Kids will love this energetic if uninspired dinosaur-themed animation
The anticipation surrounding the forthcoming Jurassic World has chiselled out an opportunity for the belated release of this 2012 production from Korea's Toiion Animation Studios. Directed by Yoon S Choi and John Kafka and featuring a distinctly B-list Hollywood voice cast, this irrepressibly peppy, luridly hued, mercifully short CGI offering will divert dinosaur mad kids and should be over quickly enough for adults.
Ernie (voiced by Pamela Adlon) is the hyperactive son of PTA 'Mom of the Year' Sue (Jane Lynch – in a role that fails to utilise her comic genius). He's joined in his serial mischief-making by best friend Max (Yuri Lowenthal) and pursued by sister Julia (Tara Strong) who, like Jeanie from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, has made it her mission-in-life to bust her errant brother. Messing with Max's inventor father's malfunctioning time-machine sends the trio hurtling back 65 million years. There they are mothered by T-rex Tyra (an underused Melanie Griffith) – who mistakes them for her babies, bond with adopted brother Dodger (Rob Schneider, bringing his usual madcap energy), and fall foul of the villainous Sarcosuchus brothers Surly and Sarco (voiced with some relish by Stephen and William Baldwin).
Nods to Back to the Future and Tarantino are designed to tickle accompanying adults but 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 progeny; it nicely balances a message about allowing your kids to plough their own path with one about appreciating maternal sacrifice. If the animation is middle-of-the-road (the creatures fare better than the clumsily conceived humans), then Dino Time peddles an uncomplicated, enjoyable-enough brand of anarchy, rocketing from its high-powered skateboard opener to its 'Uh-oh' ending.
Selected release from Fri 22 May.