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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, also known as Ice Age 3, is a 3-D computer animated film. It is the third installment of the Ice Age series, produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. A sneak preview was shown in selected theaters on Father's Day in the United Statesmarker. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, and Chris Wedge. The story has Sid being taken by a female Tyrannosaurus rex after stealing her eggs, leading the rest of the protagonists to rescue him in a tropical lost world inhabited by dinosaurs beneath the ice.

The film was released in RealD where available. The release sparked some controversy when Fox announced that it would no longer pay to supply 3D glasses to theaters, which led to a number of exhibitors threatening to only show the film in standard 2D projection. Despite mixed reviews by critics, Dawn of the Dinosaurs became the second highest grossing animated film of all time with $874.5 million worldwide.

Plot

Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Manny (Ray Romano) are expecting their first child, and Manny is obsessed with making life perfect and safe for the family, since his first experiences as a husband and father went bad when his family was killed by hunters. At the same time, Diego (Denis Leary) finds himself unable to catch a cocky gazelle (Bill Hader) he has been stalking and decides to leave the herd, believing that he is losing his predatory nature as a tiger. Sid (John Leguizamo) grows jealous of Manny and Ellie and “adopts” three apparently abandoned eggs that he finds in an icy underground cavern and call them Eggbert, Shelly, and Yoko. Manny tells him to put them back, but Sid instead looks after the eggs, which hatch into baby Tyrannosaurus the next morning.

Although Sid tries his best to raise the three dinosaurs, their rambunctious behavior scares away all the other animals’ young and ruins a playground Manny built for Ellie’s baby. A female Tyrannosaurus, Momma, whose eggs Sid stole, soon returns and carries both Sid and her young underground, with Diego in pursuit. Manny, Ellie, Crash, and Eddie (Seann William Scott, Josh Peck) follow as well and discover that the icy cavern leads to a vast jungle populated by dinosaurs thought to be extinct. Here, an Ankylosaurus threatens the herd despite Diego’s efforts to fend it off; they are saved from a further crowd of angry reptiles by an insane, one-eyed weasel named Buckminster, or Buck (Simon Pegg).

Buck has been living in this jungle for some time and is chasing Rudy (a huge albino Baryonyx), intending to avenge the eye he lost to it. He agrees to lead the herd through the jungle’s perils to Lava Falls, where Momma has taken Sid and her babies. In the meantime, Sid and Momma try to outdo each other in feeding the offspring; he loses this contest, but is soon welcomed into the family regardless. The next day, however, Sid is separated from the family and attacked by Rudy. Sid is knocked onto a loose rock slab that is floating on a river of lava and about to plummet over the falls.

As the herd moves toward Lava Falls, Ellie goes into labor and a Guanlong pack strikes, causing a rock slide that separates her from Manny and Diego. Manny doubles back to protect her and Diego fends off further attacks, while Buck takes Crash and Eddie ahead to rescue Sid. Just as he goes over the falls, the trio swoops in on a commandeered Pteranodon only to been chased by a flock of Quetzalcoatlus on the way and saves his life. Manny reaches Ellie, and there is suddenly a reaction, the cry of a newborn baby, then he sees that it is a girl. He wants to name her Ellie, or Little Ellie, but Ellie instead names her Peaches after the fruit (and the codeword they had chosen for Ellie to use if she went into labor during the trip). Sid is saddened at the fact that he never had a chance to say goodbye to "his" children as he returns to the herd and learns of Peaches' birth.

Before they can exit the jungle, Rudy attacks at full force; Buck lures Rudy away from the group and is nearly eaten himself, before Diego saves him at the last second. They then ensnare him briefly, but he escapes and resumes his onslaught. The herd is saved by the timely arrival of Momma, who charges at Rudy and knocks him off a cliff before roaring her victory. As she and her children wish Sid well, Buck – now without a purpose in life since Rudy is gone – decides to join the herd and live on the surface. However, a distant roar tells him that Rudy is still alive; he changes his mind and sends the herd home, blocking off the path to the underground jungle at the same time so that no one else can go down there. Manny and Ellie welcome Peaches into their frozen world and admit that Sid did a good job looking after Momma's children (though Manny tells Diego that he will never let Sid babysit Peaches). Diego decides to remain with the herd, while Buck stays where he wants to be: underground, battling it out with Rudy.

Development

Blue Sky decided to do "more of a what-if adventure" in the third Ice Age installment, titled Ice Age: A New Beginning, "like finding the giant ape in King Kong or a Shangri-la in the middle of snow," and added the dinosaurs to the story. Character designer Peter de Sève welcomed the new plot addition, since he could not think of any other giant mammal to put into the story. The "lost world" approach led to colorful dinosaurs, because "the dinosaurs didn't have to be just brown, and you can take liberties because no one knows what color they were", according to de Sève. Rudy's design was inspired by the Baryonyx because of his crocodile-like look, which de Sève considered even more menacing than the T. rex.

The film's original trailer debuted with the film Horton Hears a Who! on March 14, 2008, then online on April 7, 2008. There are three others that have been released, with the third and fourth (which shows Buck) being the most closely resembling each other. Queen Latifah recorded a cover of the song "Walk the Dinosaur".

Reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. As of August 12, 2009, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 44% of critics gave positive reviews based on 140 reviews with an average score of 5.4/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 37% based on 27 reviews. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, the film has an average score of 51% based on 23 reviews.

However, Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half stars out of four claiming that " Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the best of the three films about our friends in the inter-species herd of plucky prehistoric heroes. And it involves some of the best use of 3-D I've seen in an animated feature." Lou Lumenik of the New York Post awarded the film 3 stars stating that the film is "much more of an emphasis on action in this nicely crafted, fast-paced sequel." Keith Phipps of the A.V. Club graded the film a C+ claiming the sequel "throws its commitment to the era away with movie number three, a ploy sure to anger Ice Age purists everywhere." Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer enjoyed the "film's animation art is Seuss-imaginative", but panned "the flatness of the story and indifferent voicework all the more obvious."

Box office

The film made $13,791,157 on its opening day in 4,099 theaters. It reached approximately $42,320,877 on its opening weekend. Studio estimates showed it tying last week's champion Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but the actual grosses showed Transformers as the victor for that weekend. It grossed $66 million after 5 days, $151.7 million internationally for a total of $218.4 for the first week, breaking The Simpsons Movie's $170.9 million record for biggest opening worldwide for an animated film and 9th overall. The film was a box-office success, and became 20th Century Fox's highest grossing film of 2009.

It currently stands at $196 million domestically and $682.2 million overseas which gives it a worldwide gross of $878.2 million. It is the second highest-grossing film of behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the 16th highest grossing film of all time and the second highest gross for an animation, behind Shrek 2. The film also took the place of Titanic as the biggest all-time box office hit in Bulgaria and Brazil. The film currently holds the third highest international gross of all time, following Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Video game

The Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs video game from Activision was released on the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Games for Windows, and Nintendo DS on June 30, 2009. A demo was made available in the Xbox Live Marketplace on June 15, 2009.

References

  1. ‘Ice Age 3’ Climbs to Lofty Foreign Milestone


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