Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs | Carlos Saldanha, 2009
In my oppinion, the first Ice Age is the finest non-Pixar, American, CGI animated movie to come out this decade. It has a nice (if over used) story, nice voice peroformances, and many touching moments. Ice Age: The Meltdown was a disappointment. It not only tried to take on global warming, religion, and the near-extinction of a species, as well as trying to add much more comedy and make the animals seem like they are regular people. The third one has a simpler, but more far-fetched plot, but I almost loved it as much as the first.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs once again deals with Manny (Ray Romano), the wooly mammoth, Sid (John Leguizamo), the sloth, and Diego (Dennis Leary), the saber toothed tiger. This time, Manny is expecting a baby with his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah). This makes Diego feel old and wants to go out and be on his own. Sid, after being told that Manny would pay more attention to his baby when it is born, suddenly feels motherly urges. One day, feeling sad and loney, through his usual clumsy ways, he find three eggs. They turn out to be dinosaur eggs (dinosaurs have been extinct for a while by the time the Ice Age rolled around). They hatch, their mom takes them, and Sid, the rest of the gang must now go underground to save them.
As I said, the plot is far-fetched. It is obvious that FOX wanted a sequel and they just took whatever story they could get. But the reason why I like it so much is that it went back to the themes that made the first one work so well, such as what it means to be a family and the lengths one would go to protect those he or she loves. There are no overly-ambitious themes, and that’s nice. Because of this I’m able to forgive the flaws in the story.
The performances here are good, but not quite as good as the first installment. Ray Romano has lost that darkness that made Manny so appealing, and Queen Latifah sounds like she is just reading her lines. Leguizamo and Leary are good. The stand out, however, is Simon Pegg as Buck, the crazy weasel that guides the characters through the under ground world of dinosaurs. It just seems like he had a lot of fun with the character.
Dawn of the Dinosaurs is nothing compared to the likes of Pixar, but it is a nice companion to the first one. Nice themes, combined with great action and great animation makes this a fun way to pass the time.