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Review: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
4 10

PLOT: It is a happy time for Manny and Ellie. The two woolly mammoths are expecting their first child. All of their friends are excited, but at the same time, their buddies feel as though they are going to be abandoned by the happy family. When their little sloth friend Sid decides to take in three dinosaur eggs to fulfill his mommy instincts, he finds that the gigantic mother isn’t too pleased with this. After she finds Sid, she takes him along with her three babies to her world. And yes, dinosaurs are still alive and growling in this prehistoric place beneath the ice. When Manny, Ellie and all their friends go after Sid, they have themselves a grand adventure and all is well in the world… IF they survive.

REVIEW: Now that is cute. The little ICE AGE squirrel is trying to get at a big ole’ tasty acorn, only to have a hottie squirrel keep taking it from him. This is really funny, and the choice of music to go along with it is wonderfully inspired. You can’t beat, Lou Rawls crooning “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” while the two furry animated animals battle each other for the prize. But this clever beginning is one of the very few entertaining moments in ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINASAURS, much of the rest is contrived and painfully unfunny. Okay, maybe if I were six and had a nap and wasn’t hungry it would have made for an entertaining ninety minutes or so, but I’m not. And frankly, most of the children at the special Father’s Day screening I went to weren’t terribly excited either. Sure they were entertained, but I didn’t get the genuine love that you sometimes get while watching a flick with children.

I guess it isn’t all that easy to really make a great sequel, especially to an animated film like ICE AGE. But the kind of voice talent behind this surprised me, especially when you have folks like Simon Pegg, Seann William Scott, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig voicing some of the characters. Hell, even Ray Romano, Queen Latifah and John Leguizamo are able to inject life occasionally, but this is such a paint by numbers bit of animation that it never really takes off. Even the funny squirrel bit is overused and finally becomes an annoyance more than anything else. You have the usual gas jokes, ugly jokes, dumb animal jokes, and it is all wrapped in a nice little message about accepting others as family… I guess. When movies beat you over the head with a message, it can be tiresome and painful, but so is this shallow “message” that felt like more of an afterthought.

As far as animation is concerned, it seems as though the studios offer up a lot of fluff to the young viewers and their parents. Which really isn’t all that different from much of what they release to older audiences. While I’ve never really loved the animation behind the Ice Age series, it certainly didn’t bother me, it was the slow pace and the lame jokes that did the trick. The story revolves around Ellie and Manny (Queen Latifah and Ray Romano), two woolly mammoths who are about to have a baby. Manny has worked hard to prepare for the newborn and seems more nervous than the mother. He even builds a little park for his child, a safe place where the baby can play. And with all this excitement, the relationships of the other animals are tested and they are beginning to feel left out. So Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) is feeling a bit sad and lonely, he of course is going to find some trouble to get into. And the trouble is in the form of three dinosaur eggs he sort of falls into. He adopts them as his own, never mind their real mother might be a tad annoyed at this... she also happens to be a T-Rex.

This soon turns into an adventure of a lifetime as the dinosaur ends up taking Sid, along with her three babies to this entirely new world under the ice. Of course, the gang must save their friend, and they end up getting the help of another furry fellow, Buck, played by Simon Pegg. It seemed as though the story placed a little too much build up on what was going on. We already know that there will be trouble and dinosaurs will be romping and stomping around, so why does it take so long to get there. I did enjoy the “new world” that the gang discovers and some of the exciting elements that occurred. One sequence where they were using dinosaur bones as a means of travel was especially funny. They were all breathing in toxic fumes, but it had the effect of helium on ones voice. Yeah… I laughed a bit. And once we reach the final sequence, the adventure kicked in to high gear and picked up the excitement level a bit. But certainly not enough to earn a full-fledged recommendation.

Basically, if you have kids you will probably end up seeing ICE AGE 3 thanks to the clever marketing. I guess you could do worse, but you could certainly do a lot better. And as for the 3D, I enjoyed it as much as I have the previous releases this year. When Sid tries to protect the three eggs while sliding down upon the ice, it looks very impressive and dare I say, fun. Yet while UP or CORALINE didn’t necessarily need the 3D to make it work, it most certainly helps ICE AGE 3.

RATING: 4/10 -- JimmyO





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