Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Blu-ray Review
A glacially slow start is eventually saved by giant anachronistic lizards and saber-toothed squirrels...
Yes, the sun set on the dinosaurs million of years before the Ice Age of the wooly mammoths and saber-toothed cats, but if you can accept talking prehistoric critters then why not a "lost world" of dinosaurs living in a tropical land beneath the ice covering the surface of the planet? Aside from the ruining an entire generation of future paleontologists, does Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs at least keep them entertained? Sort of...
In Dawn of the Dinosaurs, mammoth couple Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are expecting their first child. While Manny goes through a lot of the expectant father clichs such as constantly panicking that "it's time" or trying to "baby proof" the forest, the other members of their nontraditional herd begin to feel a little less like a part of the herd. Diego the saber-toothed cat (Denis Leary) decides its time for him to go his own way while Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) begins to long for children of his own. At this point the kids will probably be squirming, and the adults as well, as not many people seek out entertainment in the form of animated creatures confronting middle age, biological clocks, and large, hairy elephants discussing impending parenthood. Luckily for the film and its viewers, Sid eventually discovers a trio of eggs in a cave and immediately decides to adopt them as his own. The eggs turn out to be dinosaur eggs and when they hatch baby T-Rex dinosaurs, Sid finds that parenthood is actually a pretty difficult job - yes, at this point we're still on the adult-themed subtexts. Soon mama comes calling and whisks Sid and babies to a land under the ice populated with all manner of dinosaurs, and the herd goes underground to rescue their friend. Underground the physical comedy takes over, as the herd is led through the dangerous new country by a crazed, one-eyed weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg). With comic relief coming in all directions from Sid, Buck, a pair of slightly stupid opossums, and the prehistoric squirrel Scrat, everyone will be entertained enough to barely notice that there's not much going on here besides the transition from one crazy sequence to the next, or that the friendship between Manny and Diego seems awfully awkward and superficial. Most of the spotlight belongs to Scrat, whose sysiphusian quest to claim the last acorn on Earth is complicated by the appearance of an appearance of a female of his species. The nonverbal and wildly choreographed interactions between Scrat, Scratte, and the acorn are by far the most clever part of the film (the tango scene between Scrat and Scratte is particularly clever), and will have you wishing that a lot less time was wasted following the herd.
This release of the film is on a three-disc combo pack which includes the film and its features on a Blu-ray disc, a DVD version of the film (sans features outside of a commentary track), and a digital copy disc for transferring the movie to a PC, Mac, or iPod/iPhone. Blu-ray owners will appreciate the extra DVD for travel, but those without a Blu-ray player will miss out on the substantial number of features that come on the Blu-ray disc. Several features are provided on the making of the film as well as are a collection of deleted scenes. The highlight of the special features, though, is the "Scrat Pack". This is a collection of Scrat-themed features including including two shorts and a collection of featurettes that will entertain fans of the sabre-toothed squirrel. As for the movie itself on Blu-ray, you don't get the 3D that was a part of the film's theatrical release, but you do get excellent picture quality that shows off the work that went into the animation, from the natural-looking fur on the creatures to the way snow falls when they dust it off of themselves. The 7.1 DTS sound is also quite impressive and perfectly mixed.
Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a long way off from matching the quality of story in Pixar productions, but it has enough entertaining moments after the slow start to keep kids happy and adults will appreciate the antics of Scrat, whose sequences will call to mind animated classics of their youth. Overall, a mixed bag, but not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Transmitted: 11/28/2014 8:18:31 PM