Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
3-D sequel is fun but also more intense than past films.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie may spark a real interest in prehistoric animals, particularly dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and sloths.
The movie offers a positive message about what it takes to be a "herd" or family -- no one gets left behind, new members are welcome, and everyone has a place. Teamwork and courage are themes.
Positive Role Models
Ellie -- a strong female character who knows when to assert herself despite protestations from her male partner and friends that she's not capable of defending herself -- is a lovely role model. Buck, although a loner, sacrifices a future with friends to defend them. A dinosaur and a sloth learn to care for each other, showing that affection doesn't depend on what you look like on the outside.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of cartoonish violence -- some humorous (all of the acorn antics with Scrat, the baby T-Rexes swallowing their friends, etc.) and some potentially frightening (various dinosaurs chase the protagonists, threatening to injure them). For the most part, the dinosaurs don't do any damage except to Buck, who lost an eye to Rudy, the meanest, biggest dinosaur in the movie. The audience doesn't actually see Buck lose his eye, but Rudy is a scary-looking dinosaur, and the raptors are intense as well. The characters deal with several close calls.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The male and female Scrat flirt with each other and eventually pair off. Manny and Ellie, now mates, are expecting a baby and are quite sweet to each other, hugging and locking trunks. A couple of jokes involving Sid mistaking an animal's gender -- in one case he tries to "milk" an animal that turns out to be male; in another, he thinks a baby mammoth is a boy until Diego points out that "that's a tail."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Mild insults (usually directed at Sid) and some scatological jokes about the dinosaurs ("poop," "barf," etc.).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third installment in the Ice Age franchise. It's likely to appeal to kids (even the preschool set) as much as the first two. That said, it's the first one in 3-D, so some scenes -- especially the ones featuring dinosaurs -- may be a bit more intense. There's lots of cartoonish violence, mostly involving Scrat and his new female friend (they also flirt and kiss, which is the extent of the movie's romance). Language is mild, but there's some scatological humor ("barf" and "poop"), as well as suspense concerning the main characters' ability to get out of harm's way.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Based on 52 parent reviews
Unnecessary Sexy Parts
Report this review
Great movie for people who aren’t easily offended
Report this review
What's the Story?
The prehistoric pals from the first two Ice Age movies are back in ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS, and now their inter-species herd is about to grow. Wooly mammoth Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah) is expecting a baby, turning partner Manny (Ray Romano) into an overprotective, nervous father-to-be. Meanwhile, saber-toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary) realizes that he's lost his edge when he can't even capture easy prey and decides to leave the overly domesticated herd. And Sid (John Leguizamo), who's worried he won't belong when the baby arrives, takes matters into his own hands and swipes three eggs he finds under the ice. The triplets turn out to be baby T-rexes -- who have an understandably angry mama. The gang must band together to save Sid from the clutches of the underground dinosaur world that thrives just below their own icy surface.
Is It Any Good?
While the first two Ice Age films were humorous character studies of unlikely prehistoric friends, the "threequel" is less compelling than its predecessors and much more about the action. Audiences already know how the main characters interact, so the focus shifts to the dangerous search for Sid and the obstacles that Manny, Diego, Ellie, and her nitwit twin "brothers" (Josh Peck, Seann William Scott) face. This works fine for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs' 3-D scenes, but in the process the movie loses a tiny bit of the franchise's humor and heart.
The only memorable new additions are Buck (British comic actor Simon Pegg), a hermitic warrior weasel who guides the crew to Sid, and the three dinosaur babies, who can't play well with their Ice Age friends (a playground scene hilariously turns into an unlikely feast as the triplets swallow their new playmates). And arguably the best new character doesn't utter a single word: Scrat's love interest, Scratte, a winged female creature who desires that elusive acorn just as much as her beloved. Scrat and that acorn are the perfect animated example of physical comedy, and their scenes alone are worth a trip to the multiplex.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Famiies can talk about Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs's central message about having an unconventional herd/family. What defines a family? And should it matter what a person looks like in order to be their friend?
Families can also discuss how the violence compares to that of other movies meant for young kids. Was the 3-D too intense?
Also, how did some of the characters act differently than you expected, like the weasel Buck and the mama dinosaur? And even Ellie, though she's pregnant, is no weakling. How does her character portray females?
How do the characters in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs demonstrate teamwork and courage? Why are these important character strengths?
- In theaters: July 1, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: October 27, 2009
- Cast: Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Ray Romano
- Director: Carlos Saldanha
- Inclusion Information: Latinx directors, Latinx actors, Black actors
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Adventures, Friendship, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild rude humor and peril
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Animated Animal Movies
Best Family Comedy Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate