You've probably seen the trailers for ICE AGE by now. You know, the one in
which a prehistoric squirrel tries with all of his might to bury an acorn in
the ice, but his partial success causes a massive avalanche. It is easily
one of the best trailers ever, and that one long sequence shown in the
trailer turns out to be the opening scene of the movie.
With animals so realistic that you feel like you must be wearing 3D glasses,
Chris Wedge's ICE AGE is a technologically striking movie. The humans and
the backgrounds, however, are an order of magnitude less impressive.
The good-spirited story, set when the ice age is beginning, concerns a
rag-tag herd of animals who are trying to return a human baby to its tribe.
The film's on-going joke is that the humans don't know how to speak, but the
animals do. The guy sitting behind me kept remarking "Look at his eyes!"
about Scrat (Chris Wedge), the squirrel. Although the guy behind me was
right about his eyes being visually the most impressive part of the computer
generated animation, I must admit that he was one human I wish had not
learned the gift of speech.
The herd consists of a nameless human infant, a loquacious sloth named Sid
(John Leguizamo), a nefarious saber-toothed tiger named Diego (Denis Leary)
and a woolly mammoth named Manfred (Ray Romano) who protects them all.
Diego has his own agenda and plans to lure the herd into an ambush by his
fellow tigers. As is traditional in animated movies, one wise-cracking
animal, Sid in this case, gets most of the best lines. One of my favorites
is when Sid tells Manfred, "It's hard to get fat on a vegan diet." The herd
comes across a troop of hapless dodo birds showing off their "tae kwon dodo"
skills, which provides some good physical comedy. But nothing is as good as
the opening comedy routine. In fact, my one small complaint about the movie
is they may have blown it by opening with their best number. It's better to
have the story build to a crescendo. On the other hand, everyone knows the
beginning of Beethoven's most famous symphony, the fifth, but who can
remember the ending?
ICE AGE runs 1:24. It is rated PG for "mild peril" and would be acceptable
for all ages.
My son Jeffrey, almost 13, gave the film *** 1/2. He said the film was
funny and never had a dull moment. His only criticism was that it needed
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes