Movie Review: Ice Age Dawn of Dinosaurs

Movie Review: Ice Age Dawn of Dinosaurs

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

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PG for mild humor and peril.
Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes

After the events of Ice Age: The Meltdown, life begins to change for Manny and his friends. Just how much does life change you ask? That’s a good question! Now the wait is over as we once again get a peak inside the daily life of the Ice Age characters in another movie in this animated franchise.

In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Scrat is still trying to grab the ever-elusive nut. He might even find true love this time around. Manny, voiced by Ray Romano, and Ellie, played by Queen Latifah, are awaiting the birth of their mini-mammoth. Meanwhile, Sid the sloth gets into trouble when he creates his own makeshift family by hijacking some dinosaur eggs. Last, but certainly not least, Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, is now wondering if he’s growing too soft from hanging out with his pals.

On a mission to rescue the hapless Sid, the gang ventures into a mysterious underground world, where they have some close encounters with dinosaurs, battle flora and fauna run amuck, and meet a relentless, one-eyed, dino-hunting weasel named Buck.

Do We Really Need ‘Another’ Ice Age Movie?

We first met the animated Ice Age crew in 2002. The first movie pulled in close to $177 million. Not bad for a movie with a production budget of $59 million. Then came the sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006. That too was a box office hit with a domestic gross of slightly more than $195 million. Again, not bad for a movie with a production budget of $80 million. Now comes the third movie in the Ice Age franchise. This time around it’s Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

I’m not sure what it is that makes these movies such a big draw, but whatever the case may be, I’m sure the summer release of the Ice Age gang will no doubt do well in the box office too.

Really, I don’t get it. I do not understand the draw for these movies. From a movie critics standpoint, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is more of a collection of movie shorts, than anything else. This latest edition clocks in at close to 2 hours, and it’s a long 2 hours. At times I really didn’t know which story line to follow. While it’s not full of too many story lines, it just seems fragmented throughout.

Then, toss in the Scrat sequences with the nut and his new love interest, and it becomes even more fragmented. Actually, in the entire movie, those are the sequences that feel most like a movie short than anything else. At least this time around the filmmakers did make a few more connections between Scrat and the other characters. But, the Scrat scenes, at times, do feel out of place.

Aside from the fragmented feeling of the flick, I must admit the animation is getting better with each Ice Age installment. The characters seem to jump off the screen, even in regular animation mode. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is on the big screen in two formats – regular and 3D.

A Positive Message

I do applaud the filmmakers for a very positive message throughout the movie. This has, for the most part, held true in all three Ice Age movies. For me, this is worthy of applause too. All too often when an animated movie carries a PG rating, the filmmakers feel the need to include rude and crude humor. The line of thinking is to keep the adults interested while watching the movie with their kids. But, once again, the Ice Age movies have never done that. While there are one or two questionable lines, for the most part they pass by so quickly they’re barely noticeable.

As for the positive message, once again Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is more about family, than anything else. Manny and the rest of his friends, even though they’re different animals, are all about herd, or family. Dawn of the Dinosaurs sub-plot focuses on Manny and Ellie awaiting the birth of their first newborn woolly mammoth. In the midst awaiting for the arrival of Peaches, the rest of the gang, Diego, Sid and the others, fear they will no longer be welcome. But, by the end of the movie, we discover no matter what, friendship always wins out and the herd, does indeed remain a herd and a family.

The Secret of Success…

So, just what is the big appeal of the Ice Age franchise? I think it’s two-fold. First off, as mentioned above, it’s nice that an animated PG movie does not stoop to potty humor. Both kids and adults do enjoy these movies together. For the adult, there’s the draw of big name stars lending voice talent to the characters. For the kids, there’s lots of action and fun along the way. While there is a certain amount of peril, there’s nothing dangerously evil or scary about the situations.

Secondly, and again in what I referred to as a problem with the movie, this becomes a plus. Even though Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has a fragmented story line from a critics standpoint, this works for the kids. While this installment of the Ice Age franchise is a little on the long side, the kids don’t seem to mind because the story line changes enough so they’re not bored.

All in all, even though I’ve pointed out issues with this movie, I am pleased with the family-friendly focus of the flick. From a critics standpoint Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs falls into the category of “This movie is not aimed at me.” While some critics might totally trash this movie, I won’t.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a fun flick, a family-friendly flick, and one that can be enjoyed by the entire family. For this reason, I give it 3 Lloyds and heartily declare…enjoy it and laugh together as a family. Then, when the movie is done, and as you head on home, encourage your kids about the importance of family.

Enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.