Ice Age 3 Review: Jurassic Lark

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews


ICE AGE 3: On general release from Wednesday 3rd July

As anyone who’s visited the crumbling ruins of the Nebraska State Pog & Pokemon Museum will soberly advise, even the coolest of childrens’ fads are all too fleeting.

And they’re the lucky ones – the memorial to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Tokyo Furby landfill disaster of 2007 isn’t far off completion.

So, blasphemous as it may appear, it’s clear that even the box-office dominating Ice Age franchise will likely wither away into the hazy, fragmented teenage memories of even the most crazed 21st century tween.

But let’s face it, when it comes to timeless, innately cool childhood adulation, dinosaurs are up there with the Fonz and Jedis. Which is why the third in the franchise not only manages to claw its way back from cinematic extinction, but it does so roaring.

Woolly mammoths Ellie and Manny are up the duff, saber-toothed tiger Diageo is contemplating the loner life, and slow sidekick Sid is broody enough to consider nabbing a couple of T-Rex eggs to scratch his broody itch.

Sid’s well-intentioned surrogacy inevitably leads the gang into an adventure to recover the kidnapped sloth, venturing into a hidden underground world with enough dinosaurs to make Attenborough excited and, more than likely, a little aroused.

Swap a donkey for a sloth, a dragon for a dinosaur, and a couple of fugly ogres for some fuzzy mammoths and you’ve got Shrek 3 repurposed for the cretaceous era.

But whereas Shrek 3 limped its way into the trilogy club with a smarmy, self-indulgent load of old paff, Ice Age 3 succeeds by ploughing ahead with the most important ingredient in kids’ movies: bright, brash and carefree entertainment.

While it may be as historically and scientifically accurate as an episode of Primeval, after the visual and narrative repetition of the sequel, the relocation to a dinosaur world is a hugely welcome change in tone that harks back to the fantastical exploration films of Land of the Lost and The Land Before Time.

By this point, the motley crew’s characters are so defined and well-loved that they’re almost overshadowed by the newest addition, Buckfast, a one-eyed survivalist weasel who has been living in the land of the dinos for several years.

Simon Pegg continues his understated rise to Hollywood Royalty with his portrayal of Bucky and the way in which he’s able to make a schizophrenic, shellshocked and disabled cyclops a kid-friendly fuzzy-wuzzy for the whole family to enjoy.

An anthropomorphic Captain Ahab, Buck’s fanatic quest to inflict vengeance on the giant albino dinosaur that injured him years before is a great subplot that entertains and contrasts the main drama of Ellie’s pregnancy with energetic verve and leads to some great setpieces.

For fans of the series and characters, it’s a great addition. For everyone else, it’s a hugely entertaining, old-school family romp that fills the gap in the seemingly eternal wait for Pixar’s Up.

Matt Risley

COMPETITION PLUG, COMPETITION PLUG: Head over to our Ice Age comp for funtastic goodie bags! Ice Age not your thing? Or just want to scope out the alternative? Check out reviews of the gloriously creepy Coraline, the surprisingly great Night at the Museum 2, and the genre-crush that was Monsters Vs. Aliens…..

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