The popularity of the Ice Age movies is puzzling. Second-tier movie and TV talent, limited plots with so-so writing, average animation and uninteresting characters dominate them. Much of it--I suspect--is because of Scrat, an acorn addicted saber-toothed squirrel that doubles as the series' version of Warner Brother's Wile E. Coyote who never managed to catch the Road Runner.
This time a reversal of sorts takes place. The main characters have the funniest bits and Scrat—who has more to do in this movie--gets locked into a non-funny love story.
Everybody Loves Raymond's Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, comedian Denis Leary and John Leguizamo reprise their roles and comedian Simon Pegg is added to the cast as the screw or two loose weasel helping them find Sid in a land where dinosaurs still roam.
Without getting too detailed, Manny and Ellie, the Wooly Mammoths are expecting a baby. Sid the Sloth is jealous. He wants a family of his own. Sid steals some eggs and becomes mom to three terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs. When a ticked dino-mom shows up, Sid is taken to the lost land and the gang heads off to rescue him.
A subplot has Leary's sabre-toothed tiger Diego losing his step.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the best of the three and though it is available in two-dimensions and three, I recommend the 3-D. The third time is the charm for director Carlos Saldanha. He finally gets it right and is able to give some life to an animated concept that really should have died out with the last ice age.
Expect an Ice Age: 4.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, July 3 in 3-D and in two-dimensions at Regal's Columbia Mall 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie. 3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD. 2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.0 stars: Speaks for itself