ICE AGE 3: A Must For The Family
ICE AGE 3: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (animated fantasy in 3D)
Voice cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Simon Pegg, Queen Latifah and Chris Wedge
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Time: 90 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: We have learnt that the dinosaurs and the woolly mammals did not roam the Earth at the same time but if the scripters of Ice Age 3 suggest that they did, why quibble? They have always taken 'make-belief' to extraordinary and even bizarre levels and as long as this sequel is funny, fast-paced and fun, we should go along for the ride.
Indeed, with its visuals enhanced by Dolby 3D, this one is an exhilarating ride for the whole family.
THE SKINNY: While previous instalments centre around the family (or herd), this sequel adds the issue of motherhood to the fray. Woolly mammoth Manny (voice of Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) are expecting their first baby and Manny seems obsessed by it. Sabre-toothed tiger Diego (Dennis Leary) and sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) react differently to the eagerly-waited arrival: Diego feels threatened and sets off alone, while Sid gets a huge dose of motherly instinct when he finds some dinosaur eggs and decides to hatch them himself.
The resulting births lead the clan off on a rescue-adventure to a land beneath the ice where dinosaurs still rule the world and a weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg aka Scott of Star Trek) is locked in an epic swashbuckling battle with an enormous prehistoric beast.
THE CRITIQUE: For those who find the original threesome (Manny, Sid and Diego) getting to be tiresome, the scripters have cleverly added the rascally one-eyed Buck as a tour guide of sorts into the land of dinosaurs. Voiced by Pegg with a heavy British accent, Buck makes good company and comic relief, providing gags about T-Rex being turned into a T-Rachel, et al. Indeed, Manny isn't much fun to start with, Diego is becoming a real sourpussy and Sid's hyperactive nature is bordering on irritating rather than funny. Yeah, we sorely need someone and some thing to Buck this trend and the weasel fits the bill. Also, an encounter with rampaging pterodactyls is as exciting and spectacular than any Star Wars battle you have seen - thanks to the 3D effects.
And then there is the acorn-chasing Scratt and his newfound love Scratte whose dalliances are accompanied by some cool songs like Lou Rawls' "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine". Movie-goers would have seen them in the trailer since the start iof this year - and their love story should be familiar by now.
THE LOWDOWN: A must-see for those with young children.