If Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert is correct, then you will love "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."
Who am I to question Ebert?
I'm a web-based critic with about 200,000 regular visitors to my name. Ebert? Ummm. Well. Suffice it to say that he has MORE than 200,000 regular readers.
Hmmmm. Let's see. I've certainly never won a Pulitzer Prize.
Does "Best Critic" by the Indiana College Press Association mean anything?
Nah, I didn't think so.
So, if you're a betting reader you're probably better off sticking with Ebert's declaration that "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is the best of the series' three films.
With fewer readers, less credibility and almost no literary muscle all I have to offer is my humble opinion...
"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is the WORST of the series, a lazy and unimaginative animated feature designed almost solely for the purpose of milking a couple hundred million more dollars from the highly successful series.
This time, "Ice Age" is a family affair with its regular stars bringing in younger family members to provide some of the voice work including the not so household names of Allegra and Lucas Leguizamo, Joe Romano and even a couple younger relatives of director Carlos Saldanha.
Despite the infusion of younger energy and the inherent giggles found in a character named "Beaver Girl," "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is simply a plot device surrounded by a skeleton of a story. Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are approaching parenthood, Diego (Denis Leary) is striking out on his own and Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) craves parenthood but does it in such a way that he gets himself into trouble after "adopting" three soon to be revealed dinosaur eggs that quickly hatch three baby dinosaurs and a ticked off mama T-Rex. Before long, our core characters are off to a world under the ice in which dinosaurs still exist and a rascally weasel (Simon Pegg) chases after a gargantuan dinosaur named Rudy.
I have no idea why I took the time to explain any of that to you. It doesn't matter. Virtually every frame of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is designed to capitalize on the popularity of the series by throwing in those gosh darn cute dinosaurs.
While Scrat has always been the most popular character in the "Ice Age" films, in "Dawn of the Dinosaurs," Scrat is the only character who's remotely entertaining. The rest of the film is spent with pathetic set-ups to boring scenes in which 3-D is not only unnecessary but it potentially takes away from the kaleidoscope impact of the film's coloring.
On a grand scale, the created sets are largely satisfying and interesting. Yet, the sets are inhabited by characters that, for the most part, never come to life and never become involving. There are moments, ever so brief moments, that hint at the wonder and awe that could have become "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."
It simply never happens.
So, there you have it.
The Pulitzer Price winning film critic says "GO!"
The Indiana College Press Association's "Best Critic" says, excepting young children who will find the film as visually interesting as the previous two films, "NO!"
The decision is yours.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic