Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier
An astonishing fact about Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: its $678 million foreign box office take makes it the third highest-grossing movie of all time outside North America, behind only Titanic and The Return of the King, and far ahead of the two previous Ice Ages. I am at a complete loss to account for this. While by no means the worst CGI animated film, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is definitely among the most routine. The plot: Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah), our two woolly mammoth friends, are expecting a baby, a notion that gave me pause with the horrific implication that these characters must have had sex (deleted scenes, anyone?). The Sabre tooth tiger, Diego (Dennis Leary), intimidated by the thought of family, decides to move on, while aggressively wacky sloth Sid (John Leguizamo), feeling lonely, steals some dinosaur eggs and decides to raise them as his own. Alas, the mother dinosaur comes back for her kids. Why doesn't the dinosaur just kill Sid? Because that would mean our heroes wouldn't be able to embark on a long, monotonous quest to save him. The animation is quite nice, which should be a given for big-budget computer animated fare like this, but not for a single second was I engrossed in this repetitive and predictable plot. Never did I feel any warmth for the characters, all of which are simplistic archetypes right out of the family movie handbook. And very rarely did I laugh at the laboured, shtick-heavy slapstick or the heavy-handed jokes aimed at parents (though Sid's failed attempt at finding milk is worth a titter). However, lest I sound like a gruff old fuddy-duddy, please remember that I am not the target audience. Feel free to ignore my grumblings if you are a very small child or a fan of the previous Ice Age movies, but, dear God, I hope those are mutually exclusive groups. Kid-friendly DVD extras include several short cartoons with "Scrap" the squirrel, some inessential puff piece documentaries and a "Walk the Dinosaur" music video that caused me to flashback to 1994's The Flintstones like a bad LSD trip. (Fox)