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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 27, 2009 by  



“Hilarious, fun and the best ‘Ice Age’ film yet!  Beautiful on Blu-ray and features an immersive lossless soundtrack. Definitely a CG animated film worth having in your Blu-ray collection!”

TITLE: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

DURATION: 94 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 1:85:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, AVC@36 MBPS, Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin

RATED: PG (Some Mild Rude Humor and Peril)

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2009

Directed by Carlos Saldanha and Mike Thurmeier

Based on a story by Jason Carter Eaton

Screenplay by Peter Ackerman, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner and Mike Reiss

Produced by John C. Donkin, Lori Forte

Music by John Powell

Art Direction by Mike Knapp

Featuring the voices of:

Queen Latifah as Elli

Denis Leary as Diego

John Leguizamo as Sid

Josh Peck as Eddie

Sean William Scott as Crash

Simon Pegg as Buck

Ray Romano as Manny

Kristin Wiig as Pudgy Beaver Mom

Eunice Cho as Madison

Karen Disher as Scratte

Harrison Fahn as Glypto Boy

Maile Flanagan as Aardvark Mom

Jason Fricchione as Adult Molehog Male

Allegra as Leguizamo as Aardvark Girl

Bill Hader as Gazelle

Kelly Keaton as Molehog Mom/Shovelmouth Mom

Joey King as Beaver Girl

In the coolest Ice Age adventure yet, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T. rex who’s got a score to settle with Sid! Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart – or steal his acorn?

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” marks the third CG animated film for 20th Century Fox via Fox’s CGI division Blue Sky Studios and the third “Ice Age” film directed by Carlos Saldanha (also directed “Robots” and “Gone Nutty”).  The film is co-directed by Mike Thurmeier (“Horton Hears a Who”, “Robots”, “Gone Nutty”) and a story by Jason Carter Eaton and a screenplay by Pete Ackerman, Michael Berg (both worked on previous “Ice Age” films), Yoni Brenner and Mike Reiss (“The Simpsons”, The Critic”, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”).  Music is composed by John Powell (“X-Men: The Last Stand”, “United 93”, “Kung Fu Panda”).

Back in 2002, the original “Ice Age” film focused on the friendship between creatures Manny the woolly mammoth (voice over by Ray Romano, “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Sid the weird looking, not-so-bright and clumsy ground sloth (voiced by John Leguizamo, “ER”, “Miracle at St. Anna”, “Titan A.E.”) and the saber-toothed tiger (aka smilodon) named Diego (voiced by Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”).  Also, seen outside of the main core of the group is side-story featuring a squirrel known as Scrat who has a passion towards acorns.

With the first film focusing on the migration to avoid the Ice Age and the main character’s friendship, the second film “Ice Age: The Meltdown” (2006) features the melting of the ice and focuses on Manny finding another wooly mamoth named Ellie (voice by Queen Latifah, “Mad Money”, “Chicago”).

This time around for the third film “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”, Ellie is now pregnant and is soon to give birth.  Being the worried and concerned father, Manny is highly anticipating the birth of his child and each kick, he often accidentally tells the whole herd that Ellie is about to give birth.

Meanwhile, his friends are not in a better place. Diego is getting older and feels that he is not the agile fighter as he once was as he now gets dizzy and can’t even chase after his prey like he once used to. So, Diego feels as if he has to leave home. Sid feels alone now that his best friend has other responsibilities.  As for the nutty squirrel known as Scrat, upon discovering his beloved acorn, he becomes smitten with a female squirrel named Scratte who is also passionate for the acorn.

Manny creates a playground for his upcoming child and surprises Ellie with it.  Meanwhile, Sid feeling that he has no one ends up falling through a hole and discovering three eggs.  Wanting to be a parent himself, he brings the three eggs to the village.  Because of the size, Manny tells Sid to return the eggs back to its mother but Sid of course has other plans.  Not wanting to be alone, he ends up sleeping with the eggs and when hatched, three baby Tyrannosaurus Rex’s come out and Sid becomes the designated “mother” for the three which he names Eggbert, Shelly and Yoko.

Excited about being a parent, he tries to introduce to his new children to his friends but instead brings the three to Manny’s playground (which was supposed to be for Manny and Ellie’s child).  The kids of the village then join in on the fun and because of the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s nature, they begin to roughhouse the children and end up swallowing a few of them.  Also, in the process…the three young dinosaurs end up destroying the playground.

Manny and Ellie arrive to find the destruction and Manny is upset that Sid didn’t listen to him and now the playground he built is destroyed.  To make things worse, the true mother of the three baby Tyrannosaurus Rex now wants her children back and leads the huge dinosaur right into their village.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex ends up getting her children back but with Sid not willing to give up the children, he is taken as well by the dinosaur.

Now Manny, Ellie, Diego along with the two weasels Crash (voiced by Seann William Scott, “American Pie” films) and Eddie (Josh Peck, “Drake & Josh”, “The Wackness”) end up going after the dinosaur to find Sid and find themselves away from the ice and into a new land where there is no snow and dinosaurs exist.  Not knowing how to survive around the dangerous dinosaurs, they run into a one-eyed weasel named Buck (voiced by Simon Pegg, “Hot Fuzz”, “Sean of the Dead”, “Star Trek”) who knows his way around the area.

So, the group try to survive the dangerous dinosaurs, tough terrain but most importantly trying to be careful for the nastiest dinosaur of them all…Rudy.

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” on Blu-ray comes with three discs.  The original Blu-ray is accompanied with the movie on DVD and also a digital copy.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray.  Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1, AVC@36 MBPS), I’m always impressed to see how hair/fur continues to look better and better via CG and the sheer detail found in each character and its surroundings are much more evident now than ever.  In fact, this is probably the most vibrant “Ice Age” film due to the fact that the film is taken outside of its ice habitat and into the land of the dinosaurs where there is a lot of lush plant life, sunlight, etc.  Overall, CG animated fans will love the picture quality of this film.  Sky Blue Studios did a fantastic job!

As for the audio, the film is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (also, Spanish, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital) and as fantastic as the picture quality was, the audio quality is just as magnificent.  Talk about an immersive soundtrack, dinosaur growls all around you and how its utilized through the surround and rear surround channels are nicely done. Front and center channels feature the dialogue and the music which are crystal clear.   Also, good use of LFE during the action sequences.

Both video and audio quality for “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur” receive high marks!  Fans of the film will definitely enjoy this Blu-ray release.

As for subtitles, subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio commentary – A commentary featuring Director Carlos Saldanha,  co-director Michael Thurmeier, producer Lori Forte, John C. Donkin and many more from the Bly Sky Studios crew.  Entertaining commentary with some interesting tidbits of behind-the-scenes making of the film.
  • Ice Age Storybook Maker – Using your remote, you can create a storybook for ages 1-5 (Bronze Age), 6-11 (Stone Age)  and 12 and up (Ice Age).
  • Evolution Expedition Featurette – (18:24) A tour through the George C. Page Museum at the Los Angeles LA Brea Discovery featuring Trevor Valle, Assistant Lab Supervisor.  Introduction to the predators at the zoo and how they relate to the characters in the film.
  • Buck: From Easel To Weasel Featurette – (7:12) The creation of Buck and how his character became to be.  And the various designs to create his character and more.
  • Unearthing the Lost World Featurette – (8:39) Behind-the-Scenes of “Ice Age”.  Interviews with cast and crew for “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”.  The sketches, the character designs, 3D animation, the voice acting and more.
  • Unfinished Deleted Scenes – (4:33) Featuring unfinished deleted scenes for “Mission” and “Headbutters”.  Although, the voice acting is heard, these are unfinished and are still in their B&W sketched out format with some animation.
  • “Walk the Dinosaur” Music Video – (1:32) A short music video clip of the characters performing to the song “Walk the Dinosaur”.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene (Ice Age: The Meltdown) – (9:20) Behind-the-scenes on the making of “Ice Age: The Meltdown” featuring interviews with the crew.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents In Character with John Leguizamo – (2:48) Interview with John Leguizamo about doing the voice of Sid the Sloth.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents In Character with Ray Romano – (3:22) Interview with Ray Romano about doing the voice of Manny the Mammoth.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents In Character with Queen Latifah – (3:06) Interview with Queen Latifah about doing the voice of Ellie the Mammoth.
  • BD LIVE – Live Lookup as powered by iMDb – (5:24) Scenes from “The Third Man” left untranslated to show Holly Martin’s confusion of the surroundings of postwar Vienna.
  • The Scrat Pack – (2:22) Included are the following shorts: “Gone Nutty: Scrat’s Missing Adventure” (4:44) and “No Time For Nuts” (6:50).  Both shorts are CG animated.
  • Scrat Featurettes

– The Sabre-Toothed Squirrel: Nature’s Nutty Buddy (1:46) – A parody of nature films feat. Scrat.

– Scrat: From Head to Toe (Drawing Tutorial) (8:22) – Peter De Seve teaches you how to draw Scrat

– Scrat: Breaking Story  -(1:50) A film-like featurette showing scientists discovering a million year old Ice Age animal known as Scrat.

– Scrat: News Report (2:28) – A continuation of the “Breaking Story” and featuring a news cast interview with the scientists about their discovery of Scrat and more.

– Falling For Scratte (8:29) – Crew talk about Scrat and why people love the character and why the creator’s created Scratte.

DVD:

The accompanying DVD comes with the filmmaker’s commentary featuring Director Carlos Saldanha,  co-director Michael Thurmeier, producer Lori Forte, John C. Donkin and many more from the Bly Sky Studio crew.  Entertaining commentary with some interesting tidbits of behind-the-scenes making of the film, trailers and a Marley meets Puppy Chow commercial.

I was actually quite pleased with “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”.  A fun screenplay, top notch animation and audio and voiced by an all-star cast, this is my favorite “Ice Age” film yet!  Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah do a fantastic job as they have in previous films.  But also, Josh Peck and Seann William Scott do a hilarious job as Eddie and Crash.  And Simon Pegg as the one-eyed weasel known as Buck does a fantastic job as well!

I was really impressed of how much detail was in the actual film.  To have the characters in a new setting outside of just ice was great and it really showcased the animation due to the fact that more colors and different characters can be utilized.  Blue Sky Studios did a fantastic job on this release.

As for the Blu-ray release, this is where Twentieth Century Fox also receives big kudos.  Similar to what Disney has done for their films, Twentieth Century Fox also included a DVD (for those long commutes for your children) and also a digital copy.  Also, there are plenty of special features and CG shorts included as well.  In fact, if you are a big fan of the character of Scrat, you are definitely going to enjoy this film!

Overall, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” is the best film of the series yet and an exciting and hilarious CG animated film to own on Blu-ray.  Highly recommended!






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