The Ice Age gang are back for a new adventure which, while not as sharp and clever as a lot of CGI animation around these days, is the perfect thing to sit an enjoy if you've got young children.
The plot this time sees mammoths Manny (Romano) and Ellie (Latifah) awaiting the birth of their baby, while sabre-toothed tiger Diego (Leary) is slowing down and wonders if he's growing too soft. Meanwhile sloth Sid (Leguizamo) is feeling a little left out in the family stakes, and so he adopts three eggs he finds in a cave – cleverly naming them Eggbert, Shelly and Yoko. The eggs hatch ... into baby tyrannosaurs, and before long their real mother comes looking for them – whereupon she snatches up her brood, along with Sid, and heads into an undergrond cavern. Diego, Manny and the gang head down to rescue Sid, and discover a mysterious underground world, filled with prehistoric creatures ... and a somewhat mad, one-eyed weasel named Buck (Pegg).
If you've seen the first two Ice Age films, then you'll know what to expect from this one. It follows pretty much the same path, invoking the golden rule "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" – someone's in trouble (usually Sid), there's a rescue required and a journey involved. JUst like there's a formula to rom-coms to keep their intended audiences happy, so it is with the Ice Age films. Most of the characters take a bit of a back seat to Sid this time, and Simon Pegg's Buck is pretty scene-dominating once he shows up, too. But that';s not a bad thing, for it's in these two that most of the fun and laughs lie in this outing. Oh, that strange acorn-obsessed squirrel, Scrat, is back too (this joke is really geting tired now) and this time there's a love interest for him.
The film is available for viewing in 3D, but unlike many of the terrific 3D offerings available this year (such as DreamWorks' recent Monsters v Aliens, and Pixar's forthcoming Up) this one was actualy made in 2D and then just re-rendered in 3D. And as such, the 3D is pretty lacklustre and really adds nothing to the film – save your money and take the kids along to the 2D version, you're really not missing much! But the animation, as always, is up to scratch and with somne decent laughs to be had, it's not a bad way to kill 90 minutes if your kids have dragged you along.
EXTRAS *** Like many Fox Home Entertainment releases of late, Ice Age 3 comes as a triple pack Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy - so you're getting three copies of the film, which is not a bad deal. As for the extras, it's a pretty decent collection. First up, as always, is the filmmakers audio commentary, and this one has a cast of several: directors Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier, producers John Donkin and Lori Forte, art director Michael Knapp, character designer Peter DeSève and some bloke who says he's the supervising animator but isn't listed in the credits, so we haven't included him. Then there's a lot of fun stuff for the kids, such as: an Ice Age Storybook Maker; the featurettes Buck’s Survival Guide Fun Fossilized Factoids, Evolution Expedition, Buck From Easel to Weasel, Unearthing the Lost World, and Falling for Scratte; two deleted scenes; a Walk the Dinosaur music video; three shorts (Surviving Sid, Gone Nutty and No Time for Nuts); plus three Fox Movie Channel puff pieces: In Character with Ray Romano, In Character with Queen Latifah, and Making a Scene.