Radio 07.17.09
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a film now showing at the Majestic Theater in Greenville .
“Ice Age:  Dawn Of The Dinosaurs” is a computer-graphic animation movie featuring some well-known voice talents, like Ray Romano and Queen Latifah.  It sounds a bit ungrateful to complain when they go to all this effort to produce a movie that’s suitable for all ages, that contains nothing objectionable for children, and strives to emphasize positive qualities like caring for each other, accepting individual differences, and never abandoning your friends, especially if they might be in danger.  We should be rooting for a film like this, right?  Well, yes, we ought to be recommending it without reservation.  But to be honest, it’s not perfect.  Though the animation is quite professional, the weird creatures intended as heroes don’t seem to resemble anything in nature as we know it.  True, saber-tooth tigers and mastodons are extinct, as are dinosaurs, and I’m not even going to get picky about how historically they were of different eras (whoops, I just did).  They all seem to be trying so desperately hard to be cute, that it comes across as cloying, like they’re trying to force a laugh by just being silly.  And it just feels like they’re trying too hard.  The plot is about a sloth adopting some dinosaur eggs, somehow not understanding how the cute little tyrannosaurus chicks could be naturally carnivorous.  An angry Momma t-rex is understandably not happy with the kidnapping of her offspring, but in the end she apparently decides that the sloth would make a better mascot than a snack.  The sloth’s buddies are all trying to rescue him from the parallel world existing below the ice at their feet, and we’re supposed to enjoy both their eventual success and their intervening adventures.  But the whole effort just seems sort of listless.  In order for animation to succeed in capturing the imagination, the story has to be really compelling, and this one, alas, is not.  It won’t hurt you any.  But it won’t excite or amaze or impress or plumb the depth of your emotions, either.  Like cold popcorn and warm cola, just kinda blah.
This is Ron Salfen, “At the Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM