As cold as ‘Ice’

iceage

The Ice Age films are remembered for me by my complete inability to remember anything about them.

Honestly, even at this third go-round, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, I found myself struggling to recall a single characters’ name, the previous plots, or anything substantial about the films whatsoever. I did not find them offensive to the senses, as I had the last two Shrek films or the Madagascar sequel. But there was just nothing notable aside from the occasional Wile E. Coyote-esque interludes of the put-upon pre-historic squirrel known as Scrat.

And so it will most likely continue in a few years when the inevitable Ice Age 4: Hominid Hoedown (or whatever it will be called) hits the screen, as I will have no recollection of anything that transpires in this latest installment of the franchise after sending this review off to my esteemed editor. It is not because I wish to purge it from my memory, or that I regret having spent viewing this. It is just that there is no “there” there. And for a film that frenetically (some may say desperately) tries to get its audiences’ attention, the fact remains that this third outing will be recalled only for its increased price tag (it cost a few dollars extra for the special glasses that had to be worn throughout).

The film is created by Fox’s Blue Sky Animation division, which recently released the utterly charming Horton Hears a Who,  just two years ago. And perhaps it was the fact that it used the good Dr. Seuss as source material, but that film was filled with numerous indelible moments.

Not so, here.

A number of writers find another reason for this pre-historic herd of misfits to band together again. I cannot recall directly, but here is what I do remember: this time Somethingerother, the mammoth mouthed by Ray Ramano and The Female One, his wifey, voiced by Queen Latifah are expecting, which causes tension between their friends, Weasel Guy, that goofy,googly-eyed whatsit voiced by John Leguizamo and Whatizname, that saber-toothed tiger voiced by Denis Leary (not sure if all the names are correct, but you get the idea). Scuffles ensue. Friendships are tested and a few other new-but-slight characters are added to the mix before things come to a safe, comfortable, completely forgettable conclusion.

The jokes feel grafted from funnier films, the new creatures borrowed from better films (the Simon Pegg-voiced creature bears a striking resemblance to Shrek‘s Puss in Boots). None of it feels like blatant pilferage, nor does it feel necessary. It just is. The only difference here is that now it “is” in 3-D.

When speaking recently with a friend after both having watched Pixar’s Up, we were in agreement that while some younger children may have felt bored during stretches off the film, it is one that will grow along with them. For each stage of their life, they will be able to peel layers back and discover the story from a fresh perspective. Ice Age 3 (and the series in general), with its marginal humor, bland creatures and by-the-numbers stories, will likely not have the same luxury. In fact, soon after leaving the theater, its likely that any remembrances of the film will quickly become extinct.

~ by usesoapfilm on July 6, 2009.

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