Friday, March 31, 2006

Ice Age 2

Ice Age: The Meltdown
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow
20th Century Fox

The first Ice Age was much like the later Madagascar in that it was a missed opportunity. There's a little squirrel character named Scrat who goes from one misadventure to another trying to bag an acorn. The whole movie could have been that, and been entertaining, but instead we had to have a trio of stand-up comics delivering watered-down lines for an hour and a half. Madagascar could have been all penguins, all the time, and it's the same thing--we need all sorts of name stars in another story that's not nearly as good to sell it to the masses. By rule, since the first Ice Age raked in so much dough, there's no reason to mess with success--so all of the major players return, with some additions, while Scrat continues to be a mini-toon within a toon. I'll be looking forward to Madagascar 2 in a couple of years doing the exact same thing.

Also, I'm not sure how exactly I should take a movie like Ice Age, especially its sequel, in which the storyline involves the end of the ice age when many of the characters portrayed in the movie are on the verge of extinction (time was good to the wooly mammoth and the sabertooth tiger, wasn't it?). These kinds of movies necessarily have a happy ending, but it really doesn't make much sense. It's kind of like in Dinosaur when the main plot was the dinosaurs finding a place to live after a meteor hits. And today, you can still see dinosaurs in certain parts of Oklahoma.

In this sequel, the ice is breaking and threatens to unleash a flood on the herd of various animals if they don't start heading for sturdy ground. Among the herd is mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), sabertooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary), and sloth Sid (John Leguizamo). The challenges to overcome are: Manny hopes he's not the only mammoth still on Earth and hopes to be able to find a mate to keep the mammoth line alive, Diego is afraid of water, and Sid wants respect. Along the way, they meet a female mammoth named Ellie (Queen Latifah) with species-identity disorder--she thinks she's an opossum, much like her "brothers" Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott and Josh Peck). While they all try to sort that out, there's the various dangers of the dwindling ice age all around them. And oh yeah, there's the squirrel Scrat (Chris Wedge), who will be getting into diversions from the main story and stealing the entire show.

This isn't bad. That's the highest praise I can give this movie. There are a couple of scenes, lumped in with the Scrat breakaways, that make it mildly enjoyable. But there's a lot of crap, too. Ice Age: The Meltdown also gets a couple of points for being a shade darker than most family fare--there are several scenes with buzzards that could be called dark kiddie humor. There's also a few mild expletives thrown around, not much, and never anything way harsh (most involve using words like "ass" and "dam" in punny ways). Overall, we're looking at a huge blockbuster here that the kids are going to love and the parents will also. Those not involved with kids during the screening will be somewhat amused but looking forward to doing something else later.


Post a Comment

<< Home