Aside from Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios (a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox) would probably be under the “rest of” category in terms of computer animation companies. Some of their highlights include Robots (2005), Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and of course Ice Age (2002) and its sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006). Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will be the third of the series and Blue Sky’s fifth full-length animated feature. I’ve never seen the first two Ice Age films because I have a personal bias toward Pixar, but they have always been intriguing to me. They’ve just never been much of a priority for me to see.
The story once again focuses around a group of prehistoric animals that managed to return a baby human to his tribe (Ice Age) and survived a meltdown (Ice Age: The Meltdown). This time around, they discover that a group of dinosaurs have survived extinction and are living underneath the ice in a tropical utopia. They decide to explore the region, but soon get themselves in trouble with a T-rex. Sid (John Leguizamo, The Pest), a sloth, is captured by the T-rex and it’s up to Manny (Ray Romano, “Everybody Love Raymond”), a woolly mammoth, Diego (Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”), a saber-toothed tiger, Ellie (Queen Latifah, Chicago) a female mammoth and Scrat, a saber-toothed squirrel (director Chris Wedge, Robots) to rescue him. They also meet Buck (Simon Pegg, Star Trek) a weasel, to help assist with the rescue. During this time, Manny and Ellie are expecting their first mammoth calf and Scrat falls in love with his female counterpart, Scratte (Karen Disher, director of Daria).
The movie also co-stars Seann William Scott (Role Models) and Josn Peck (The Wackness) as Eddie and Crash, two twin opossums. Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier co-direct Ice Age and Saldanha was also responsible for directing the prior installation of Ice Age. Thurmeier was the supervising animator for the last one as well. The screenplay was co-written by Michael Berg and Peter Ackerman who both had previously collaborated on the first Ice Age script.
Ice Age looks mildly amusing since it does draw you in with the cuteness of the characters, but how many Ice Age movies do we really need? When I first heard of another sequel, my first reaction resulted in an eye-roll. I’m assuming Fox wants to suck as much money from the series as it can, despite the last movie only getting mixed reviews. Yes, Pixar is making a third Toy Story, but Ice Age would never have existed has it not been for Toy Story. This should be a huge hit for kids and families, but let’s just after this the Ice Age franchise will go extinct before it wears itself too thin.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opens July 1st.