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Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Blu-ray and DVD)

Manufacturer: Fox Home Entertainment
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Here we go again… another adventure with our prehistoric pals Manny, Ellie, Diego, Sid, and Scrat (along with a couple of new characters) in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs from Fox Home Entertainment. Ice Age and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown were filled with adventure, excitement and loads of laughs – Ice Age 3 is no exception. This time there's more action and adventure along with a new weasel friend named Buck (portrayed by Simon Pegg). But more importantly, Scrat finds a girlfriend name Scratte… can you believe it?

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Putting aside the fact that dinosaurs are supposed to be extinct, Ice Age 3 provides another great story. This time things have settled down a bit with the gang living in a nice, peaceful location while Manny and Ellie are expecting their first baby mammoth. But now, Manny pays so much time and attention to Ellie and to getting ready for their newborn, that Diego and Sid no longer feel needed. Diego decides to leave the herd and go off on his own, while Sid manages to once again get himself into trouble so that Manny and the rest of the herd have to come to his rescue.

The dinosaurs come into the story when Sid stumbles upon an underground cave and finds three eggs, which he decides to adopt as his own. Unfortunately for him, they turn out to be dinosaur eggs and when the babies hatch, mommy dinosaur comes looking for them. Both the babies and Sid get taken back to the cave, which actually turns out to be an entire underground world that is shielded by the ice above and warmed from below by volcanic activity. So now, of course, Manny, Ellie, Diego, and the weasels go off to rescue Sid, but it turns out that the mommy dinosaur isn't the biggest dino in the land. Their adventure takes them across this underground world where they meet Buck the weasel, who becomes their guide. And throughout the entire adventure we see Scrat and his acorn, but this time he meets his girlfriend, Scratte. Does Scrat give up his acorn for Scratte? Do Manny, Ellie, Diego and the gang rescue Sid? You'll have to watch the movie to find out how the rest of the story goes.

Ice Age 3 – Blu-ray Video and Audio
Let's talk about the audio first since it was good, but not great. Why? Well, for a film like this that depicts huge, wide-open environments, you kind of expect to be immersed in those environments via the surround-sound. Unfortunately, most of the audio for the film was located in the front, while very little came from the back. The scary dinosaur scenes sounded good, but most of the time you just don't feel like you're right there in the picture.

The video, however, is spectacular. The colors are vibrant. The animation is smooth and flawless. There are no technical problems to be found. As a matter of fact, you can spy the exquisite detail found in the film by paying attention to Scrat's fur in the scenes where he is standing still and has his close-ups – you can literally see the individual strands of hair swaying in the wind. The entire picture is just beautiful.

Ice Age 3: Bonus Features
A large number of extras are provided in the Ice Age 3 package – some are good, and some are not so good. There are twelve bonus features provided, two of which are Blu-ray exclusives. The Audio Commentary is one of the features that falls flat. It provides commentary from the co-directors, producers, art director and character designer, but they rarely have anything interesting to say. In Evolution Expedition you get an 18-minute documentary-type show that has scientists, curators, and zoologists talking about how the animals in the film evolved into those of today, which is quite interesting. Falling for Scratte is a 9-minute featurette about the creation of the Scratte character.

Buck: From Easel to Weasel features an interesting interview with Simon Pegg about how he played the Buck character and how the character was created. Unearthing the Lost World is a 9-minute featurette about creating the environments for the movie. Scrat Featurettes provide four different short clips (14-minutes total) about the history of the saber-toothed squirrel, which are okay but not as fun as I thought they would be. Although, seeing how to draw the Scrat character was cool. Fox Movie Channel Featurettes provides five featurettes (28-minutes total) that talk about the production of the movie, but in a very vague way. Unfinished Deleted Scenes and Music Video provide a couple of short storyboard scenes that didn't make it into the film and a music video for the song "Walk the Dinosaur."

Scrat Shorts rounds out the regular bonus features with 12-minutes of additional Scrat fun in the form of two shorts, which are definitely the best of all the extras. "Gone Nutty" and "No Time for Nuts" provide more Scrat fun not found in the film. I only wish there were more of them because 12-minutes isn't nearly enough Scrat time! For Blu-ray exclusives there are Storybook Maker and Live Lookup. Storybook Maker is actually kind of fun but it's a bit too difficult for kids. With it you can take stills from the movie to create your own storybook. If parents and kids play with it together, they can have some fun. Finally, Live Lookup allows you to use BD-Live to connect to IMDB to look up information on the actors during the film. This is sort of cool for the convenience factor, but you can just as easily connect to the IMDB website over the Internet any time you want.

Ice Age – Will there be more?
Most multi-volume movie franchises are trilogies these days. You don't usually see a fourth or fifth sequel, but hopefully this won't be the last we see of the Ice Age gang – especially Scrat. I love Scrat! Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a really fun and entertaining movie that both adults and kids can enjoy – and for animation collectors, this is one of the most visually beautiful animated films that can be considered for your library.

For more information:
* Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Blu-ray Combo Pack with DVD and Digital Copy)
* Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs + The Scrat Pack (DVD)
* Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (DVD)
* Ice Age 1 - The First Ice Age Movie
* Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
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