on April 7, 2006
We went to see Ice Age 2 the day it came out, which generally guarantees an enthusiastic and rowdy crowd. Everyone there was laughing and clapping throughout.
Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary), and Syd (Leguizomo) are back. They've turned the heavily iced area into a camp for kids complete with ice slides and wading pools. But a vulture called Fast Tony (cameo by Jay Leno) warns everyone that the ice is melting and soon their valley will be flooded. So once again, everyone must migrate, fleeing to safer and higher ground. On the way, they meet 3 new friends: two opposums named Crash and Eddie (Sean Scott Williams and Josh Peck), and their "sister"- a mammoth named Ellie (Queen Latifah) who doesn't know she's a mammoth. Collectively, they continue on their migration. Syd and Diego try to convince Manny that Ellie can help him keep mammoths from going extinct, and a possible realtionship begins. But flood waters, horrid water creatures, and Ellie's massive identity crisis stumble them a bit along they way. Syd finds respect and reassurance from a secret tribe of sloth's that revere him as the "Fire God". But it's Scrat, everyone's favorite neurotic squirrel, that's the true star of this movie. My kids, and those all around us, laughed their heads off whenever Scrat's crazy acorn antics were on screen. My [...] old asked me today, "Can we go see Ice Age 2 again?". He didn't even say that after seeing "Curious George"! Fun for the whole family.
on March 31, 2006
Ice Age: The Big Chill was very good and entertaining. Just seen The Meltdown and was thoroughly entertained. Hollywood finally put something out that didn't have a bunch of sex, blood and gore. Wonderful one liners and originality in this. The QUEEN did an outstanding job, and Ray just made it all the better. This would be one for the DVD Library for sure. Kids AND adults both had a great time. Thank you Hollywood for finally having something that was fun.
This is a darling movie, one that (believe it or not) caught the fancy of my 14-year-old, over the other PG-13 choices at the theater last week. I hadn't seen the first Ice Age. But he did, wanted to see the sequel-and was not disappointed. Then again, neither was I.
This feature-length cartoon offers fine animal characterizations, beginning with Sid the sloth, whose feeble attempts to teach, entertain-and control-the younger animals in his frozen, but fast-melting valley, opens the film.
Then along come a large male woolly mammoth, Manny and his saber-toothed tiger friend Diego, who encourages Manny to pursue the only other woolly mammoth they have seen in a long long while-a delightful female named Ellie (Queen Latifah), who has grown up with possums-thinks she's a possum-and like her "brothers," hangs from a tree limb at night to sleep.
Since the ice cliffs around their valley are melting, threatening them with an impending flood, the animals must journey to the valley's end, where they hope to find solid ground. Along the way, they experience several near-disasters, including a run-in with finned sea monsters snapping enormous, alligator-like mouths. Even I screamed at some of the surprises.
The story also highlights the importance of friendships, and families, no matter how they are formed. A wonderful film, for kids and grown-ups alike.
on November 16, 2006
As my 3 year old daughter had worn down the video of the original Ice Age by overuse we decided to try Ice Age: The Meltdown as her introduction to the Movie Theaters.
And were we right. The minute the movie started she stopped fidgeting and kept relatively still. (she did whisper the characters names each time they appeared though).
We were all eager to see this sequel and the rest of the family simply adored it. The only con I might have is 'how can they possibly do a number three now?'
This is certainly on a par with Shrek 2, another sequel which didn't let down it's original.
Family entertainment at its best.
The first "Ice Age" flick was hilarious and touching at the same time. "The Meltdown" goes for more slapstick and even a little bit of romance to move its story along. All of the major players return for this second chilly outing. Headed up by the voice talents of Ray Romano(Manny), Denis Leary(Diego), and John Leguizamo(Sid), this particular film is more of a stand alone tale than an actual sequel to its predecessor. You need not have seen the original to follow the storyline.
The plot starts at the end of the Ice Age, where Manny, his pals, and a whole herd of other companions, come to the stark realization that their current home is about to be flooded by melting ice. I noticed shades of New Orleans during Katrina as I watched the herd make their trek to higher ground. The funny thing is that a mammoth, a sabretooth, and a sloth handled their evacuation way better than a mayor and a so-called governess.
Manny also realizes that he just might be the last mammoth on the planet. Enter Ellie, voiced by Queen Latifah. She's a mammoth who thinks that she's an opossum. She even has two opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie, who are gamely voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck. Peck is half of the duo that is Nickelodeon's "Drake And Josh." You'll recognize Scott as Bo Duke in the recent "Dukes of Hazzard" flick and as Stifler in the "American Pie" series. Of course, Scrat is along for the ride and still chasing that acorn he so longingly desires. Ellie and Manny eventually spark a few romantic flames, but Crash and Eddie, as well as the reliable Diego and Sid, provide plenty of laughs during the trek.
As the herd moves onward, two deep sea leviathans take up the hunt in hopes to capture any of the stragglers. They eventually play a key role in the movie. That role is set up by the revelations that Diego is afraid of water and Sid just wants some respect.
While Scrat is fun to watch, at one point he begins to suffer from "Stifler-itus." In other words, he becomes somewhat annoying to watch as the flick progresses. This little bit of a problem is forgivable, however, thanks primarily to the well-written script and the solid relationships built between the original three and their new counterparts.
The animation is definitely on a higher plane this time around. The characters are crisper, colors brighter, and the motion of the animals is more believable.
If you enjoyed the original "Ice Age," be ready for more of the same high jinks as presented in the original. I personally enjoyed the first flick more than this one, but it is a worthy second-helping of Manny, Diego, and Sid that I'm sure will be loved by most fans of buddy comedies and slapstick humor.
on June 17, 2013
I never took much interest in the Ice Age movies, until they were given to my young boys, who became hooked, and they played quite a bit. Inevitably, I ended up watching them all as well, and really enjoyed the characters in the movie and how they interact with each other. This one, I believe, is the second of four Ice Age films, the one where Manny, who believes he is the last mammoth on earth, actually finds another mammoth, "Ellie." The plot is fast-moving and entertaining. The sub-plot of the prehistoric squirrel who can never quite hold onto his acorn, is continued and adds another level of entertainment to the movie. The voice talents of all the characters are fantastic, paired with great characterization by the animators. These movies are well done, and what is even more unusual, the sequels are better than each movie before, in my opinion, because the characters become more developed. Ice Age 2 is better than Ice Age 1, but Ice Age 3 is better than 2, and I think Ice Age 4 is just as good, or may even top Ice Age 3.
This is good, clean family entertainment, if you overlook the few short instances of gross body humor (I hate it, but little boys laugh--what can you do), and the slight sexual references (one or two in each movie). Why can't they just leave these out? I would give it a five, but hate that they have to throw in that stuff and ruin a perfectly good family film that would be just as entertaining without the body noises and references to sex or sexual organs. But don't get me started. Overall, love the Ice Age movies and appreciate the talent that went into making them.
My kids love the music, too.
on April 6, 2006
This is, as I hoped it to be, even better than the first Ice Age. It follows the story of the trio(along with a female mammoth and 2 possums)who are trying, along with every other animal, to get to a safe valley so they don't get killed by a huge flood coming from all the melted ice. Manny thinks that the shemoth will be a perfect mate, but she thinks she's a possum. Plus, her two brothers who made her feel that way, Crash and Eddie(who I hate COMPLETELY the same way I do Jar Jar in Star Wars and Timon and Pumbaa in the Lion King)are not only constantly picking on Diego and Sid, they also do a lot of idiotic and maniacal stuff. On top of this, Diego has a nasty fear of water(whaddaya expect, cats hate water!)and Sid still demands respect. This movie has many funny moments, and it has more cool and/or scary parts than the first. That is one reason it's better. Another reason is that Diego the saber(who is not only my # 1 favorite Ice Age character of all time, he's my # 1 favorite computer animated character of all time! You go, Diego, AKA the coolest sabertooth cat ever)is a lot cooler and funnier in this movie than in the first, not to mention more sarcastic, interesting, able and of course fast, strong and smart. He also does a lot to keep his friends alive, from saving them and almost getting impaled to stopping a drowning tragedy. A lot of other cool stuff he does, too. (Is it any wonder I dub Diego # 1/Numero uno?)Finally, the reason it is better is because Manny finds love, Sid is far more serious and mature though he is still trouble prone, and because it had a lot of morals. The only two bad things are that the possums didn't die(they so deserved to die with a sadistic streak for their bad treatment of Sid, Manny and above all Diego, my favorite, DUH, not to mention their overall silliness and stupidity and the way the tainted the movie)and that Diego didn't get enough screen time. Otherwise, it rocks. See it.
on April 1, 2006
In his recent biography of Johnny Mercer -- the greatest, non-theatrical lyricist in the history of the English language -- fellow lyricist Gene Lees lamented the `total disappearance from radio' of the great melodies of Jerome Kern --the dean of the `Great American Songbook' composers who, with lyricist Dorothy Fields, picked up the (almost) first "Best Song" Oscar exactly 70 years ago.
That same Oscar-winning song "The Way You Look Tonight" gets a nod of appreciation in this just-released, not-just-for-kids movie.' I couldn't believe my ears (and laughed out loud) when "Sid the Sloth" tunefully tries to cheer up his friends trudging single-file towards the hoped-for safety of higher ground: Sid breaks into three song parodies, beginning with "The Way You Look Tonight" - made apropos the moment Sid sings, "Someday . . . when we're all extinct . . . "
And while we're on the subject of long-ago musicals, the highlight here is a `dance' number -- traced upon the skies by a host of singing vultures (condors? buzzards?) - who wheel and soar in a brilliantly-choreographed, full-length parody of "Food, Glorious Food" ("Food, rotten and chewed!")
I joyfully informed my six-year-old granddaughter Emily, "This is from an old (1960s) English musical called "Oliver"!" -- and was in turn informed that, "Those are the birds that eat dead bodies!"
At the most "scary" moment in "Meltdown", Emily lifted my arm, and hid her eyes behind my elbow as the central characters clung precariously to the barely-balanced slabs of rock 'monuments' -- poised to tumble any second into a mile-deep abyss: "I can't look! -- Tell me what happens!" came the muffled voice behind my left elbow: "Tell me when it's over Grumpa!"
Her nine-year-old brother bravely endured the same scene -- but with lots of `body English' and outstretched hands seeking to assist Sid and the others to reach the safety of an adjacent cliff top. Recalling the scene later, Thomas admitted, "I was scared too, Emily."
In the car on the way home Thomas said, "Gramps -- that movie was great!" Emily agreed, "It was great!". And when asked, "How many 'stars' out-of-five would you give it?" the reply in instant unison: "Five!"
[Which is good. Considering the cost in (Canadian) dollars of tickets -- for one adult and two kids' admissions, plus two `medium' drinks, two small bags of M&M's (and an even smaller packet of licorice `Nibs' for gramps)-- approached 50 bucks.]
But you know, after nine months of sub-zero temperatures here in the frozen north, this movie provided the perfect heart-melting experience - and an ideal conclusion to `spring break 2006.'
Oh yes, and a nearly perfect ending to the movie: As "Scrat the acorn-chasing varmint" keeps re-appearing at all the right moments, in ever-more-perilous predicaments -- the last of which proves literally heart-stopping.
And, in one of the most delightfully-satisfying endings in animated film history, Scrat attains the `Pearly Gates' (suitably embossed with a 'Golden Acorn' motif). Bounding, in slow-motion ecstasy across a carpet of clouds, -- and within one, agonizing INCH of his heavenly reward -- Scrat is rudely recalled (CPR'd actually) back to this world, by . . . well you'll just have to watch and find out!
Have you noticed that some 'sequels' actually improve upon the `original' movies? Maybe it's the deeper characterizations which time permits `the second time around.'
Certainly in this `meltdown' we get to know and love even more, the woolly mammoth "Manny" (and his new love interest "Ellie" -- voiced to perfection by Queen Latifah) . . . as well as a saber-toothed tiger who reveals an increasingly soft heart.
And of course "Sid" -- who really steals the show - in the funniest scene (which broke up the entire theatre audience, young and old) as a congregation of 'mini-sloths' begins to worship his every move as their new "God of Fire."
All of this . . . plus those deeper `over-the-head' allusions (musical and otherwise) aimed at melting the hearts of `old souls' --- those lucky enough to accompany little ones to this 'instant classic.'
[For those who may care about that 'celestial' music for Scrat's abortive romp through heaven . . . it's the Adagio from "Spartacus" -- NOT the one from the Oscar-nominated Alex North score for the movie of the same name: Scrat's 'heaven-can-wait' music is the "No. 2 Adagio, Spartacus Suite" by Russian composer Aran Khachaturian, available (in its glorious entirety here at Amazon.com) on the musical CD, "White Nights - Romantic Russian Showpieces."]
on December 27, 2006
In the first movie, we watched three unsuspecting mammals become friends as they try to return a small human child to it's adults during an approaching Ice Age. It garnered many funny moments and some genuine sentiment. In the second installment we find the same three mammals; Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguzamo) and Diego the Saber-toothed tiger (Dennis Leary) together in a valley with a large group of other mammals. The freeze is over and the ice is melting as all the creatures seem to be enjoying the water from the thaw.
Suddenly they discover the ice is melting and all the animals will drown if they don't get to the end of the valley in time. As they begin their journey Manny is suddenly faced with the possibility that he may be the last Mammoth living. He soon meets another Mammoth, a female named Ellie (Queen Latifah) and he is ecstatic at first but then disappointed to find that she thinks she's an Opossum. It wasn't good enough for them to give Manny what he needed but to add the element of her thinking she's another animal lends to great comic moments, especially with Ellie's two Opossum brothers who are characterized as extreme sports enthusiasts.
The animation is this movie is even better than the first. Where the first one took some artistic liberties in the animation of the animals, this one is even more detailed, especially in Manny's fur. The antics of Sid are just as funny, Leguzamo has his character down perfectly. Romano and Leary are just as good. Leary shows the most character development as the one who used to stalk these creatures and now walks side by side with them.
Queen Latifah is fun and lively as Ellie and the two stunt happy opossums are hysterical in their daredevil antics. All in all this movie is light and fun entertainment with some edgy humor, some tense moments where the group is attacked by two thawed carnivores and some very choreographed buzzards singing about the demise of the animals that will lead to their bliss. There are also some moments where the Mammoths talk about reassuring the continuance of their species, they tip toe around the subject but still some small kids might not get the innuendos. Careful explanations might be required and some scenes might be a little scary for very young children, it is rated PG after all.
But of course, the one very funny part of the movie is Skrat, the prehistoric saber-tooth squirrel desperately trying to hold on to his beloved acorn. The movie is worth watching just to see him go chase this thing through ice, water, piranhas, vultures and floods. You root for him but laugh at him when things go awry, and then let out an `oooo' when you see the hardships he endures.
The stand alone short `No time for nuts' is eight minutes of pure Skrat and worth the cost of the DVD by itself.
on March 11, 2007
"Ice Age: The Meltdown" is a pleasant, if somewhat lackadaisical, follow-up to the animated hit, "Ice Age," from 2002. In a plot vaguely reminiscent of "Dinosaurs," a group of prehistoric animals flees to higher ground when a melting glacier caused by global warming threatens to flood the valley in which they live. The returning characters include Manfred, the woolly mammoth; Diego, the saber-tooth tiger; and Sid, the wisecracking sloth. New to the cast is Ellie, a female mammoth who has somehow come to think that she is, in reality, a possum, and who provides a romantic interest for the generally stoic Manfred. Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah provide the voices for these characters.
Oddly, despite the extreme urgency of the situation, the animals spend more of their time just moseying along - falling in love and discussing the issues of the day - than squaring off against the various dangers that confront them. Still, there are enough straightforward action scenes to keep the young ones captivated and enough double entendres and "in" joke pop culture references to keep the older folk entertained as well. As with most sequels, "Ice Age: The Meltdown" lacks the freshness of the original, but the animation has a clean, uncluttered look that fits well with the starkness of the setting. The one bona fide musical sequence is an amusing ode to the glories of feasting on prey, done to the tune "Food, Glorious Food" from "Oliver!"
As animated movies go, "The Meltdown" is nothing to write home about, but it makes for passable viewing even if you aren't exactly its target audience.