Despite being made for the Sci Fi Channel, "Mammoth" is a better movie than you might think. Its plot is absolutely nothing special "? in fact, it's ludicrous "? with a frozen woolly mammoth being thawed and freed from his ice cage when a meteor takes out his museum home. What keeps the film from being utter trash is that it knows its plot is nothing special and ludicrous.

So instead, it makes fun of itself. At once a tribute and a thumbed-nose to the giant-creatures-run-amok cinema of the Cold War era, "Mammoth" plays its madness to the hilt, with a wink to the audience. You know all those purposely hokey movies within the movie of Joe Dante's "Matinee"? It's a little like that.

Museum scientist nerd Vincent Ventresca (TV's "The Invisible Man") chooses to imbue his caricatured character with a Jim Carrey-lite demeanor that displays a gift for physical comedy without going totally over-the-top. Providing a nice, subdued balance is Summer Glau (TV's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") as his attention-starved daughter.

The titular prehistoric elephant is low-budget CGI, of course, but he's hardly even the star of his own show. The inherent, knowing goofiness steals every scene.

 "?Rod Lott

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