Ice Age / Dawn of the Dinosaurs : 3 of 5

Even though I'm only a casual fan of the first two Ice Age movies, I definitely wanted to check out this latest installment with my pal Melinda. The film gets off to a rocky start, since the first several minutes are identical to the trailer that I had seen a hundred times already (Scrat fighting with his new girlfriend over the elusive nut)! Then there's about a half hour of warm-up stuff, re-establishing character relationships and such, that I just found a little boring. Thankfully things start to pick up when Sid discoveres the underground tropical world, and when the rest of the gang set out to rescue him, the action really takes over. The best part of the movie is Buck, a crazed adventuresome weasel with an eye patch who is obsessed with finding and battling the huge dinosaur known as Rudy (most definitely modeled after Captain Ahab and Moby Dick!), and I loved everything about him from his hilarious dialogue to his character design with the funny under-bite. Sid has some funny scenes with his baby dinosaur "children", as he tries to compete with their real mom for affection, but I didn't get much out of the other characters at all (which didn't matter much, since the rescue takes care of most of the plot). Although it's a big change for Scrat to have a female interest/antagonist, I think he's much funnier all by himself (but I have to say that the "lonely nut" musical montage was genius!). Animation-wise, everything pretty much duplicates the style of the previous movies (the 3D is well-done, but definitely not overused), though there was one splash when Sid lands in some water that really impressed me! Overall, I don't really think the Ice Age gang is interesting enough to keep this series going, but if you can make it past the first 30 minutes, you'll have a great time meeting Buck and enjoying the action!

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