At the least, director Tim Cox knows this is an awful idea. Mammoth strives for campy from the opening moments, milking the comedic style all the way through. With only a little time spent on the reasons for a frozen wooly mammoth to actually come alive, there should have been plenty of screen time left for entertainment. That’s not how this ended up.
While the superbly done opening credits and goofy soundtrack set the scene properly, things fall apart from there. Most of the humor fails miserably, including the cheesy sound effects that are funny for less than two minutes. Vincent Ventresca leads the cast, and is the film’s saving grace. His Bruce Campbell-ish delivery and wit provide the only real entertainment.
Tom Skerritt hammers out a role with mild enthusiasm, gaining a few minor laughs. The script references some classic B-roll sci-fi only because that’s the in thing to do in low budget films like this. As much as it tries to be one of those ’50s classics, it lacks the charm and lives off the bland clichés those movies carried with them, very few of which are true.
The mammoth itself is entirely made up of CG shots, and a slight step up from typical Sci-Fi Channel fare. The alien invasion gimmick used to resurrect the beast means this doesn’t involve any sort of government DNA testing. It also means the look, complete with flesh decomposed to the bone, gives the critter an ugly texture that clashes with the light-hearted tone of the movie.
For most of this one though, you’re not looking at the title beast. It’s absent for the majority of the running time, one of those low budget compromises that’s unavoidable. The filler in-between rampaging monster sequences is the key to enjoyment, and that’s something Mammoth tries desperately to do without any success.
While it’s admirable to pay homage to sci-fi classics from the golden age in the ’50s, it’s important to study what makes them classics. Cheap sound effects when someone removes their sunglasses, a cheesy sheriff, and alien invaders doesn’t equal a parody or tip o’ the hat. It also doesn’t mean it’s entertaining, and that’s Mammoth’s biggest flaw.