Children are the most brutally honest critics because they don’t refract their judgements through a prism of carefully worded tact and diplomacy.
In Yoon-suk Choi and John Kafka’s computer-animated fantasy, three youngsters from the present day turn back the clock 65 million years to the age of the dinosaurs and find themselves stuck in some decidedly stinky mud.
‘This is worse than extinction!’ despairs one of the time-travelling tykes.
It’s a somewhat harsh yet essentially fair assessment of Dino Time.
Released a month before the eagerly awaited box office behemoth, Jurassic World, this lumbering and crudely animated family-oriented adventure won’t induce an early case of dino fever.
Vocal performances are lacklustre and visuals are functional, lacking the exquisite detail of films from the Pixar and DreamWorks stables.
This is particularly noticeable in a centrepiece river rapids ride, during which the white water doesn’t churn, ripple or splash in a realistic fashion.
The film’s incredibly annoying and unsympathetic hero is a thrill-seeking boy called Ernie Fitzpatrick (voiced by Pamela Adlon), who routinely ignores the instructions of his hard-working mother Sue (Jane Lynch).
One day, when he should be guarding her shop, Ernie slaloms his jet-propelled skateboard down to the natural history museum with his best friend Max Santiago (Yuri Lowenthal) to sneak a peek at an unearthed skeleton of a ferocious Sarcosuchus.
Ernie’s equally irritating little sister, Julia (Tara Strong), catches him in the act, ensuring he is grounded for a very long time. Instead, Ernie sneaks out of the house with goodie two-shoes Julia in tow, and heads to the workshop of Max’s inventor father, Dr Santiago (Fred Tatasciore).
The three children squabble and spill a fizzy drink on the control panel of a time machine, which sparks to life and transports the meddlesome moppets into the nest of a Tyrannosaurus Rex mother called Tyra (Melanie Griffith).
Tyra mistakes the human interlopers for newborn infants and protects them alongside her adopted son Dodger (Rob Schneider).
Alas, Ernie continues to defy authority and the children consequently fall into the clutches of villainous dinosaur brothers, Sarco (William Baldwin) sand Surly (Stephen Baldwin), and their evil henchbirds, Morris (Nolan North), Horace (John DiMaggio) and Borace (Tom Kenny).
Dino Time lacks charm or heartfelt emotion, heaping on mawkish sentiment in the closing frames as the children learn that mother creatures great and small know best.