Well I just got back from a pre-release preview of Ice Age 3 – Dawn of the Dinosaurs and it was amazing.
I’m going to break this down into categories because there is so much to talk about.
This movie was in 3D and the imagery was fantastic. It was so real, the fur on the squirrel, on Manny, the snow as it fell, the ice, the snow in general, the leaves, the flapping eyelashes, almost everything was so detailed I can’t imagine how much effort went into the smallest amount of shadowing.
In general the movie was visually spectacular and 3D was a bonus. No matter what element or scene you were watching, there was such a subtle 3D effect that it didn’t seem seperate as they most often do – movie, then 3D, the integration was so seamless, it all seemed to pop off the screen.
– When the female squirrel Scratte ripped the fur off of Scrat the guy squirrel and it shows a naked chest, that looks real (reminded me of Steve Caroll in The 40 Year Old Virgin when he was getting his chest waxed)
– When Sid tried to milk a bull thinking it was a female
– When Sid made faces on the eggs he adopted, reminiscent of the Wilson Volleyball in The Castaway
– The transitions between both squirrels as they switch from fighting over the nut to wanting each other
– When Diego couldn’t catch the gazelle, and it came back to taunt him. Character had very similar attitude to Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock) in Madagascar.
– When Scratte got thrown off the cliff by Scrat as they fought over the nut, and Scrat jumped off to help her, only to discover she was a flying squirrel and could easily fly to safety, leaving Scrat to hit the ground in Wily Coyote fashion.
They took a simple concept, and kept you engaged, delighted, sad, happy, and totally connected at all times. They took you from Ellie and Manny planning on the arrival of their first child and how that affected the tribe, to needing to rescue Sid who had been taken back to a lost land of dinosaurs because he stole eggs and adopted the dinosaurs which hatched as his own. From the way the lost land was found, to the roller coaster ride they would take you on as you traversed the land on snow and ice slides, it was believable and exciting. The last comment I have here is the great subtle references to other movies, and scenes, and icons that you immediately get when you see it, that takes it from another typical movie to a well written, well thought out not just sequel, but movie that can completely stand on its own.
By now the characters of the Ellie, Manny, Sid and Diego are pretty well established, and you can see the consistency that continues. Each character has been taken to one more dimension with Manny’s emotional connection, Sid’s desire to be a parent and take care of someone, to Diego’s degredation of his vitality and energy and how that affects his self worth.
But this time life was brought to the nut. It wasn’t just an object the squirrels fought over, it had an intimate connection to Scrat, and like a persona type poem, was given emotion and believability.
Even the new comer Dino Momma was given enough emotion to care for the always annoying Sid who stole her babies.
Ray Romano is of course back as Manny, and does a perfect job. It’s a new age for an Eeyore type character.
Queen Latifah – Great as Ellie, and I love how her character was always willing to do anything for tribe, family, and the sake of adventure, even while pregnant.
Sid – John Leguizamo – I can’t imagine how difficult it was to keep up the slurring sounds of his character, yet pull of massive tone changes.
Overall – A+
This was the best animated cartoon movie I have seen to date. Prior to this my choice was Coraline, which seemed to hit a new level of 3D techniques. This however exceled in story, writing, graphics and it had all the emotions which the audience celebrated and journied with all the characters.
No matter what you’re age, you will enjoy this movie. If you have to pretend to have kids, just do it.
I know that I really liked a movie when I’ll go again to see it at the theatre, and buy the DVD, which is the case for Ice Age – Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
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