Apart from a solid voice cast and pretty good computer animation, here’s what the movie Ice Age had for it when it debuted in 2002: the ice age, a whole swath of pre-history that hardly anyone had exploited before. Let other movies have their velociraptors and their T. Rexes—here was a movie happily filled with mammoths and saber-toothed cats. The series kept it going for one more entry, but throws its commitment to the era away with movie number three, a ploy sure to anger Ice Age purists everywhere.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “Dinosaurs didn’t survive into the ice age. How can this be?” Here’s how: Early on, bumbling sloth Sid (John Leguizamo), feeling a bit out of place thanks to the impending fatherhood of his mammoth friend Manny (Ray Romano), wanders off and discovers a cave containing some eggs. What Sid doesn’t realize—and here’s the clever loophole that allows Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs to feature dinosaurs—is that said eggs are in fact dinosaur eggs swiped from an underground cave in which dinosaurs remain alive and well, a veritable Jurassic park, if you will. After the eggs hatch, Sid is kidnapped by a dinosaur mom none-too-happy about the theft. This forces his friends to enter the, ahem, lost world in order to rescue him. What follows: crude jokes, sweet lessons, Simon Pegg as an adventurer gone insane, and a bunch of decent animation, which select patrons will see in impressive 3-D. Ideally they’ll be about 8 years old and hopped up on Junior Mints. Otherwise they’ll be pretty bored and forced to think about things like whether or not the Ice Age series should have just stuck with the ice age.