T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (1998) (NTSC)

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Released 15-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category IMAX Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette
Trailer-IMAX Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 45:28 (Case: 44)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Brett Leonard
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Peter Horton
Liz Stauber
Kari Coleman
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music William Ross


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.44:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous is an IMAX film featuring a girl who imagines travelling back in time after inhaling some mind-altering smoke from a dinosaur egg.

    Ally Hayden (Liz Stauber) is the daughter of a famous palaeontologist who discovers what is thought to be a dinosaur egg during a dig in Alberta Canada. When he returns to the museum with his find, Ally accidentally drops the egg and releases a cloud of smoke. After inhaling some of this smoke, she travels back in time and is able to see the dinosaurs first-hand.

    This IMAX feature was originally shot and presented in 3-D and unfortunately this is quite obvious when watching this disc. Many shots have obviously been included only to display the 3-D effects and they add nothing to the story itself. It is because of the high number of these superfluous shots that the story presented is so shallow.

    One slightly annoying issue with the feature is the omission of chapter markers, making moving within the program frustrating.

    With most IMAX features, the viewer is presented with impressive sweeping vistas and stunning imagery but these are missing from this feature. Undoubtedly, this feature would be impressive in 3-D on a massive screen but when seen as a regular image at home the experience does not satisfy the viewer.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The NTSC transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The feature is consistently sharp throughout except for a short two second shot at 37:15 that is significantly softer. No low level noise was detected during the transfer. Excellent levels of shadow detail are visible during the numerous low-lit scenes.

    The colours displayed in this transfer appear natural and accurately reproduced throughout.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected during this transfer.

    Aliasing poses a significant problem for this transfer. Numerous instances may be seen throughout the transfer and this is moderately distracting. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 2:36, 4:57, 5:44, 7:13, 10:49 and 13:02.

    A surprisingly large number of film artefacts may be seen during this transfer, such as at 1:04, 1:24, 5:54, 8:85 and 37:15. The majority of these artefacts are quite minimal but their presence is slightly distracting.

    English, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles are provided for the feature. I viewed the English titles and found them to be consistently accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Three Dolby Digital 384 kbps 5.1 audio tracks are provided on this disc. The default track is an English mix but French and Spanish language tracks are also available. I listened to the English track and briefly sampled the two other tracks.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected during this transfer.

    The score by William Ross is effective but never draws attention to itself.

    The surround channels are used aggressively throughout the transfer. The mix is very effective and envelops the viewer while providing excellent positioning.

    The subwoofer is used throughout the transfer to support the effects.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The non-animated menu is 16x9 enhanced and has also been encoded with 4x3 pan and scan information. The result of this information is that both 16x9 viewers and 4x3 viewers, including letterbox, are presented with a full screen menu.

Theatrical Trailer (1:52)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround mix. Obvious aliasing may be seen during the trailer and significant dot crawl may be seen on the final logo.

IMAX Trailer (1:05)

    This trailer showing clips from other IMAX films is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix.

Making Of Documentary (4:50)

    This featurette is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround mix. The short documentary is the standard promotional item with short actor interviews and provides little real information. The video quality is very poor at many points during the transfer, making it appear as if it was sourced from a low quality tape source.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both versions of this film appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous would have been an entertaining feature when seen in 3-D on a large IMAX screen, but when seen on DVD at home it is a definite let down.

    The numerous aliasing and film artefacts distract the viewer during this transfer.

    A highly enjoyable and effective 5.1 surround mix is included on this disc.

    The small collection of extras provide no real information and hold little interest for the viewer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, September 06, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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