Friday, July 13, 2012

Third "Ice Age" Also a Charm

  TRASH IN MY EYE No. 57 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some mild rude humor and peril
DIRECTORS: Carlos Saldanha with Mike Thurmeier
WRITERS: Peter Ackerman, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner, and Mike Reiss; from a story by Jason Carter Eaton
PRODUCERS: Lori Forte and John C. Donkin
EDITORS: Harry Hitner with James Palumbo
COMPOSER: John Powell

ANIMATION/COMEDY/ADVENTURE/FAMILY/FANTASY

Starring: (voices) Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, and Queen Latifah, with Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Kristen Wiig, Karen Disher, and Chris Wedge

The subject of this movie review is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, a 2009 computer-animated film from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox. This comedy-adventure movie is the third film in the Ice Age series. Dawn of the Dinosaurs follows the “Ice Age herd” to a dinosaur-filled lost world as they try to rescue one of their own.

The original mismatched trio of ice age prehistoric critters: Manfred “Manny” (Ray Romano), a mammoth; Sid (John Leguizamo), a giant sloth; and Diego (Denis Leary) a saber-toothed tiger, are now part of a larger family. Manny has a mate, a mammoth named Ellie (Queen Latifah), and she has two possum brothers, Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck), a rambunctious, prank playing duo.

There are big changes coming to this unusual herd. Ellie is pregnant, but this joyous situation does not come without complications. Diego is feeling a little old and wants to leave and go his own way, and Sid wants a family of his own. After he tries to play “mama” to three dinosaur eggs, Sid is taken by a Tyrannosaurus rex, the real mother, to a tropical lost world where dinosaurs still live. Manny and company follow in a bid to rescue Sid, but in order to survive they need the help of Buck (Simon Pegg), a probably insane, one-eyed, dagger-wielding weasel. But Buck’s mind is on Rudy, a monstrous dinosaur with a score to settle. The prehistoric squirrel/rat, Scrat (Chris Wedge), is also back and still fighting to retrieve that one special acorn, but this time, he finds a rival and perhaps, love.

I avoided Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs when it was first released back in 2009. It’s not because I thought that it was a bad movie; it was because I thought that I was finished with Ice Age, although I’d enjoyed the first two films in the series. I decided to see Dawn of the Dinosaurs because the fourth will be released this summer, and I am glad I did.

Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a really good movie. It starts out as a sweet and charming film about mild family dysfunction in a non-traditional family. When the story moves to the lost world of dinosaurs, it becomes a comedy and adventure film that mixes breathtaking, death-defying scenes with moments of tender love involving family and friends. There is a chase between a Pteranodon (acting as a chariot for three of the heroes) and a flock of Quetzalcoatlus that rivals (perhaps, even surpasses) the pod racing scene in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in terms of the pure excitement it gives and the technical wizardry it took the CGI artists to create it.

Although Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs largely moves the film away from its ice age setting (until the end), it keeps the fun of the series going. It makes me ready to see this new fourth film.

7 of 10
B+

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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