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TIT

'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs'
(Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / 2009 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: The fun continues as Diego, Manny, and Sid all return for another round of prehistoric fun in this installment of the popular computer-animated children's series.

DVD: "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is the third installment of the "Ice Age" animation franchise, which, I am afraid, should have been stopped when the first sequel was made three years ago. Technically speaking, the newest film is just superb. I saw it in traditional 2-D format, but I admit the visuals have become more beautiful and the characters' movements more natural than before. But ...where is the story?

Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) is a sloth who wants a family. So Sid "adopts" three dinosaur eggs he accidentally found in the icy underground cave. The mother dinosaur is not happy about that, of course, so she takes away three baby dinosaurs AND Sid too back to the cave and further. But where did they go anyway?

Now Sid's friends - two mammoths in love Manny (Ray Romano) and Elle (Queen Latifah), saber-tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary), two possums Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) - they team up and embark on a new adventure into the subterranean world, a colorful computer graphics version of Conan Doyle's "The Lost World."

I hate to say this, but it seems none of the four credited writers came up with a good story for "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." The film's storyline is not just contrived; it is often impossible. Why should pregnant Elle insist on joining the searching party, for instance? The film's story only proceeds by constantly putting the characters in danger of falling, being eaten or crushed by animals or some objects.

That means there is no one you would like to relate to emotionally. The only character I found interesting is a confirmed loner, Captain Ahab-like weasel Buck (Simon Pegg), whose sole purpose of life is something Manny and Elle would not understand. He alone gives some depth to the film's weak narrative.

I am not saying everything about "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" is dull and uninteresting. The slapstick jokes are funny (including those of Scrat forever wrestling an acorn ... I'm beginning to feel sorry for him). These set-pieces are entertaining enough. Only that those sight gags could have been done better somewhere else, with some other characters. [TI] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Filmmaker Commentary
Two Scrat Shorts
Gone Nutty – Scrat’s Missing Adventure
No Time For Nuts
The Sabre-Toothed Squirrel: Natures Nutty Buddy
Scrat: From Head To Toe – learn how to draw Scrat tutorial
Scrat: “Breaking Story”
Scrat: “News Report”
Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making A Scene
Buck…Easel to Weasel
Falling for Scratte
Unearthing the Lost World
Walk The Dinosaur Music Video
Activities
Scrat Pinball
Eggshell
Bubble Trouble

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