It’s been a long time since I fell asleep at the cinema…
Not the most promising start to a review right? I could make excuses – I’d had a heavy weekend drinking, I was tired and I wasn’t exactly going to see the film of my own accord – but even so, for a film to not be able to hold my attention (especially such a bright colourful one) for its duration is a chronic failure. Or un failure chronique.
I’m no slouch when it comes to animation – in fact I’m probably more of a child at heart than I should be. To argue the point that maybe I didn’t ‘get it’ or perhaps that ‘it wasn’t aimed for people like me’ is naive to the border of ridiculous. You only need to listen to the dialogue to know that most of the wordplay is going to go right over the kid’s heads (which isn’t hard… they’re only small…) . So what’s left for them then? The slapstick? Yeah that got old pretty quickly too in my view, nothing we haven’t seen in either of the two previous films.
Complete waste of time then…? Well no, not exactly…
We all know that kids are stupid. That’s why they can’t use apostrophes or drive cars. But what we also all know is that kids aren’t stupid and are, in fact, very intelligent discerning cinema goers. They know what they like and they know if a film is shit.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is thus obviously not shit.
I went along with my five year old cousin, who insisted we saw it in 2D (after a particularly harrowing visit to Disneyland where they have an insect film in 3D). Whilst I fell asleep and drooled on my sleeve, he laughed out loud, reacted at the right moments and invested in what was, to him, an engaging quest narrative (my words, not his).
That got me thinking… Maybe I’m the idiot for not enjoying myself more. To be perfectly honest I think I was prepared to not enjoy myself before I went in – it’s no secret I don’k think much of the other Ice Age films and hold them (as well as attempts by Fox and Dreamworks) in poor esteem to Disney’s latest efforts (we’re obviously not going to bring Pixar into the debate – that’d hardly be fair…). But the more I saw my little cousin enjoy himself, the more I got involved myself to the point where, by the time we reached the all too predictable finale and parting of the ways – I was practically beaming.
Was it the narrative? The often rousing musical accompaniment? The aforementioned wordplay (Simon Pegg’s dialogue in particular was a highlight for me, more because of the scripting rather than his delivery)? Or was it the fact that I forgot my pre-conceptions and just enjoyed myself, taking the film for what it was?
The way I see it, Ice Age: DoD isn’t trying to deliver a revolution in animated storytelling and, in the same turn, doesn’t seem to be simply about spinning the series out for another quick buck. It’s harmless, uninvolved, palatable entertainment.
Like the plain pasta of the film world – it’s functional, but you kind of wish you had some sauce. Even ketchup would do.
And what exactly does that mean…?
I have no idea.