Sound & Vision Premiere Preview

In theaters: July 1 Studio: 20th Century Fox Directors: Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier Featuring the voices of: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah

Hold off on those angry letters for now, paleontology sticklers: Even though this third entry in the series about prehistoric, glacier-dwelling pals Manny, Sid, and Diego features the mammals interacting with cold-blooded terrible lizards, codirector Mike Thurmeier says the filmmakers didn't violate history too much. "It involves a sort of Journey to the Center of the Earth/Skull Island scenario - a subterranean world of extinct animals," he clarifies. "When we were working on the first movie, we visited the Museum of Natural History in New York to look at some mammoth skeletons, and the scientist giving us our tour said, 'Please don't put any dinosaurs in Ice Age.' We were like, 'Oh, sure…' "

Dawn of the Dinosaurs is also part of 2009's big 3-D push aimed at luring audiences into multiplexes, following the spring hits Coraline and Monsters vs. Aliens, and now Pixar's latest blockbuster, Up. "I was a 3-D skeptic," Thurmeier admits. "But now I believe it does add another texture to the experience of watching the movie. It's another piece of the puzzle that makes the world more tangible."

Making that world tangible was a key part of bringing audiences back, Thurmeier says, since the young fans of perennially frustrated rodent Scrat have grown up since his first adventure. "The animation genre in the American market is mostly for kids," he notes, "so we couldn't make Sin City. But the first Ice Age [2002] was very tame and simple, and the second one was more evolved. I think what people will find is that it's safe to bring your family to the movie, but now we have lots of action and a little more of an edge."

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