Movie Review: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

The gang and one new addition in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Animation has blown-up since the advent of computer-animation. From my count, in 1995 we saw Toy Story, the first feature film released to use only computer-generated imagery, hit theaters and that same year it was accompanied domestically by only two other major animated films, Balto and Pocahontas. In 2008 there were no less than twelve animated releases and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs makes the fourth major animated release of 2009 in a year that looks to continue the trend. I mention this only because the imagination appears to have evaporated entirely from the majority of these pictures with Pixar and your occasional independent release actually hitting on something unique and worth falling over. There is nothing wrong with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but there was certainly nothing new or exciting about it.

Back again are Sid the sloth, Diego the saber tooth, Manny and Ellie the mammoths and the two possums named Crash and Eddie. This time around they get in trouble with a Journey to the Center of the Earth scenario involving dinosaurs, pregnant mammoths and a disillusioned weasel named Buck. Oh wait, Buck and the dinosaurs are new and the film is in 3-D, but none of this did anything to make this film any better.

The film is so tired and ultimately boring it is hard to even find the energy to write about it. Taking into account the screenwriters had this crew of prehistoric talking animals would lead me to believe they could come up with something — anything — more interesting than remaking Journey to the Center of the Earth even if they do have the unfortunate timing of releasing only one year after an intended remake of the same film. But that’s no excuse.

These are animated worlds where anything can happen. A house can be flown from one continent to another, a rat can become a chef in Paris and a garbage-collecting robot can fall in love and re-populate the world. Even pandas can learn kung-fu, a premise I am sure will be profitable in the sequel, but nonetheless a tired premise once it rolls around just as was the second (and now a third) Ice Age. This film just feels like it was immediately thrown into production with whatever story stuck to the wall and as a result I guess I shouldn’t be surprised with the outcome.

While I am impressed Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs remained relatively tame in the sexual innuendo and fart jokes (outside of a “T-Rex to T-Rebecca” castration joke that got a hearty laugh from my audience), I just can’t get excited over this film. It appears Fox has put together a movie that is definitely geared more toward children, a move I can respect, but it just wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the first Ice Age when the idea felt new and fresh, but it is now nothing more than been-there, done-that tedium.