Like most sequels, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs does not live up to the earlier Ice Age movies. In my opinion, the movies have been descending the scale, with the original Ice Age being by far the most engrossing. Even Ice Age: the Meltdown was pretty good. This latest one is like a badly engineered clone, retaining some of the core of the first two movies but little of their adorableness and interesting plotlines.
The movie retains the main characters from the last two movies: the mammoths Manny and Ellie are going to have a baby, Diego is scared he’s losing his touch, the possums Chuck and Eddie are as annoying as ever, and Sid is the same stupid lovable sloth. There are a few lovely cuddly baby creatures added in, a courageous but eccentric weasel and (you guessed it!) lots of scary dinosaurs. I wished we had seen much more of Diego, who I’d always found the most complex and interesting character – but he’s relegated way to the side.
The movie is so obviously a fantasy that you know everything is going to come right in the end, that however many dangers (and giant dinosaurs!) the friends are pitted against, at the end they are going to be back in their safe, happy world. Even the play area Manny had lovingly created for his to-come-soon baby and which is wrecked through Sid’s unintentional but unbelievably stupid actions, miraculously becomes whole again in the end.
The movie does provide a few laughs, and the animation is great. A nice way to spend a couple of hours, but little stays with you after you leave the cinema.