ is less adept at keeping the whole family entertained than pros like the ‘Ice Age’ franchise, while Ernie doesn’t always stay the right side of irritating; especially in his to-the-camera addresses. However, there are lightly delivered lessons for both parents and their offspring cohorts; it tries to balance a message about allowing your kids to plough their own path with one about appreciating maternal sacrifice. With the animation being middle-of-the-road, Dino Time peddles an uncomplicated, enjoyable-enough brand of anarchy, rocketing from its high-powered skateboard opener to its ‘Uh-oh’ ending.
Visually the film is stuck between the first ‘Toy Story’ and the early ‘Ice Age’ films. The adventure chase scenes hold enough driving excitement to keep younger audiences enthralled, though. The introduction of the creepy lizards, Surly and Sarco, help give the film a darker twist as they bring a layer of evil.
Unfortunately, the story is not a very original one with it being quite weak. It handles most of the characters poorly and its main plot is lacking a clear point. Viewers have no idea what the villains in this film wanted, for instance, and have no real idea how the kids were trying to get back to modern times. The humor feels a bit too forced and so do some of its characters. Some of the characters are only in this to serve as comical relief but it doesn’t work out too well, since the comedy isn’t anything too creative. It even has fart jokes in it, which should tell you something about the comedy’s quality and creativity.
Despite the quirky characters and otherworldly setting, the film is surprisingly laugh-free. ‘Dino Time’s’ main selling feature may be its fantastical adventure storytelling, but every worthy animated flick still has its share of humour. The sense of fantasy escapism is also constantly lost by the Ernie breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience; an irksome technique that gets old quickly.
Ultimately, it is the sort of the film that tries to crowbar in all sort of messages and lessons about life but it does it in such an ineffective way that it actually never starts to become anything distracting or annoying, so it’s not a real complaint in this case.
Featuring a distinctly B-list Hollywood voice cast, this irrepressibly peppy, luridly hued, mercifully short CGI offering will mildly entertain dinosaur mad kids and should be over quickly enough for adults. Of course it’s still a pretty ok ok and certainly a simplistic little animated film but it’s still a watchable enough one, especially for little kids of course, who are into dinosaurs and adventure type of stuff.
With the pace not being brisk enough to hide the groaning gags, paper-thin plotting, and continuity errors that emerge, the fine line between lovable and annoying does unfortunately tilt towards the latter as the film progresses.
Favourite Line: –
Release Date: 4th June, 2015