The BBC’s groundbreaking 1999 CGI wildlife series about the prehistoric era, which spawned global TV sales and a massive marketing industry, now reaches the big screen – with significantly reduced educational fibre and a story template familiar from all every other kiddie cartoon. After a perfunctory modern-day framing device presents an apathetic teenager with a dino tooth, we skip back to the Late Cretaceous era for the adventures of a young pachyrhinosaurus (think giant rhino with frills), who navigates treacherous migration routes, falls in love and battles the vicious gorgonosaurus.
Occasional info-captions remind us of the project’s public-service roots, but the well-worn rite-of-passage narrative and the voicing of the creatures’ thoughts in relentlessly perky American-accented anachronism-packed dialogue feel more ‘Ice Age’. Adults will find it all very predictable. But this is clearly targeted at younger children, who’ll revel in the immersive combination of live-action backgrounds with adeptly deployed 3D effects and lesser-known yet intriguing dino species.