Back are the familiar herd from Ice Age: The Meltdown for a pretty charming if forced narrative involving a “mystery” world of dinosaurs in this third installment of the animated series Ice Age. Sid (John Leguizamo), the beloved and simpleminded sloth steals three eggs of an unknown species anticipating and jealous of the forthcoming birth of his “brother,” the son of his elephant leader Manny (Ray Ramano) and his “wife,” Ellie (Queen Latifah). The eggs hatch and out come three baby tyrannosaurus rex, whoops. Mommy rex finds the young and snatches them back along with Sid. Thus begins the journey of Sid’s herd to rescue him – not before stumbling into a new world conveniently connected with the ice age by a simple pass-through – with all sorts of plant eating and meat eating dinosaurs on the other side.
The other familiar protagonists are there and I won’t name them here. What follows are textbook anticipatory scenes of pre-labor (with elephants), trysts between squirrels Scrat and Scratte over that dastardly acorn and scenes of strife involving the dinosaurs climaxing with a really fantastic sequence involving a huge pterodactyl. Enter new key character Buck (a scene stealing Simon Pegg), the wily pirate weasel, to save the day.
As I said, the conditions creating the world for the drama feel pretty forced (and so for the kind and gentle mother rex) but the film is charming kid fare and a 3rd sequel is an inevitability.
*** / *****