T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (DVD)
Did you ever want to get so close to a mama tyrannosaur that you could pat her scaly reptilian snout? Now you'll know what that's like, thanks to aspiring paleontologist Ally Hayden (Liz Stauber), the teenage heroine of the 1998 IMAX film T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous
. Ally's dino-expert father (Peter Horton) has just returned from his latest dig with a fossilized T. rex
egg, and when Ally accidentally cracks the egg in her dad's museum laboratory, a puff of mysterious smoke catapults her back to the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs-- especially T. rex
--ruled the Earth. With her imagination in full flight (along with an astonishingly realistic pterodactyl), Ally confirms the dinosaur theories of her own speculative research, and she also encounters pioneering dinosaur illustrator Charles Knight (Tuck Milligan) and legendary paleontologist Barnum Brown (Laurie Murdoch). Best of all, she comes face to face with a maternal tyrannosaur, earning its respect by protecting one of its incubating eggs.
T-Rex won't be as effective on DVD (where the IMAX 3-D effects are amusingly pointless), but it's guaranteed to please anyone who enjoyed the similarly astounding CGI effects of Walking with Dinosaurs. Stauber is a refreshingly normal teen star, and although much of the dialogue sounds like it was cribbed from a grade-school science text, its educational value is perfectly matched to the wonders of Ally's prehistoric adventure. Director Brett Leonard previously helmed the pioneering FX flick The Lawnmower Man, and here he demonstrates a warmer, more accessible sense of wonder for kids and parents alike. At 45 minutes, this IMAX dazzler never wears out its welcome. --Jeff Shannon