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Yawn of the Dinosaurs

By Elvis D'Silva
July 03, 2009 12:11 IST
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They would like us to believe that this is a seasonal occurrence motivated by high demand. We know that it is more likely the lure of easy money that prompted Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) to regroup for another adventure through prehistoric times. Naturally the new adventure has to bigger and better, right? Would you settle for 3D? And a love interest for Scrat (Chris Wedge) named Scratte (Karen Disher)? How about dinosaurs?

Yup, the full title for the third big screen coming together of the moaning mammoth, stumbling sloth and terse tiger (saber tooth, whatever) is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. What a mouthful right? Not really; especially if you decide to cram that whole mouthful in during one of those yawns that might escape while you're trying to remain glued to the action that leaves Manny distressed, Diego dismayed and Sid in danger.

The story goes something like this -- Manny and Ellie are expecting a baby and the father-to-be is going out of his way to make their icy world a safe place for his child. Diego is losing his edge as a fearsome hunter so he considers taking off to live his own life, away from the 'herd'. Sid dreams of children of his own and when he encounters three dinosaur eggs after a characteristic Sid accident he steals them and decides to raise whatever hatches as his own offspring. Trouble arrives in the form of Mama Dinosaur who returns to retrieve her kids and takes the hapless sloth with her. Needless to say, the herd takes off in hot pursuit to rescue their always-in-trouble friend.

Naturally, saving Sid won't be easy because the herd will have to visit an unfamiliar netherworld that exists below the ice, where dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes run riot. One wrong move and someone could get anyone killed. But there is no need to fear because Buck the one-eyed weasel is here. Voiced by British actor Simon Pegg, this new character alternates between total craziness and beyond-the-call-of-duty bravery.

A poster of Ice Age 3On the surface of it, all this adds up to an interesting enough premise. The reality however, is a different thing altogether.
There is only so much run, jump, shove, crash, boom, bang that one can watch before it becomes repetitive and, dare I say it? Boring! These characters were great for a laugh the first time around and Blue Sky, the studio that brought these characters to life went on to do a pretty good job with their Robots story as well. But whereas the first movie was funny and suggested the likelihood of an alternative to the animated worlds created by Pixar and Dreamworks Animation, this film seems to exist solely because their stockholders required proof that the business was in fine shape. The existing fan-base is being called upon to pony up some more cash to go see familiar and (previously) enjoyable characters do their thing once again.

It's not all doom and gloom though. The movie looks great. The animation is top notch, the worlds (above and below the ice) are beautifully rendered and watching this stuff in 3D really adds a dimension to the experience that needs to be seen to be believed. All the characters, old and new, look great, move spectacularly, and interact with their make-believe world in immensely believable ways. When the shine of all the whiz-bang effects wears off however, one realises that there isn't a story of any heft at the core of this undertaking.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs could possibly be the only truly kiddie movie to unspool at a multiplex over the months to come. Take the tykes, make them wear the 3D glasses and hope that they are captivated enough by the imagery on screen to avoid asking questions for the duration of the flick. Because if that fails, you're going to feel slightly cross-eyed, and somewhat unsatisfied, by the time the end credits roll.

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Elvis D'Silva

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