This less-than-engaging outing starts off on the wrong foot with a mix of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and dinosaurs that wouldn’t have a remote chance of occupying the same timeframe. While I completely appreciate the fact that we’re talking about a kid’s movie, I believe that, on some fronts, we’ve been spoiled by filmmakers driven to present hyper-realized, historically accurate worlds, and it would seem that if you’re going to push to make this Ice Age adventure 3-D, you might as well get the details straight.

Of course, this argument is tantamount to waging war with a kid over whose favorite restaurant is the best, so I’m willing to drop it in favor of a more salient point.

As with the latter Shrek adventures, Dawn of the Dinosaurs seeks to add more characters and flavor to the franchise, and while Simon Pegg certainly brings vocal energy, it’s just too much alongside an already-crowded herd featuring Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah (and I’m not even counting the nearly silent exchanges involving Scrat and his ménage with a female squirrel and that ever-elusive nut).

The trick to success isn’t all that tricky: Just tell a good story — one that’s moving and engaging with the characters you’ve already spent a couple of films developing. We know them already, and apparently we like them, so just focus on making them more real, with or without 3-D. (tt stern-enzi) Grade: C-