Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are having a baby and Sid (John Leguizamo) wants to help, but he’s not exactly good with kids. Sid finds some eggs underground he decides to raise them, but when they turn out to be dinosaur eggs and their mother is looking for them. In order to retrieve their friend Sid from the new monstrous threat, the herd has to travel into the treacherous underground world of the dinosaurs.
Finally, one of these got it right. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it takes most of the things I really hated about the first two movies and does them right for the first time in the franchise. This third installment goes straight through with one basic, acceptably balanced story, unlike the other films where the story was incidental in order to throw in a bunch of cheap laughs. Here they’re able to work the humor into the story and make it actually amusing. There were moments for the first time out of these films where I was actually laughing, hard, at some of their jokes. Unfortunately they can’t all be gems though and a majority of the humor falls flat. At the very least it’s a lot less mean-spirited than the last two.
I really do not like the new character they added, a weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg). He’s supposed to have lost his mind but they play him too crazy and it just gets annoying, though he does get a couple really good lines. Eddie (Josh Peck) and Crash (Seann William Scott) are back and easily the worst thing here, just as in the last movie, but even they got one good laugh out of me near the end. I think the biggest change is Sid, who finally finds balance between characterization and comedy sidekick material. Because he’s a much bigger part of the story, his humor works to the advantage of the overall enjoyment of the film, rather than as an obstacle that the rest of the film has to try to overcome. Despite what it may sound like, I have never really hated the three main characters of this franchise, but my problem has always been that they just didn’t use them properly. Here, they made Sid endearing and lovable and funny, and that’s all I ever asked. Here’s hoping in the future they’re able to make Manny and Diego (Denis Leary) a lot more enjoyable too.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs brings the franchise a couple steps in the right direction. It’s funny, it’s exciting and best of all it’s structured like an actual story for once. So far this is the only of the films I would actually recommend.