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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Directed by:

Carlos Saldanha

Mike Thurmeier

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: U

There are people—actual critics—out there complaining that the downfall of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is that it’s unrealistic because there are dinosaurs in it, and that there shouldn’t be dinos in this particular era. Because talking wooly mammoth and Denis Leary-sounding saber-toothed tigers were, in fact, populating the real Ice Age. Believe me, realism is not the issue with this new piece of the Ice Age franchise. The story seems a little tired, and the jokes are a little too far between, but nobody’s going to an animated flick about a couple of wooly mammoths having a baby and looking for a documentary.

This time around, Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are having a baby, and all the gang’s a’twitter. Some of them are feeling a little left out, though—Diego (Leary) has decided that it’s time for him to move on and let Manny start his family, and Sid (John Leguizamo) decides just the opposite, namely that he, too, should start a family. Problems arise, though, when Diego leaves, and then Sid, in a misguided attempt at creating a family, chooses to raise some dinosaur eggs he “finds,” thinking they’ve been abandoned. Unfortunately, they haven’t been left by their mother, who upon return takes back her children—Sid included—to her distant and dangerous home. From there, it’s up to Manny and the gang, along with an adventure-loving, one-eyed weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg), to bring back their friend AND make sure a very pregnant Ellie is able to bring the newest member of the “family” safely into the world.

This foray into the Ice Age is a sweet, harmless bit of movie that kids should like and parents will find somewhat amusing. The addition of adventure-weasel Buck adds some actual laughs, and the animation itself is beautiful work. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the film, but having seen movies like Up and Coraline in the last few months, there are recent memories of animated films that transcended their genre and brought something unique and new to what could be considered family fare. This doesn’t really do anything memorable with a story that gets a little stale, and there are some stretches of time where laughs are few and action is slow. Romano and Leary are ideal voice actors, though, and hearing either of their voices coming out of an animal is always amusing. And honestly, if you’re going for the kids, they’ll be entertained. It may be time, though, to end this franchise at a trilogy and move in to a new age.


Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Up


A cute movie with some laughs that the kids will like, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs lacks in originality compared to its recent animated peers.

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