Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Screenwriter: Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Mike Reiss, Yoni Brenner
It seems like everything is 3D now, when it’s not 6D. You take a regular old boring B class movie, the kind that you would watch only on TV and only if the other channels are on full teleshopping mode and outside it’s raining cats and dogs; you add 3 billion dollars in animated effects that take longer than the shooting itself, carefully calculated and implemented by those people (often more talented in their field than all the “star” actors put together) who are always listed at the end of the movie and who nobody finds out about because nobody cares enough to read those crowded small lines in the credits; you add a trailer that sums up the movie so good that the people who watch it feel disappointed they paid that money to see the whole thing; pay a fortune for a good looking and/or famous cast and it becomes MAJOR 3D SENSATIONAL BLOCKBUSTER followed by an infinity of exclamation marks. Like “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, it does not have to be good or compelling, and its actors can give their best shot to win the Razzies, because nobody cares, the public comes to look through the square glasses.
And then there are the good movies: the ones that cannot fight constant internet downloading and the competition of better advertised flicks. The ones that are in a niche (like “Animation”, “Children”) and have little public to begin with and cannot afford to share it with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”. So they do what they have to do: they take a few scenes, usually non-essential ones, they add a bit of 3D effects, they write the magic words all over the promotional posters and trailers: “3D!” and they attract the crowds. It has to be done, because now, with the big screen TVs and illegal download, anybody can watch a 2D movie in the comfort of their own home. For free.
“Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” is one of those movies. Although Rotten Tomatoes has it rated under 50%, I actually enjoyed every minute of it and I honestly think that if it hadn’t been for the previous “ice ages”, the critics would have been a lot more generous. The design and animation are breathtaking and they never fail to impress even somebody who is not a big fan of animation in general. The steady hand is obvious, as it shows the confidence of a very tight and funny script. The characters are the same, so that people who came to see them would not be disappointed, but they all have a touch of new so that it does not get repetitive: Ellie is pregnant, Manny is an obsessed father-to-be, Sid’s maternal instincts kick in, Diego has a mid-life crisis, the twins are wackier than ever and Scrat falls in love. On top of that, the creators brought many exciting new characters: Buck, the jungle survivor who is a bit on the loony side and possibly married to a pineapple, a T-Rex family that gets separated by 1% chance and 99% Sid, and a lot of dinosaurs that should’ve been extinct at the time the story takes place, even the nut becomes a character: the poster child for abandoned mistresses everywhere. I laughed the whole movie and by the time that Buck was performing CPR on a pterodactyl I had tears in my eyes. The good kind. The “I’m so glad I came to see this movie” kind.
There was not much 3D though. Do not get me wrong, it is a piece of technically perfect animation, created with impeccable respect towards the audience and that is suitable for any age. But there are few 3D scenes that seem wedged in the picture and that could very well be extracted without hurting the story or the beauty of the flawless panoramic view at all. At the end, you feel sort of cheated. I did not think that at the time of the viewing because I was too busy laughing out loud, but after I got home I tried to remember some 3D scenes that showed actual space depth or scenery edging out of the screen and I was surprised to realize I could not name one. So it is flawlessly designed, but it is not 3D. Well, to me it did not matter too much, but, when asked, the first things about the new franchise child my friends (especially male ones) said were complaints about that.
Go see this movie if you are looking for a good laugh and if you are interested to see what the weasel embodiment of a combination between Ahab and Indiana Jones would sound like. See it to find out what the gang is up to nowadays. See it to find out if Scrat can put aside his nuts for a flying red squirrel in one of the funniest parallels to married life, circles above any sitcom of the Bundy category. I don’t think you will regret it.