Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Movie Poster Image
3-D sequel is fun but also more intense than past films.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 87 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 46 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 52 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie may spark a real interest in prehistoric animals, particularly dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and sloths.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Sexy Stuff

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."

Language

Mild insults (usually directed at Sid) and some scatological jokes about the dinosaurs ("poop," "barf," etc.).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 6 year old Written byachilleseffect July 10, 2009

Extreme Gender Bias

My problem with this movie lies in the gender stereotypes it perpetuates. First, there are too few female characters. Second, the ones that are present are hi... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 year old Written byLB2010 June 17, 2010

Not my favorite

I didn't like it when I took my 5yr old to see it. The T-Rex was scary. The jokes and innuendo about homosexuality were un-funny. The language was not cool... Continue reading
Kid, 6 years old July 2, 2009

ok, but not good

I can't believe that in a movie that is made for kids, they are shoving the gay agenda down their throats. Since when is it ok for this stuff to be shown t... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 7, 2011

Fine movie, great 3D.

The movie itself is OK, but the 3D is amazing!!

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?

Movie details

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