Archive for November 10, 2010

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Manny (Ray Romano) are expecting their first child, and Manny is obsessed with making life perfect and safe for the family, since his first experiences as a husband and father went bad when his family was killed by hunters. At the same time, Diego (Denis Leary) finds himself unable to catch a cocky gazelle (Bill Hader) he has been stalking and decides to leave the herd, believing that he is losing his predatory nature as a tiger. Sid (John Leguizamo) grows jealous of Manny and Ellie and “adopts” three apparently abandoned eggs that he finds in an icy underground cavern and call them Eggbert, Shelly, and Yoko. Manny tells him to put them back, but Sid instead looks after the eggs, which hatch into baby Tyrannosaurus the next morning.

Although Sid tries his best to raise the three dinosaurs, their rambunctious behavior scares away all the other animals’ young and ruins a playground Manny built for Ellie’s baby. A female Tyrannosaurus, Momma, whose eggs Sid stole, soon returns and carries both Sid and her young underground, with Diego in pursuit. Manny, Ellie, Crash, and Eddie (Sean William Scott, Josh Peck) follow as well and discover that the icy cavern leads to a vast jungle populated by dinosaurs thought to be extinct. Here, an Ankylosaurus threatens the herd despite Diego’s efforts to fend it off; they are saved from a further crowd of angry reptiles by an insane, one-eyed weasel named Buckminster, or Buck (Simon Pegg).

Buck has been living in this jungle for some time and is chasing Rudy, a large albino Baryonyx, with the intention of avenging the loss of his right eye at Rudy’s hands. He agrees to lead the herd through the jungle’s perils to Lava Falls, where Momma has taken Sid and her babies. At one point, they have to cross the “Chasm of Death” which is filled with gas fumes (a mixture of helium and laughing gas, causing anyone who breathes in it to laugh uncontrollably while speaking in a high-pitched voice). Although the gas is not the actual cause of death, victims usually cannot stop laughing and thus die while trying to cross the chasm. Eventually the group manages to cross the chasm. In the meantime, Sid and Momma try to outdo each other in feeding the offspring; he loses this contest, but is soon welcomed into the family regardless. The next day, however, Sid is separated from the family and attacked by Rudy. Sid is knocked onto a loose rock slab that is floating on a river of lava and about to plummet over the falls.

As the herd moves toward Lava Falls, Ellie goes into labor and a Guanlong pack strikes, causing a rock slide that separates her from Manny and Diego. Manny doubles back to protect her and Diego fends off further attacks, while Buck takes Crash and Eddie ahead to rescue Sid. Just as he goes over the falls, the trio swoops in on a commandeered Pteranodon only to be chased by a flock of Quetzalcoatlus on the way and saves his life. Manny reaches Ellie, and there is suddenly a reaction, the cry of a newborn baby, then he sees that it is a girl. He wants to name her Ellie, or Little Ellie, but Ellie instead names her Peaches after the fruit (and the codeword they had chosen for Ellie to use if she went into labor during the trip). Sid is saddened at the fact that he never had a chance to say goodbye to “his” children as he returns to the herd and learns of Peaches’ birth.

As they venture back to the tunnel, they are shocked to discover Rudy lurking inside of the entrance. Rudy exits the tunnel and attacks at full force; Buck lures Rudy away from the group and is nearly eaten himself, before Diego saves him at the last second. Manny, Sid, Diego, and Buck manage to ensnare Rudy and knock him unconscious, but as they begin to leave, Sid trips over one of the ropes and breaks it. Rudy quickly recovers and escapes, and is about to attack Sid when Momma arrives on the scene, charging at Rudy and knocking him off a cliff before roaring her victory. As she and her children wish Sid well, Buck – now without a purpose in life since Rudy is gone – decides to join the herd and live on the surface. However, a distant roar tells him that Rudy is still alive; he changes his mind and sends the herd home, blocking off the path to the underground jungle at the same time, so nobody else can go down there anymore. Manny and Ellie welcome Peaches into their frozen world and admit that Sid did a good job looking after Momma’s children (though Manny tells Diego that he will never let Sid babysit Peaches). Diego decides to remain with the herd, while Buck stays where he wants to be: underground, battling it out with Rudy.

REVIEW:

 Both Ice Age and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown were huge commercial successes, but what about Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs? Well, for starters this thing was released in 3D, so they were going to make some money, even if only half the audience went to see it, thanks to the outrageous, overpriced tickets. That being said, it is arguably the best of the bunch.

This film franchise has been criticized for not being true to the timeline. Personally, I don’t care. Whatever happened to suspension of disbelief? Can’t kid/family films just be fn and not have to worry about being historically accurate? I mean, if you want to go that far, then you may as well go all out and say that a wooly mammoth, sloth, opossums, and sabre tooth tiger, as well as the rest of their little herd (plus whatever Scrat is), wouldnt ever be traveling together! Some people just need to get over their high and mighty elitist attitudes and enjoy something once in a while, rather than find any and everything to criticize!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. The CG here is obviously better than the first two. Of that there is no question. If you have any doubt about that, just watch in awe of the land where the dinosaurs roam, or the detail on Manny and Ellie’s fur, or the scales on Rudy. It is impressive. Now that I’ve said that, I didn’t really see anything that warranted the use of 3D, and I feel sorry for those that wasted the extra money on the used glasses.

The plot is ok. I mean, it basically is about how the original trio is sort of drifting apart because Manny is about to become a father, Diego has gotten “soft”, and Sid wants them to stay together and be a family. A tad bit to overemotional for my taste, but I can see how it works.

I like how the movie flies along at a steady pace. Its predecessors seemed to drag a bit. I think this may be because of the action in this one, though, or maybe it is just the break from the icy world they live in.

Voice casting in here is amazing, but some seem to be giving more than others. For instance, Simon Pegg as Buck, appears to be going all out, while Denis Leary, Sean William Scott, Queen Latifah and Ray Romano all sound as if they’re just reading some lines.

When all is said and done Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs may not be the greatest film by the critics’ overpuffed standards, bt for us normal people, it is quite an enjoyable flick. Sure, it has its flaws, and that’s just fine with me. The most important thing is that it is entertaining and not boring. This is fun for the whole family and a film all will enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars