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In general, most Imax films do not have narratives in the same sense as other movies. Imax films are designed as pure audio-visual entertainment and are usually documentaries or, for lack of a better word, travelogues of impressive places that most people don't get to visit. T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS ($20) offers something a little different, an actual story with characters. However, unlike a traditional movie, the narrative offered in T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS is little more than a springboard that brings the film to its CGI dinosaur sequences, which were originally intended to be seen in 3-D.

There is a certain juvenile quality to the story, which seems to indicate that T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS was intended for a younger audience that wouldn't question the absence of logic from the narrative. The plot involves a teenage girl whose father is a paleontologist who discovers a dinosaur egg on his latest dig. While visiting her father at the museum, she accidentally drops the fossilized dinosaur egg and fumes escape from the egg causing her to hallucinate that she is back in the cretaceous period where she encounters an obviously CGI T-Rex, as well as other long extinct (computer generated) creatures. Kids should enjoy the film, although I think the premise of seeing someone inhaling something then starting to hallucinate sends a mixed signal to the movie’s intended audience. The cast of T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS includes Peter Horton and Liz Stauber.

Warner Home Video has done a very nice job of transcribing T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS to DVD. As with other Imax films appearing on video, T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS is presented in 4:3 full screen. The image on the DVD is clean, bright and offers a good level of detail. Visually, T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS is not as impressive as other Imax movies, but this may have to do with the film being photographed for 3-D, as well as its use of CGI dinosaurs. Colors are strongly rendered, with very good saturation and believable flesh tones. Black seem fine, although the shadow detail seems a bit weak, when compared to other Imax films, but this too may be a result of 3-D and CGI being added to the mix. There are no problems with digital compression artifacts on this 44-minute program.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is aggressively mixed and generally excellent. Clean channel separation exists in both the forward and rear soundstages, plus sound effects pan convincingly between channels- left and right, as well as front to back. Dialogue reproduction is very clean and fully intelligible throughout the presentation. As with other Imax films, dialogue is not always contained solely in the center channel. The bass channel is pretty solid, offering the necessary punch to the film. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Dinosaur sounds play under the basic interactive menus, which provide access to the standard set up features. A few extras are also accessible through the menu system. T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS includes a five-minute making-of featurette, as well as a theatrical trailer and an Imax DVD trailer.

T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS may not appeal to the same audience that usually picks up Imax movies on DVD. Still, it might be worth checking out for the kids, as long as you watch it with them and tell them to "just say no" to dinosaur eggs.


T-Rex - Back to the Cretaceous (IMAX)


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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