Frozen stiffs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

BE­FORE mak­ing gen­eral face­tious re­marks about the third film in Fox’s glacially (get it?) bor­ing pre­his­toric fran­chise, let us con­sider the sabre-tooth tiger who goes by the name of Diego. Is it hy­per­bole to de­scribe the crea­ture (voiced, as ever, by Den­nis Leary) as the most bor­ing char­ac­ter in all an­i­mated cin­ema? I think not.

Com­posed of in­dif­fer­ently ren­dered grey poly­he­drons, Diego is back to mope mo­rosely about the drab planes and creak­ing forests that char­ac­terised the Ceno­zoic era. Lis­ten, kid­dies, as he drones on end­lessly about the op­por­tu­ni­ties he for­swore when he de­cided to be­friend (rather than eat) two mid­dle-class mam­moths and a sloth with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. Take away the elon­gated teeth, stand him on two legs, put him in a grey jumper and you have a char­ac­ter from a Mike Leigh film. Only without the jokes. Come to think of it, much of

plays as if it were tak­ing place on a bour­geois hous­ing es­tate in con­tem­po­rary Croy­don. The two mam­moths are now, erm, mar­ried and are pre­par­ing for the ar­rival of their first child. Mr Mam­moth (Ray Ro­mano) is be­com­ing ever more neu­rotic about the forth­com­ing changes, whereas his wife (Queen Lat­i­fah) ap­pears un­shaken through­out.

Mean­while, Sid the Sloth, the char­ac­ter who would be played by Ti­mothy Spall in a Leigh film, has de­vel­oped the urge to cre­ate his own fam­ily. If it weren’t for the di­nosaurs, you’d half-ex­pect Ali­son Stead­man to turn up.

Hang on a mo­ment. You don’t need a PhD in evo­lu­tion­ary bi­ol­ogy to know that the di­nosaurs van­ished many mil­lions of years be­fore mam­moths and sloths ap­peared. It is a mea­sure of this fran­chise’s lazy construction that, bow­ing to pres­sure from fans who haven’t read enough Richard Dawkins, the film-mak­ers have knocked to­gether some half-assed plot con­tor­tion to jus­tify the pres­ence of gi­ant mam­mal-hun­gry lizards.

You might, I sup­pose, get that in a Mike Leigh pic­ture, but, hav­ing im­pro­vised their own di­a­logue, the Tyran­nosauruses would re­ally make you their story.

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