Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third installation in the Ice Age animated saga. The first movie hit home with some great characters and a story that both adults and kids could watch. Then Ice Age: Meltdown gave everyone a second lick with a more varied assortment of characters with a more threatening journey for the ragtag herd of prehistoric animals. Now the bumbling team of lovable creatures finds themselves in The Land Before Time, or more conveniently an underground world of dinosaurs - weren’t these guys meant to be extinct? No matter, Ice Age lets this important information slip past the thought stream as the prehistoric family including the voice talents of: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah ooze on back in time through a gaseous cave. Okay, let’s take a step back. We’re watching a bunch of talking prehistoric animals, who are more than likely the species Noah left out on purpose, cross the skeleton of what looks like a Brontosaurus, while getting high on poisonous helium? They can’t be serious… but that’s where you need to pin Ice Age 3 on the donkey.
Speaking of donkeys, our wonderfully zany friends, Sloth (Leguizamo) and Manny, the wooly mammoth (Romano) have a remarkably similar relationship to Donkey and Shrek. The proportions, the characters and even their relationships… mimic those of Shrek and Donkey - make your own comparisons. Additionally, Simon Pegg provides the voice for Buck, a gnarled, weather-beaten jungle hero - who is a combination of Captain Jack Sparrow and Puss-in-Boots. The movie ropes in a few Dreamworks conventions here and there, while maintaining its own aloof world and rules. However, this doesn’t stop Ice Age 3 from being entertaining… especially for the tiny tots. The 3D animation raises the film up a notch, but it’s not too bad without the gimmicky 3D effects either. The animation studio have the effects waxed and the animation is brilliant as usual. The movie assumes you’ve watched the first and second movies, wasting no time in setting the scene for the next adventure. Now opening the playing field to dinosaurs is always going to be interesting, and Ice Age 3 dumbs them down so that mammoths can speak, but dinosaurs can’t. This way, you know whose side you’re on… and they resist from adding on too many new characters for the next sequel… I know.
Scrat gets Scratte, a competitive vixen, who fights him for his prized acorn. The two have a love-hate relationship similar to that French skunk cartoon. Then there’s the crazy and brave character, Buck - who provides most of the comedy. The new additions are welcome, but you can’t help but feel you’ve seen it all before. The new journey is just a traced outline of their previous two adventures with most of the same characters, the same mixture of comedy and mild peril - except with dinosaurs. The same formula won’t vex the kids at all… but the third part’s novelty has worn thin and as an adult - most movie goers will be reaching for more meat on that bone - if you know what I mean. It’s kind of like getting a new skin with a few more features on your media player. You know it’s still going to perform the same and there may be one or two extra goodies, but it’s still not changing the fact that it’s a media player. If you were entertained by the first two installations, then you’ll relish the chance to see Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 3D. If you were hoping for something fresher with a little more novelty, then you may be slightly disappointed. Either way… if you want one or two chuckles, a few ooo’s and ahhh’s and some exciting animated action sequences, you can’t go wrong with Ice Age 3 - a great family movie.
The bottom line: Entertaining.