With the ever closer landmark 100 reviews nearly here, I was in a quandry what to review for my 99th review. American Gangster? Pitch Black? Debbie Does Dallas?– the list of candidates was seemingly endless. Then my decision was made for me. Let the Ice Age begin!…er…continue.
Ice Age was a nice surprise when it came out. It had no expectations to meet,no toys to sell and did everything its own way. It became a sleeper hit and grossed $328 million worldwide. With a box office take of about 6 times its budget, there was inevitably going to be a sequel. Sure enough in 2006- Ice Age: The Meltdown was released and grossed $651 million worldwide. Not content with nearly every child on the planet seeing the film, studio execs wanted more and so Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was hastily put into production- in 3D no less, just to squeeze that extra bit of cash out of the long-suffering parents of little Johnny C. McFucksquit.
Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) finds three eggs and adopts them as his own. All is well until their mother comes back to claim them. Oh, and the mother is a gigantic T-Rex. Mummy T-Rex abducts Sid and it’s up to the regular Ice Age gang to rescue him. It’s nothing that hasn’t been seen a thousand times before. My main problem was the inclusion of dinosaurs. Why oh why did they have to include dinosaurs?! Historically, it makes no sense. I realise discussing sense in a film which centres around talking animals is a bit rich, but I can only suspend my disbelief for so much. My guess is that some twat studio exec suggested they put dinosaurs in it so they could have an excuse for chase sequences and so on. Since no-one wanted to lose their job, they didn’t question the exec and bent over like the good little bitches they are.
Ice Age has always been about the kids. It’s a childrens’ film and all that should be expected from it is some cartoon characters falling down and some bum jokes. Both are very present here. However, Dawn of the Dinosaurs decided it wanted to appeal to the dragged along parents and so the film is packed with innuendo. Some of the best animated films appeal to adult and children alike and many films have done the same thing (remember the “laser envy” gag in Toy Story?) but all the no-so-subtle smuttiness in this film takes off the appealing innocence and charm the series had when it started.
Nearly every joke in Dawn of the Dinosaurs has been done before and better. My eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets and onto the sticky cinema floor when Sid made a remark about being handsome and gazing at his reflection in the ice before it predictably cracks. Many could argue that to a child’s inexperienced eyes, this may be a fresh gag, but I don’t know a child who hasn’t seen Shrek, which does exactly the same bit in the opening credits. Even the Scrat non-sequiturs have lost their humour and we’re left with unfunny bits not good enough to be in the first two.
Dawn of the Dinosaurs is just a shameless cash-in. It only exists because of the embarrassing amounts of cash the first two gleaned. It’s bereft of any ideas and retreads the same ground, hoping that you won’t figure out it’s nothing more than a wallet-raping. My advice? Shove the kids into the cinema to see it, spare yourself the boredom and go and spend some quality “you time” in your own company. Picking them up again afterwards is optional.