DVD Review: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (DVD + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
· Carlos Saldanha
· John Leguizamo
· Ray Romano
· Denis Leary
· Queen Latifah
· Simon Pegg
by Alex Keen
Published: November 8, 2009
If you don't know about the "Ice Age" series, you're probably living under a rock or you were stranded on a deserted island. "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is the third film in the series and features all of the old characters from the previous films. Let's see, there's a sloth, a muskrat, a sabre-tooth tiger, and a woolly mammoth. Throw in for good measure a second woolly mammoth love interest, a love interest for the muskrat, and some possums, and you've got the ingredients at the start of this film.
If you've seen the previous "Ice Age" movies then you know exactly how these characters interact. Central to these characters are their personalities and these are manifested through the very famous that provided the voice talent. The cast remains exactly the same as before featuring Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary. Fans of the original two movies should feel right at home with these characters as not much has changed with their performances or with their circumstances.
Where this movie takes a detour from the previous two films is when showcasing a new character. Thanks to Sloth's silly antics, the crew stumbles into an underground jungle filled with wild dinosaurs and personalities like Buck. Buck is a swashbuckling
monkey weasel who brings a Han Solo like personality to the world of "Ice Age". This new setting allows for all kinds of new adventure and situations for these characters. With this new central character and setting, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" attempts to bring new life into characters and a world that had previously found peace.
Unfortunately, although Buck is an entertaining and humorous character, he fails to get enough support from the established cast to make this movie any better than just plain average. "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" winds up being just a very plain, by-the-numbers adventure movie that fulfills its promise of being a 90 minute babysitter but fails to be much more than that. While Ray Romano and Queen Latifah play the straight men throughout, they sound so disinterested that it's as if they're just reading off of the page. Poor Denis Leary is under-utilized and never funny. And don't get me started on the useless possums.
At least newcomer Simon Pegg delivers as strong performance as Buck and seems to have dialogue and set pieces actually designed for his sense of humor. His strongest support comes from John Leguizamo, who does a great job maintaining the entertaining child-like innocence of Sloth. He has the best bits of the returning cast, but cannot save this film from feeling like paint-by-numbers. Fan favorite Scrat is great as usual and deserves his own TV show.
When it comes down to my final feelings about this movie, I cannot recommend it as anything more than just a one-off babysitter for kids that are fans of the series. The characters don't require any further development and in some cases, their return is almost detrimental to the work done in the previous two movies. If you're desperate for something to watch with the kids, this will suffice. However, if you're looking for an strong story or another Pixar movie, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is not your best bet.
In the realm of special features, this BluRay Combo pack includes a commentary, a storybook maker, some featurettes, a TV special, deleted scenes, and a music video. I found the commentary to be more educational than entertaining. A lot is revealed about the process of planning an animated feature and that should benefit kids or teenagers looking to break into the field of animation. The TV special is the quality of something you might see on Discovery or Animal Planet, and specials like that are always welcome in my collection. I'd much rather have that than a boring fluff reel of actors bragging about how much they love one another. The animated shorts with Scrat are as good as the Scrat scenes in the movie and are also a welcome addition. The music video contains a painful rendition of Walk the Dinosaur. At least the cover is super short.