Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

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If you seek an exhilarating, imaginative and genuinely emotional experience in 3-D animation, go see UP. If you're after action, cheap thrills and mild giggles that'll amuse the kids for an hour and a half, then Ice Age is it. This third entry in the popular franchise is stuffed with cuddly characters, colorful backdrops and the ultimate eye candy: dinosaurs. Yes, entertainment puts another whooping on science as the familiar cast of ancient mammals goes hoof-to-claw with a menagerie of giant lizards including tiny velociraptors, swooping pterodactyls and mighty T-Rex, all of which nitpickers will claim never roamed the earth together.

But who invited the paleontologists anyway?  

The story centers on the impending birth of the first pup to mammoth couple Manny (Ray Romano) and Elle (Queen Latifah), which doesn't sit well with their pals saber-toothed tiger Diego (Dennis Leary), and sweetly idiotic sloth Sid (John Leguizamo). Fortunately, such forced maturity angst gets shoved aside the moment Sid stumbles on some eggs in a deep cave, and they hatch into adorable but toothy little dinos. Turns out there's a primordial jungle far below the frozen tundra, and our cast quickly gets caught up in a prehistoric rumble. The action's fun, the jokes breezy and the moralizing brief. But, the real charm is Scrat, a spastic little primitive squirrel-like dude, who chases after an acorn and a shapely lady rodent (think Pepé Le Pew); his bursts of old-school, Looney Tunes-style antics trump modern CGI pizzazz.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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