Making the Grades
They’ve survived a confrontation with humans and lived through a meltdown, but now an oddball group of prehistoric mammals is about to encounter some really, really big rivals.
The Ice Age movies have always celebrated non-traditional families or, more accurately, herds. In the first film, a large wooly mammoth named Manny (voice by Ray Romano) teams up with Diego, a saber-tooth tiger (voice by Dennis Leary) and Sid the sloth (voice by John Leguizamo) in order to help a little lost human find his way back home. In Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, the unlikely trio is joined by another mammoth named Ellie (voice by Queen Latifah) and her two possum brothers (voices by Josh Peck and Seann William Scott) as they try to outrun an impending flood.
In this third installment, Manny and Ellie are now a couple with a baby on the way. The imminent arrival of his offspring sends this father-to-be into a baby-proofing frenzy where he tries to pad every sharp object in nature. Ellie’s pregnancy also impacts Sid, whose desire to be a "mother" has kicked into high gear. When the bumbling sloth unexpectedly stumbles upon three abandoned eggs, it seems the perfect solution to his parenting woes.
However when his hatchlings turn out to be dinosaurs, things at the local playground get a little rough for the other kids at the park. And it gets even worse when the Tyrannosaurs Rex momma shows up in search of her brood. Snatching up Sid along with her progeny, she lumbers off through a hidden passage that leads to a lost world hundreds of feet below the surface of the earth.
Unwilling to let Sid become lunch for a hungry carnivore, Manny and the rest of his herd head underground to rescue their friend. Luckily while there, the group meets a slightly unstable weasel named Buck (voice by Simon Pegg) who agrees to steer them through this strange and precarious locale.
Their adventures result in frequent peril for the characters who are chased by dinosaurs, caught on a river of lava and thrown from cliffs. They also experience danger when the biggest reptile in the underworld begins to stalk them and their guide.
This movie’s increased amount of action and snarling, red-eyed predators may be too intense for very young viewers. Though the film provides a mixture of child and parent-oriented humor, there are also several moments of sexual innuendo and crude references to body functions.Yet like the other films in this franchise, this pack of prehistoric critters are willing to open up their hearts and their herd to anyone who wants to join.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
How do female and male communications styles differ in this film? Do you think those portrayals are true to life?
How does impending fatherhood affect Manny? What impact does Ellie’s pregnancy have on the other members of the "herd"?