Movie Review
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Ice Age 3 poster
By Craig Younkin     Published June 29, 2009
US Release: July 1, 2009

Directed by: Carlos Brooks
Starring: John Leguizamo , Queen Latifah , Denis Leary , Ray Romano


Domestic Box Office: $196,442,957
Much like the third Shrek, this is forgettable and hollow, fine for kids but sure to have older fans checking their watches.
A meltdown couldn’t stop the “Ice Age” crew the last time so now the filmmakers are upping the ante with dinosaurs. Does it make sense? No. If this third film in the series does as well as the first two, will Manny, Sid, and Diego next contend with aliens? I wouldn’t put it past them. Heck, the only thing that’s really supposed to make sense here is that these movies are trying to capitalize on a hit franchise. (“Dawn of the Dinosaurs” even more so as it rolls into theaters in not just 2-D but 3-D as well.) Just much like the third “Shrek," this is a forgettable and hollow installment, fine for kids but sure to have older fans of the series checking their watches.

The characters are all back. Manny Mammoth (Ray Romano) anxiously awaits the birth of his first child with Ellie (Queen Latifah). Diego the saber-tooth tiger (Denis Leary) sees his skills as a hunter being diminished and ponders leaving the herd. And Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) feels like the odd man out and wishes for a family of his own. When he finds dinosaur eggs, Sid is determined to raise them as his own, not thinking that mama dinosaur is close by. She tracks Sid down and takes her eggs and him back to her underground valley habitat where dinosaurs and other animals live. One of them is a one-eyed, dinosaur-hunting weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg), who helps Manny, Diego, Ellie, and Ellie’s possum brothers (Sean William Scott, Josh Peck) when they go looking for Sid.

Scrat the squirrel stars too, still trying to obtain that acorn. Usually his slapstick segments are some of the best parts of the film but even he is little more than lightly amusing. Scratte, a female squirrel, hinders his efforts this time and also serves as romantic counterpart but since neither talk and both seem to like the acorn more than each other, who cares. The same goes for the rest of the movie. The physical comedy gags are too far between and all that’s left is a lot of outlandish personalities, most of which are more annoying than funny.

Plotting is limited, stretching the importance of family while at the same time doing nothing of any interest. Splitting the team up takes away from the fun, too many secondary characters only serve as a distraction, and the perils, which include plants, a large dino named Rudy, and floating lava will thrill the kids but be too dull for parents. This puts a damper on the 3-D animation as well, which has some nice snow and forest-filled landscapes but nothing that, figuratively, jumps off the screen about the characters or action.

The vocal actors are still matched up well, just they get very few actual funny things to say. Leguizamo’s slurring, goofy performance as Sid is the most fun. Romano is well matched with the cautious, nasally Manny, as is Leary to the vicious Diego. And Latifah is sassy as Ellie. Simon Pegg gives the movie some life as Buck, a nutty safari-hunter who loves the thrill of the chase.

But we’re a long way from the visual feast and energetic fun of “Up”. I’m sure the kids won’t seem to mind though. “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” exists for them. It’s just too bad parents are forced to shell out big bucks for something that would have been just as good for cheap had it gone directly to DVD.
Craig's Grade: C
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
Share, Bookmark