With the introduction of 3D movies, we started to get more animated movies that aimed to take advantage of the new technology. We also started to get a lot of low budget animated movies that should have just gone straight to TV trying to take advantage of the novelty of 3D so they could be released in cinemas. There have been less animated flicks like this recently, but when I first saw the poster for Dino Time 3D at the local cinema, I knew it was going to be one of those movies that tried to sucker people using the 3D angle.
Ernie is a fun loving kid with a passion for dinosaurs. He avoids responsibility at any cost and loves to spend his time at the museum or riding around on his rocket powered skateboard. He gets up to all kinds of mischief with his best friend Max, and there’s never any doubt that his meddlesome sister Julia is never too far behind.
After being grounded one day, Ernie sneaks out and heads on over to his Max’s place. His sister spots him making his escape and tails him. Max is showing Ernie the time machine his dad has been working on, when his sister Julia busts him for being out. While Ernie is chasing Julia, they accidentally knock some soda onto the time machine, and all of a sudden the three of them find themselves trapped in the past. Ernie’s biggest problem used to be his mom. Now his problems have gotten much bigger, vicious, and cold blooded.
This movie is very obviously aimed at kids with its simple story, characters, and bright colour palette.
The Bottom Line
I’m reviewing this movie on DVD, so it no longer has the 3D advantage that it had in cinemas. So now that it’s just an ordinary low budget animated feature, how does it compare to other animated films?
Unfortunately, not so well.
Right off the bat we’re treated to visuals that are not up to scratch. I know this is a low budget release but I find it really hard to forgive a movie that looks worse than something that was released two (or more) years ago. This is particularly bad in this case because this movie was released in cinemas.
The story is also incredibly predictable, but I don’t really know if I can put this down as a negative because I’m an adult and this movie is very obviously aimed at kids younger than ten.
The characters? Again, they’re your stock standard stereotypes without the tiniest bit of imagination thrown into them. The main character Ernie is brave but he’s annoying and reckless. His best friend/sidekick Max is smarter than he is, but is more on the timid side. Ernie’s younger sister is a typical goody two shoes. Again, this movie is aimed at kids so maybe I’m expecting too much.
On the plus side, Dino Time actually has some decent action sequences with some relatively catchy pop rock music. Unfortunately, that’s all that this sub-par animated flick has going for it.
About Rowan Govender
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.