The furry (and mostly extinct) clan of the Ice Age animals return to screens this summer in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and it has to be said that if the dinosaurs hadn't dawned upon this franchise, then one would rather have seen it fading out at dusk. Cliches apart, dinosaurs are the actual saviours of the film, redeeming it from the (now extinct) jokes and sequences, the most repetitive being that of the squirrel-like creature called Scrat scurrying after the acorn. That Scrat encounters 'true love' in the form of Scratte (who turns out to be a flying squirrel) is entertaining in one opening sequence, but not when its repeated several times throughout out the film. Who do they think they are? Shahrukh Khan and Kajol?
The picturesque animation of Ice Age opens with mammoths Manny and Ellie (voiced over by comics Ray Romano and Queen Latifah respectively) happily enjoying family life as their first baby is on its way. Their state of joy, however, proves to have the opposite effect on their friends. Diego (Denis Leary), the 'once' fierce Sabre-tooth tiger has grown soft and mushy (much to his distaste) and he can hardly run in order to catch his prey. He has become the brunt of the joke for all herbivores who cheekily prance around him knowing that he isn't a threat anymore. Other than Diego, Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) dreams up fantasies of having a family of his own and when he can't, he steals three dinosaur eggs that he stumbles upon in a caved opening under the snow. As dinosaurs went out of business millions of years before the Ice Age, he doesn't have the faintest inkling of what he's getting himself into.
The writers of this movie have taken tremendous creative liberties in bringing dinosaurs into the Ice Age. Though factually misplaced, the Ice Age gang manages to unearth a whole underworld (which looks like a tropical rainforest) or rather a world parallel to the surface of the earth in which the era of the dinosaurs remains preserved and alive. The dino eggs hatch, the babies mistaking Sid for their mother and when their biological mother (no DNA tests needed to prove this one!) surfaces to take them away, she accidentally carries Sid away back into dino-land. Thus begins Manny and the gang's pursuit to bring Sid back home.
It is an unbelievably dumb film that can only appeal to children under 5 (or grown ups with an IQ that low), that too only to kids who haven't been exposed to the REM (rapid eye movement) generation of the Transformers. Dreamworks need to revise the plot as far as computer animations go because their rivals, Pixar (with Up, Ratatouille, Cars, Toy Story, Wall -E, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc) have been more than successful at creating animations that have appealed to all age groups. Or Dreamworks might even want to bring back the magic that they created with Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. There is hope that their next animation (Shrek 4?)will have more to offer than the numbing Ice Age series.
There is onel saving grace to the new Ice Age film: Buck, a character introduced in this edition which brings life to the otherwise dull script. Simon Pegg (of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) has lent his voice to Buck and one has to see this British actor as someone to watch out for in the future.
That is it, in a nutshell. There is nothing more to Ice Age beyond the occasionally endearing moments but these are jokes one has heard one time too many. The Ice Age franchise of films has undoubted outlived its lifespan and needs to gracefully accept extinction now.
Ð Aamna Haider Isani