HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Back to the Jurassic
HTS Overall Score:57
Alchemy is an interesting label. Working with a lot of indie productions, or foreign productions that don’t make it big in the United States, they tend to range in quality from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some, like “Stonehearst Asylum” are great little gems, and some are just plain awful, making it pointedly obvious WHY said movie wasn’t exactly a blockbuster. “Back to the Jurassic” was actually a 2012 South Korean film that got shelved for a number of years and then came out LITERALLY the same week as “Jurassic World” premieres in theaters. Coincidence? I think not. Even the tag line on the movie is DIRECTLY from the original “Jurassic Park”, making me believe that it is a definite effort to tie into the multimillion dollar Spielberg production. Stuck squarely in the middle between top tier, and bottom tier, “Back to the Jurassic” just “is”, if you know what I mean. It’s not a horrible movie, and it most certainly is aiming at that sub 10 year old demographic, but even as children’s films go it just isn’t a great movie either.
The story focuses on Ernie (Pamela Adlon, best known for voicing Bobby on “King of the Hill), a rambunctious young boy whose antics tend to get him in trouble more often than not with his mother (Jane Lynch). Mommy dearest is a bit of a control freak though, and prides herself on her rules and regulations (sometimes in a bit too overbearing of a way). Romping around town with his best friend, Max (Yuri Lowenthal), Ernie goes one step too far and ruins the giant dinosaur display at the local museum (thanks to his sister Jules, voiced by Tara Strong). Even though he’s grounded for 3 weeks, Ernie ditches his room to go hang out with Max against the strict command of his mother. Seeing him sneak out, Jules tags along and the three young kids end up getting sucked back in time after fooling around (yet again) with Max’s dad, Diego’s, newly created time machine.
Back a few million or so years in the past, the trio finds themselves in the land of the dinosaurs, and strangely enough adopted by a T-Rex momma who just wants children of her own (it seems that the time machine looks like an egg, and when they went back in time the machine actually REPLACED the T-Rex egg that momma Dino is guarding). Ernie is ecstatic beyond belief, as this is a dream come true for him. Jules and Max, on the other hand, are a bit less enthused and just want to get back to their nice safe time period. Stashing a key component of the time machine so that they can’t go back, Ernie manipulates the other two into having to stay and check out the lay of the land.
While Ernie, Jules and Max are exploring the world millions of years ago, Mommy dearest and Diego are desperately trying to get their children back. Using mama’s over active sense of efficiency and rules plus Diego’s slap dash scientific brilliance, the pair re-creates the time machine that sent their children back to the past. Only problem is, it doesn’t seem to work, something that only the kids know how to do as the activation of the time machine was actually a fluke figured out by the youngsters. Now the children have to figure out a way to get back to the present, and the adults have to realize that their children are smarter than they think they are in order to meet in the middle.
“Back to the Jurassic” is a movie that just exists. It isn’t great, but isn’t that bad either. Aimed directly at single digit aged kids the animation and the story remain very childish and simple. The animation is obviously done on the cheap and the story is kept to the very basics. Most of it is centered on each of the 5 main characters learning something. Momma realizes that she can’t control everything, while Ernie has to realize that he has to think of others for a change. Max gains some self-confidence, something he is sorely lacking in at the beginning of the film, and Jules comes to grips with the fact that her pain in the neck nature is causing more problems than it solves.
There’s a surprising number of fairly well known people populating the film. Besides the 3 kids, we have Jane Lynch as the mom, William and Stephen Baldwin as the villain dinosaurs, Melanie Griffith as Mommy T-Rex, Rob Schneider as the little sidekick and despite the recycled lessons that every kids story revolves around, they all put in a pretty fun performance. I can’t give the movie high marks as I really am not the target demographic. Disney and Dreamworks are certainly kids movies, but the creators make huge allowances for adult audiences for their films, while “Back to the Jurassic” aims very specifically at the younger audience without a care for us adults. It’s certainly not going to be a movie I pop in when I want to watch an animated film, but my young nieces and nephews seemed to have a good time and were giggling at the main characters antics throughout, so I can’t complain.
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=46786[/img]In the same 1.85:1 aspect ratio as the Blu-ray counterpart, the MPEG2 encoded image is about on par with the Blu-ray in terms of ratio of good to bad for a DVD. For a 480p image it looks rather pleasing. Strong primary colors and there really is some decent detail, as much as can be allowed from the simplistic character designs, and the basic primary colors come through nicely. I noticed a few times where the colors seemed to be a bit desaturated, mainly in Diego’s garage, but overall the image looks nice. There’s some slight softness and a little bit of aliasing, but overall the image is quite pleasing, with decent blacks and solidly drawn lines. No jaggies or artifacting was present, as the 82 minute film doesn’t take up a lot of space.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=46794[/img]The 384 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 track takes a slight hit with the lower bitrate. Voices sound a bit more constrained and the LFE is reduced a bit. The same amount of ambient noise and focus on the pop rock score make the surrounds a decent experience, but overall the DVD audio is slightly less quality than the 640 kbps Dolby Digital track found on the Blu-ray. It does the job satisfactorily, but not much more than that.
“Back to the Jurassic” is a family oriented flick that really thrives on being one of those little kids movies that allow parents to use the TV as a babysitter and not be worried about their young ones seeing something offensive or having to screen another animated movie that has enough adult humor that they deem offensive. The simple animation and simple storyline is pretty enough eye candy for the young ones and the inclusion of 3D makes it a bit sweeter if you have the setup. Definitely recommended to the 10 and under crowd.
Starring: Pamela Adlon, Jane Lynch, Tara Strong
Directed by: Yoon S. Choi
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 kbps), English DD 2.0 (192 kbps)
Runtime: 82 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 9th 2015
Buy Back to the Jurassic On DVD At Amazon
Recommendation: For the Young Ones
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