Ice Age

Ice Age

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the ice age. It's snowy and cold, but that doesn't mean whole continents are going to change and species become extinct. It could be winter in Canada, except the animals are wrong.

It's the story of three unlikely companions going on a journey with a baby. The companions are a sloth, a mammoth and a sabre-toothed tiger. The baby's mother drowns in a river and the wild creatures decide to take the toddler to its daddy.

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As a synopsis, this should not have passed first base. The mammoth would have killed the tiger. The tiger would have killed the sloth. All of them would have killed the baby. But this is the wonderful world of animation and you can cry if you want to.

Sid the sloth is a weedy apologetic type, wisecracking his way out of being scared to death. Manny the mammoth is a bit of a softy, as well as wise, etc. Diego the tiger has an image prob. He knows he's the prince of the jungle, being a big cat - except this jungle is frozen - and should be murdering everything in sight, including people, especially little people, like babies, but can't, because (sigh) he kinda loves 'em.

The script isn't witty enough. Imagine, if you dare, the whole of The Lion King being the middle bit, with those goofy animals. That's what this is. Just add snow. The adventure doesn't contain half the excitement of Balto, or quarter the fun of Toy Story 2. It could be compared to Monsters Inc, because that was a story of misfit buddies taking care of a human child. The baby in Ice doesn't have a character. It's cute in a goo-goo, no poo, cuddlesome-wuddlesome way. The little girl in Monsters had genuine personality that made the whole difference, adding greatly to the success of the movie.

There is a running gag that gives an indication of what this might have been. It comes in the form of an odd-looking rat that is trying to bury an acorn. It's not a squirrel, although does squirrelish things, and the joke is that it can't find anywhere to put the stupid nut, because the ground's too hard and volcanoes tend to erupt around it and mountains of ice collapse. In cartoon terms, it's funnier than anything, but isn't included in the body of the plot. It's like a stand-up comedian who fills in when they're changing the furniture back stage.

In the end, you care more about the acorn than the baby.

Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2002
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Ice Age packshot
Animated journey in cold weather of a sloth, mammoth, sabre-toothed tiger and Red Indian baby.
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Director: Carlos Saldanha, Chris Wedge

Writer: Michael Berg, Michael J Wilson, Peter Ackerman

Starring: voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Tara Strong

Year: 2002

Runtime: 81 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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