Cert: U Runtime: 81 mins Director: Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha Starring: Ray Romano, John Lueguizamo, Denis Leary and Jack Black
If you find a mate in life, you should be loyal. In your case, grateful
Since Ice Age 4 is out in the cinema next week, I thought we could go back to 2002 and talk about Ice Age. 20,000 years before, our planet is entering an ice age. Manfred, a huge, aloof woolly mammoth (Ray Romano), is clearly uninterested in tagging along with an assembly of prehistoric creatures who are migrating south to escape the oncoming Ice Age. Before he knows it, he is thrust into an unexpected and unwelcome position of playing bodyguard to a good-natured yet incompetent sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo), when the latter angers a pair of rhinos after inadvertently ruining their dinner in a most unpleasant manner. Meanwhile, Diego (Denis Leary), a revenge-minded sabertooth tiger, has the task of kidnapping a human baby from a tribe who have killed and reduced his pack to the brink of extinction, but his plan of attack fails and the baby disappears from the fracas. Later, Manfred and Sid are shocked to see this little pink thing wash up at their feet on a riverbank, still alive. Though distrustful of one another, the threesome reluctantly put their agendas aside and join forces in order to try to return the child to his family. It’s a race against time as they try to succeed in their quest before the Ice Age destroys them all.
The animation here is amazing, which is often the case in these CGI films. They developed some beautiful imagery of frozen land. I didn’t like the way the humans were animated as much as the way the animals were, but animation-wise, I definitely can’t complain about anything else. There’s a lot of humour in the film, often thanks to the goofy antics of Sid, voiced by John Leguizamo (though other characters can also be very funny as well), and the comical situations and conflict the main characters get into on their adventure. The subplot with a squirrel named Scrat trying to bury his acorn in various places is also pretty funny, if you like physical humour. Around the beginning, it may look like the film relies mainly on the animation and laughs for entertainment value, but as it goes on, it proves this isn’t quite the case. There are some good action sequences, and eventually some touching moments and good morals, which it wouldn’t be the same without. Of the three main cast members, Leguizamo was the only one I wasn’t familiar with, and he does a nice job with his voice-over. There’s also good voice acting from comedians Ray Romano and Denis Leary .
Since they started making full-length computer animated movies in the 90’s, I’ve seen many that have come out over the years, and have found that some are masterpieces while others are basically average (haven’t seen any terrible ones, though it takes a lot to make a movie terrible to me). Like a number of others I’ve seen, this one comes somewhere in between, but fortunately comes closer to the former. I guess I can see why this 2002 release doesn’t have appeal as wide as several Pixar efforts do, but can also see why it is quite popular nonetheless. “Ice Age” was a good way for Blue Sky Studios to make their feature-length debut, and they have since gone on to do more good stuff. This movie has a simple but effective plot, plus a lot more to entertain viewers of different ages, making it another example of good family entertainment. Regardless of your age, if you like computer animation, this particular film probably isn’t one to miss.