Something Else to Put on Ice

Movie title: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Along with the champagne, here’s a little something else to put on ice: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It should have been called “Dawn of the Mammals.” The mammals came after the dinos were well on their way out of the evolutionary timeline, not that it really matters in a film like this where the core audience is still infatuated with Fisher-Price building blocks and Toy Story stuffed animals.

The very repetitive and annoying sound affects are surpassed only by Ray Romano’s perpetually strained-sounding voice. Thankfully, he has rather few lines compared to certain other characters. Ray Romano is “Manny,” the mammoth. Ellie (Queen Latifah) is his mate. They await the birth of their baby.

John Leguizamo is “Sid” the sloth who stirs up some ruckus and manages to create the plot when he steals some dinosaur eggs and tries to start his own family. Kidnapped by an angry mother, he finds himself in need of a rescue. Diego (Denis Leary), the saber-toothed tiger is in a reflective period of his life, but he’s part of the action.

Buck the weasel (Simon Pegg) is an adventurer. Like him or not, the gang will need Buck’s help in battling through mantrap plant/gigantic dinosaur territory to get back their foolish friend. And then, there’s Scratte (Karen Disher). Yes, he’s still after that illusive nut!

Forget that mammoths and smiledons didn’t live when T-rex walked the earth (actually, the gang had to traipse into a hidden world to get to where the dinos were). Remember that unlike high quality animated films (Wall-e, Kung Fu Panda, Bolt), this one makes no attempt to charm. It’s a cheap laugh for those who put Pokémon underwear on their Amazon wish lists.

You might find it funny. Depends on your sense of humor. To get an idea, it goes a little something like this…

Buck: “Listen to the wind. It’s speaking to us.”
Manny: “What’s it saying?”
Buck: “I don’t know. I don’t speak wind.”

Manny: “Why do they call it the chasm of death?”
Buck: “Well, we tried ‘big, smelly crack,’ but that just made everybody giggle.”

Manny: “Liar, liar, fur on fire.”

Buck: (seeing a butterfly) “I knew that guy when he was a caterpillar.”

Ice Age 3 is a child’s comedy that is not afraid to be gross, suggestive, or scary. If I were a parent, I might take issue with seeing a furry cartoon creature hanging on a visible uvula that so closely resembles a purple scrotum, but maybe I’m just too far from five-years-old to not see it.

Injury, death, and peril are shown, but without the seriousness that would make it unbearable. What is just about unbearable is the appeal to childish humor. You could say that the whole film is like your nutty eccentric uncle who knoweth not when to shut up.

It produces the unnerving feeling of listening to the juvenile ramblings of grade schoolers who prefer to make noises and experiment with helium. You get to enjoy the charm of tar hair removal scenes and makeshift elevators made from stegosaurus rib cages. It’s none of sophisticated and all of simplistic, but that’s what young audiences are for, right?

(JH)

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Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG
Summation: When Sid's attempt to adopt three dinosaur eggs gets him abducted by their real mother to an underground world, his friends attempt to rescue him.
Directors: Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier
Starring: Karen Disher “Scratte” (voice), Maile Flanagan “Aardvark Mom” (voice), Kelly Keaton “Molehog Mom / Shovelmouth Mom” (voice), Queen Latifah “Ellie” (voice), Denis Leary “Diego” (voice), John Leguizamo “Sid” (voice), Simon Pegg “Buck” (voice), Ray Romano “Manny” (voice)
Genre: Animation / Comedy / Adventure

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