The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

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Jacqueline MonahanLas Vegas Round The Clock -
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

The third installment of the Ice Age franchise finds the by-now familiar gang, led by Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) expecting their own little mammoth (bit of an oxymoron there).

Speaking of morons, sidekick and intellectually challenged sloth Sid (John Leguizamo), spurred on by the domestic duo, desires a family of his own. His wish comes true when he falls through a hole in the ice, and lands in an underground cavern. There he finds three large eggs and whisks them away to incubate and raise as his own.

Meanwhile, saber-tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary) is having a sort of mid-life crisis. A long-time member of the Ice Age pack, who has overcome his predatory urge so that he can hang around other mammals without eating them, Diego is missing a purpose in life. Reluctantly he returns to the pack in time for their next adventure.

The action picks up for the whole crew when a large T. Rex, the mother of the eggs which have now hatched into three mischievous dinosaur minis, comes looking for her brood and scoops up Sid in the process. She whisks him away to a strange, warm world full of reptiles.

An ongoing subplot has saber-tooth squirrel Scrat (Chris Wedge) in furious competition over a large acorn that’s also caught the eye of a female counterpart named Scratte (Karen Disher). These two embark on a film-long quest for acorn superiority and domestic bliss, getting into several death defying escapades before all is said and done.

Manny’s group assembles and embarks on a search for Sid, which has them trekking through dangerous new territories while being menaced by carnivorous dinosaurs. On the way they encounter an adventurous, one-eyed weasel named Buckminster, or Buck (Simon Pegg), whose mission in life is to avenge the loss of his eye from a struggle with a huge white baryonyx named Rudy. A baryonyx walks upright like a T.Rex, but has a head resembling a crocodile. Rudy makes a T.Rex look cuddly by comparison.

Rudy menaces the small group as they head to Lava Falls, the place where Momma T. Rex has taken Sid and her babies. Along the way, Ellie goes into labor, the group is attacked by several breeds of carnivorous dinosaurs, and Sid gets into dangerous predicaments rallying the group to unite and save him. They don’t call it Lava Falls for nothing, and there is a lot of dangling over the hot river for some of the crew.

Buck acts as a guide for his guests, leading them to safety and fending off Rudy with his cleverness and speed. He’s got an eyepatch and a pirate-like fervor to get even with his white nemesis (kind of like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick).

The Scrat and Scratte battle rages on, with the two squirrels setting aside love and the hope of domestic bliss for complete control of the elusive acorn.

Ray Romano’s familiar voice imparts a comforting presence to Manny. Queen Latifah’s Ellie is calm and wise. John Leguizamo as Sid is endearingly deranged. Denis Leary’s voice has a world-weariness that fits Diego’s lethargy. The ebullient Simon Pegg makes Buck’s character a swash-buckling, eccentric hero.

Animator-turned-director Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Ice Age II) creates a charming Real 3D computer animated adventure, which puts the visual effect to good use. The story has a lot of heart, dealing with issues such as diversity, acceptance, friendship, and peaceful co-existence among species.

Keep in mind that this is a brand new genre, incorporating fantasy into history. If the Ice Age can exist simultaneously with dinosaurs, a saber-tooth tiger can be pals with other mammals without sinking his teeth into them. A T.Rex will protect a mammoth instead of swallowing it.

A fitting moral for the film would be “Ice Makes Nice.”

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