Dinosaurs Alive!

Narrated by Michael Douglas. Rated G. Now playing at the Omnimax Theatre

It sometimes seems that if there hadn't been dinosaurs, there wouldn't be IMAX movies. Small wonder: the prehistoric giants suit the brachiosaur-size screen. So the burning question asked by every eight-year-old is: What makes Dinosaurs Alive! any different from, say, T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous or Dinosaurs 3-D ?

The good news is that for those well acquainted with the tyrannosaur, triceratops, and other celebs of the Cretaceous world, Dinosaurs Alive! introduces some of the new species being discovered in the Gobi Desert and New Mexico's Ghost Ranch badlands. Prepare to meet the 36-metre-long seismosaur or the small but nasty predator Coelophysis . More importantly, the film alternates goodies for parents with those for the kids, offering scenic footage of modern and historical fossil digs (including the 1920s Mongolian expeditions of Indiana Jones ­ type Roy Chapman Andrews) with giant, computer-generated animation of those fossils brought back to life.

Stylistically, though, the latest dino flick doesn't quite warrant its exclamation mark. And despite his reptilian qualities, Michael Douglas isn't the most engaging narrator for a creature feature. The film also struggles to collate some far-flung facts. The key setup is that new dinosaur species are emerging because paleontologists are trekking beyond North America to the far reaches of the world; the next thing you know, you're in”¦ New Mexico.

Dinosaurs Alive! may sell itself with the larger-than-life CGI beasties, yet it's ultimately more about the humble paleontologist and the way a new generation is adding to or altering old discoveries. But, really, are those eight-year-olds going to quibble when they can see a five-storey-high tarbosaur duke it out with a club-tailed Tarchia ?

Link: Dinosaurs Alive! official site