Rated PG for some mild rude humor and peril, 94 minutes
Same 'ol laughs, fun and antics return in familiar "Ice Age 3"
If you saw "Ice Age" or "Ice Age 2" then you've also seen "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," the latest entry in the 20th Century Fox CG-animated movie series about an unusual prehistoric group of animals surviving the wild. "Ice Age 3" is still suitable, goofy fun strung along in some modestly humorous and loose episodes, even if the laughs are warmed over and largely forgettable.
Life has been changing for woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano) and his friends since the last "Ice Age" movie. He and his female counterpart Ellie (Queen Latifah) are now a couple and expecting their first child. Scrat, the sabre-tooth squirrel in an never-ending pursuit to hold onto that acorn, now has to deal Scratte, a female sabre-tooth squirrel who grabs his attention more than that acorn.
Diego the sabre-toothed cat (Denis Leary) is struggling to find where he fits in and realizes he's getting older by the minute, while the opossums Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) are continually causing trouble. Meanwhile, the lonesome Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) steals some dinosaur eggs for company, unearthing an unforgettable adventure and journey that puts the whole gang in peril.
"Ice Age 3" is a modestly enjoyable, pleasant animated comedy sequel that doesn't unearth anything new in the way of laughs, but is an entertaining outing for the whole family this summer season. The only new thing about this film is that it's being shown in 3-D in many theatres, which is largely unnecessary but does enhance the CG animation, typically the highlight of the "Ice Age" films. Clean, crisp and colorful, the animation adds bounce, energy and buoyancy to the film that makes up for the stale, often padded storyline. The animation comes close to first-rate Pixar, but the story pales in heart and imagination.
One new bright spot to the "Ice Age 3" story is the adventure-seeking one-eyed weasel, voiced with enthusiasm by British comedian Simon Pegg, currently seen as Scotty in the new "Star Trek." Other than that, the rest of the cast voices with typical charm, with the more memorable scenes generally coming from Sid the Sloth (merrily voiced by the always engaging Leguizamo, who usually steals these movies in slobbery tone) or the oppossums voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck.
An "Ice Age" film wouldn't be complete without the zany, hyper squirrel Scrat, who always commands our attention. He's on screen in different episodes just long enough to be reasonably amusing yet slightly annoying; the addition of the female squirrel adds more charm to these brief mini-episodes and it's nice seeing Scrat focus on something other than that dern acorn. The dinosaurs may be mildly intense for very young ones, but there's enough packed throughout to keep their attention.
As vibrant as the animation is in "Ice Age 3" the script is bland and lacks any genuine sense of real imagination (and has a strange, underlying theme of reproduction that'll fly high above the kids heads). The whole herd treks along in an upbeat but predictable fashion to once again save Sid from being eaten by dinosaurs: it's not that complicated or unsurprising to figure what'll happen in the end.
"Ice Age 3" is benign, mildly amusing and simple fun for the entire family. You've been on this journey twice before with Manny, Ellie, Diego, Sid and friends, but you'll come along again and like the simliar trips you've been on before, will enjoy yourself. In honor of the real Ice Age and to get yourself some real flavor, enjoy a snowcone after the show.