ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAUR
Scrat (voice of Chris Wedge) is still trying to nab the ever-elusive nut (while, maybe, finding true love); Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (voice of Queen Latifah) await the birth of their mini-mammoth, Sid (voice of John Leguizamo) the sloth gets into trouble when he creates his own makeshift family by hijacking some dinosaur eggs; and Diego (voice of Denis Leary) the saber-toothed tiger wonders if he's growing too 'soft' hanging with his pals. On a mission to rescue the hapless Sid, the gang ventures into a mysterious underground world, where they have some close encounters with dinosaurs, battle flora and fauna run amuck - and meet a relentless, one-eyed, dino-hunting weasel named Buck (voice of Simon Pegg).
Review by Louise Keller:
Targeted at the kiddie crowd, this third film in the popular animated franchise brings more visual cuteness, action and frivolity centred around the importance of friends and family. This time, the storyline takes the central characters from their wintry, ice-packed habitat to a cavernous underground world with where dinosaurs roam and danger lurks behind every corner. The film has an appealing energy and is abundantly cute, although its target market may become restless and some of the sequences feel repetitive. For me, if you've seen one Ice Age you've seen them all - but if you're 5 or 8 and this is your first, you'll chill and have fun.
The goofy sloth Sid (wonderfully voiced by John Leguizamo) is the star this time. This buck-toothed, purple nosed clown with bulbous wide-set eyes is lovable alright, and possesses not a single bad bone in his flexible body. Parenthood is the hot topic with Ellie (voice of Queen Latifah), the heavily lashed, pregnant mammoth expecting her first baby at any moment. She is trying to keep over-anxious, expectant father Manny (voice of Ray Romano) calm. So there is a shift in the herd's priorities, prompting Sid to warmly embrace the prospect of his own 'family', when he happens upon some dinosaur eggs. He names them Eggbert, Shelley and Yoko (I love it!), draws his own self portrait on each and juggles the giant eggs down the slippery slopes of a snowy precipice and 'eggsicles'. Needless to say, there's fun and games when the eggs hatch and the dinosaur mother thumps into view in search of her brood.
There's a sub plot about Diego the sable-tooth tiger (voice of Denis Leary), who feels he needs to leave the herd in order to prove himself (the communication between Manny and Diego highlights the reasons why 'guys don't talk to guys'), and the ongoing flurry and scurry of squirrels as Scrat (voice of Chris Wedge) whose pursuit of the elusive acorn is as fervent as his quest to win the eye-fluttering squirrel with the fluffy tail of his dreams. Their dialogue-free scenes are punctuated by music and all things heart shaped. Simon Pegg's vine-swinging weasel with the leafy eye-patch is comical and lively as he guides the group through the underground prehistoric jungle home of the hungry dinosaurs, where they traverse the Chasm of Death, the Plates of Woe and the treacherous Lava Falls.
The film is a surefire hit with the kids, even if they are not able to sit still all the way through it. It looks great and the 3D version will undoubtedly have additional appeal.
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ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAUR (PG)
VOICES: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg, Queen Latifah, Sean William Scott, Josh Peck, Chris Wedge
PRODUCER: Lori Forte, John C. Donkin
DIRECTOR: Carlos Saldanha (Mike Thurmeier, co-director)
SCRIPT: Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Mike Reiss, Yoni Brenner (story by Jason Carter Eaton)
EDITOR: Harry Hitner
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mike Knapp
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 1, 2009