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We hunted it into extinction... Now it's hunting us.
on 3 April 2013
In a small town called Blackwater in Louisiana, the prized asset at the natural history museum is a huge woolly mammoth. When the curator, Frank Abernathy, drills into the ice to collect a sample, a strange blue object falls from the ice and sends a signal to space. A little while later, what appears to be a meteorite crashes into the museum where an alien lifeform is released and enters the mammoth. The mammoth comes to life and kills the security guard, and when Frank returns, the mammoth has gone. Frank who is a widower lives with his young daughter, Jack, and his dad, Simon. He's just missed Jack's birthday as he was busy working at the museum, so when Frank gets home, Jack's understandably annoyed. Jack later sneaks out of the house to go to a party with her boyfriend, so Frank decides to go and find her. Just as he's about to leave the house, two government agents knock on the door to question him about what went on at the museum. Frank explains that he'll only answer their questions if they help him find his daughter, to which the agents reluctantly agree. The mammoth attacks the party as Frank and the agents arrive, they survive the attack and agree to help the agents track down and capture the beast, before the government detonate a nuclear bomb to destroy the mammoth, and the town.
Vincent Ventresca puts in a very likeable performance as Dr Frank Abernathy, he was a good lead and I enjoyed his acting, he's given most of the funniest lines. Summer Glau is good as Frank's daughter, Jack. Glau should be best known for playing River Tam in Firefly and Serenity, she also played Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It was nice seeing her play a normal teenager, as most of her characters tend to be mentally disturbed or emotionless. Tom Skerritt is probably the most famous name in the film, and unlike some of these low budget films where their name is on the cover but they only appear for a minute or two, Skerritt is in the movie regularly throughout. He plays Simon Abernathy and definitely lends the film a bit of star quality, he's probably best known for playing Dallas in Alien. Leila Arcieri, Charles Carroll and Cole Williams offer decent support. Mammoth is directed by Tim Cox, this was his third made for TV movie in three years. He first directed the Alien and Predator rip-off, Predatorman aka Alien Lockdown, it wasn't very good. He then made Morphman aka Larva which also starred Vincent Ventresca and was a much better. Mammoth soon followed and I thought it was a step up again.
There's quite a lot I liked about Mammoth. The acting was very good for the type of film it was, the story is fun, it incorporates quite a few classic B-movie elements like aliens, government agents, scientists, corny dialogue, hit and miss effects and a race against time to stop a nuclear bomb from destroying them all. The action is pretty good and most of the humour works, and at 87 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome. Despite essentially being a B-movie, the actors actually play it straight, which is what makes it quite funny. Mammoth knows exactly what it is but is still mostly quite serious, with just the occasional knowing wink to remind you how silly it actually is. According to Wikipedia, the film was nominated for a 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. While several of the effects in the film were really well done, the actual Mammoth itself isn't exactly up to the standard that Jurassic Park set, but it looked much better than what we often see on the sci-fi channel.
The DVD picture quality was very good, it's a pretty dark film at times but it always looks nice. There's a trailer, a seven minute feature with interviews from the cast and a three minute feature about the effects. There's English subtitles available.