Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Voices of: John Leguizamo, Simon Pegg
Director: Carlos Saldanha, Michael Thurmeier
Rating: ** & 1/2
Call it the curse of the threequel. The third instalment of the adventures of the animated prehistoric critters doesn’t measure up to the standards set by the original Ice Age (2002) or its follow-up ...The Meltdown (2006). The visual effects — especially when viewed in the 3-D format — are more vivid, the budget more lavish, yet …Dawn of the Dinosaurs fails to thrill, amuse or enchant.
This time around, the plotline revolves around the imminent parenthood of the woolly mammoth couple (Ray Romano-Queen Latifah, reprising their vocal roles from the second edition). Fearing that he’ll be ousted from the clan, the glib-talking sloth (gleefully dubbed by Leguizamo) decides he wants a family of his own.
Meanwhile, the sabre-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) leaves his soft-hearted pals and sets off alone. The narrative could have been rip-roaringly hilarious with an intelligent, fine-tuned script. Lucklessly, what we get are slapdash encounters with stampeding dinosaurs and other beasties.
Moreover, the message about the value and strengths of family and friends comes across half-heartedly. Even though the running time is a compact 90 minutes, the kiddie enterprise strikes us as interminably long.
The film works best when it sticks with the acorn-acquiring antics of the squirrel-rat hybrid popular from the earlier editions. For a dash of novelty, the indomitable creature is provided with a fluttery female foil.
Their romantic interludes, which run parallel to the main story, are the liveliest aspect of the movie. There’s also a welcome new addition to the herd in the guise of a one-eyed weasel (British comedian Pegg, having a blast) who guides the group through the Jurassic-like subterranean landscape.
On the whole, though No.3 in the Ice Age series leaves us ice-cold. It's perhaps time for the franchise to be discontinued.