Directed by: Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier
Written by:Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Yoni Brenner
Starring: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg
Released: July 1, 2009
Grade: B

The school holidays are upon us and the big family release for the period is Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs.  None of the films in the Ice Age series are targeted at single guys like me but I can recognise quality entertainment when I see it.  At the preview screening I attended, kids were lapping it up.  This fresh adventure is easy to follow and has a few nice jokes.

It all begins when Sid the sloth (well-voiced by John Leguizamo) discovers three eggs in an underground cavern.  He takes care of the eggs himself… until they hatch into baby dinosaurs.  Not long after, their mother arrives on the scene and takes Sid and her three newborns off to a hidden world beneath the ice.  Manny, Ellie and Diego now must go in search of Sid and help rescue him.

Guiding them on their journey is a brave weasel named Buck (voiced by Englishman Simon Pegg).  Buck once came face-to-face with the most fearsome dinosaur of all and lived to tell the tale.  He loves danger and loves excitement.

I’ve dropped a few hints already but one of the strongest features of the Ice Age movies are the voices created by the cast.  Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo have created four memorable, likeable characters.  They’ve not as over-the-top as those from the Madagascar series.

The problem this series faces is that it is starting to look a little tired.  I don’t think this screenplay is as sharp and well defined as the original film.  Three movies are enough and I hope they don’t have any plans for a fourth.  I’d like to see the animation team at 20th Century Fox tackle something new.