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Ice Age 3

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the latest installment of the popular animated series that follows the adventures of an unusual prehistoric herd comprised of Manny the Mammoth (voiced by Ray Ramano), his mammoth wife Ellie (Queen Latifah),  Diego the Sabre-Toothed Tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the the Sloth (John Leguizamo).

Manny and Ellie are pregnant, and Manny is in a constant state of excitement and worry -- dashing about with hot water in a tortoise shell. Diego is less excited, wondering where exactly he fits into the herd, and ends up heading off on his own. Sid, voiced wonderfully by Leguizamo starts the plot rolling when he finds three eggs in a frozen crevasse.

Naturally, the well-meaning sloth decides to hatch the eggs himself, in order to better emulate Manny and Ellie's own soon-to-be family. When the eggs hatch, however, Sid is faced with three adorable (and hungry) tyrannosaur babies, who quickly become a problem.

Before long Manny, Sid and even Diego are swept down into a tropical, subterranean world where dinosaurs still rule supreme -- well, with the exception of the greatest weasel who ever lived, Buck (voiced by Simon Pegg) - a castaway from the frozen upper world who has managed to survive the savage underworld, but may have gone insane in the process. Part Robinson Crusoe but owing a lot to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, Buck the Super Weasel leads the cast through this strange new world.

The visuals are (as expected) top notch, and the 3-D effects are used to great advantage. There's a dash of scatalogical humor here and there for the children - plenty of fart jokes, milking of male animals, etc. -- and Scratte the rat-like creature ever-questing after his acorn is also present, ready to pay homage to Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote. This time around, Scratte's affections are torn between the acorn and a female of his own species. As in the previous films, the rat can fall from any height whatsoever, leaving only a silhouette-shaped hole wherever he lands.

Ice Age 3 is solid family entertainment, and it's surprisingly action-packed for this kind of movie. There are rescues, escapes, and some scary creatures in the film, which might upset some very young viewers. The 3-D visuals are put to especially good use in an aerial sequence over a river of lava. It's a fun film, but mainly aimed at children with some inside humor here and there for adults. While it is very good, it doesn't reach the depth or complexity of narrative seen in UP, which felt more like an adult movie masquerading as a children's film.

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