Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 3D
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy
As the third installment of the Ice Age franchise, you’d expect the latest adventures of our odd herd of prehistoric mammal friends—Sid the sloth, Manny and Ellie the wooly mammoths, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, Crash and Eddie the possums, and (off on his own as usual) everyone’s favorite latter-day Coyote, Scrat, the squirrel-rat. Scrat’s role has grown with each entry in the series, and here he gets a love (or rather love-hate) interest in Scrattle, a challenge to his acorn obsession.
The main attraction, and what makes this film the best of the three Ice Age movies, is clear from the title. It’s hard to make a bad movie featuring dinosaurs (although the recent remake of Land of the Lost took its best shot). Dinosaurs disappeared long before wooly mammoths walked the glaciers, but as they appear here in a sort of lost-world environment, we can forgive this bit of creative license.
When Sid is captured by a T. rex that ventures into the Ice Age world through a hole in the ice looking for her three cubs, Manny and the rest of the gang descend into the dinosaur world looking for him. There they link up with Buck, a one-eyed… um, whatever, who acts as their guide to finding Sid and avoiding Rudy, the king-beast of the dino-world. None of this makes a bit of sense, but it’s all in fun.
The 3D effects are super, from scenes featuring flying pterodactyls (sound at all familiar?) to a startling closing shot of Scrat popping out of the screen. In between, we get colorful rock-climbing raptors, a river of lava, and a great sequence where Buck tells of his first encounter with Rudy—likely with more than a few embellishments. 3D is also effectively used in the closing titles. 3D may turn out to be the most effective way yet to keep audiences in their seats long enough to find out who the key grip and best boy were.
The sound mix is extremely active, with deep, crunching bass (those dinosaurs’ footfalls, of course), convincing surrounds, and the creation of realistic environments, including the reverb in a number of spooky caves. The score is well recorded and works for the film, but it doesn’t make much of an impression on its own—which some critics, though not me, will argue is as it should be.
As this is a Panasonic exclusive release, the disc is devoid of extra features and interactivity.