ICE AGE – DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (2009)
Starring Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott and Chris Wedge.
Screenplay by Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Mike Reiss and Yoni Brenner.
Directed by Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 87 minutes. Rated PG.
I have never seen the first two Ice Age films, yet I have heard that they were clever and well made. Sadly, watching the third Ice Age film, I get the feeling that they are just running out the clock. The film seems to be made on automatic pilot – the occasional flashes of inspiration basically stamped out by all of the safe computer-animated moves.
It’s hard to think of an art form that has been around less than 20 years having hoary old clichés, but if you can put together a list of modern animation touchstones, most of them rear their heads here.
Looking for talking animals with human problems? Got it. Wacky sidekick with a lisp? Check. Offbeat – or just plain crazy? – ally? You know it. Slapstick gags reminiscent of an old Looney Tunes cartoon? They are there. Superfluous family values subplots? Yep. The ancient cartoon plot of someone finding eggs and the baby creatures thinking that a being of another species is their mom? Sigh, yeah, that’s there too.
Then there is an odd tendency to cut away from the story periodically to focus on the travails of Scrat – a squirrel desperate for an acorn but who keeps losing it to a hot female squirrel.
There are some funny moments here – but much more that are just okay. The film doesn’t have the sense of discovery and magic of a Pixar film.
Of course, the film’s title makes you wonder how you can have the dawn of the dinosaurs during the ice age – when dinosaurs were already extinct by then. The film makes a half-hearted attempt to explain it away, but I’m guessing that most grade school science teachers are going to be pissed at all their students being misled.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will undoubtedly entertain small children, but from everything I hear at one point this series aimed so much higher than just capturing that simple audience.
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 31, 2009.