Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Movie Review: "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (2009)

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Movie"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
Director: Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier
Year: 2009
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are about to have a baby. Sid (John Leguizamo) is desperate to be a father, and Diego (Denis Leary) is losing his edge and feels like he should go his separate way from the herd. When Sid stumbles upon three large eggs in an underground cave, he is quick to adopt them as his own. The eggs hatch and Sid becomes the 'mother' of three baby t-rex dinosaurs...that is, until their actual mother comes looking for them and drags her babies and Sid back to a hidden underground world where dinosaurs still live. Now, Manny, Ellie, Diego, Crash (Seann William Scott), and Eddie (Josh Peck) start looking for Sid with the help of a crazy weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg).

Manny, Ellie, Diego, Sid, Crash, and Eddie are all back in Blue Sky Studio's third installment in their most profitable "Ice Age" franchise, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." All previous cast members, Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Seann William Scott, and Josh Peck, return to reprise their aforementioned roles, along with a couple new voice-over additions as well. The subtitle "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" might sound a bit odd considering the ice age is post-extinction of the dinosaurs, and this film does actually acknowledge this scientific history in a humorous way. What it does is it uses a concept seen in movies like "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Land of the Lost" where there is an isolated ecosystem underground that still supports previously thought to be extinct life. This is discovered after Sid finds a trio of dinosaur eggs which hatch into a group of three baby t-rex dinosaurs. Once hatched, lonely ol' Sid attempts to raise these creatures as his own like their mother. Unbeknownst to him, when mama t-rex comes looking for her offspring, she drags her babies and Sid back to this underground world with her. Now, the remaining members of the herd must set out on a journey to find their friend. Upon arriving to this underground world, our protagonists get a little help from a weasel named Buck, voiced by the magnificent Simon Pegg, who guides them through this treacherous terrain.

We've mentioned this in our last two "Ice Age" reviews: this franchise is pretty basic. Sure, there are some laughs here and there, but mostly, this series as a whole has failed to captivate us. This time around, it's Simon Pegg that really helps elevate this installment. His character Buck is the best part about this third film in the franchise, and he is able to add a lot of laughs with his crazy antics. Without Pegg, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" would have felt even more flat than it was before he appeared on screen. Of course, Scrat, the lovable time-waster is still in this installment, too, filling screen time with his acorn-infested mishaps. This time, though, in addition to Scrat, there is also a girl Scrat added for good measure. The two of these characters have a love/hate relationship with one another as they battle over acorns and simultaneously play out a "will they/won't they" plot line as they follow closely next to the main group along their journey. Every single one of the installments in this franchise seems to deal with relationships or babies as each of the main group of animals either gets a mate or has/adopts a child. Here, it must have been Scrat's turn to find love as Sid simultaneously "adopts" the aforementioned group of baby t-rex dinosaurs. At this point, it feels like this is all the franchise has, to be honest. All of these movies work around a very loosely science-related plot, adding in these romantic aspects each time around because it appears they could not think of anything else to add.

These movies are not without their fun, cuteness, and silliness, but like most of the "Ice Age" films, they are simply forgettable. We've got nothing against the existence of movies like this, but at this point, the franchise needs a drastic change to a different series of plot points in order for us to take interest.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Despicable Me 2"

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