Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Movie Review: "Ice Age" (2002)

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Movie"Ice Age"
Director: Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha
Year: 2002
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

A trio of unlikely animal friends goes on a journey to return a lost human infant to its tribe after the baby's mother dies. Unbeknownst to the others, one of the group's members might be working towards a more sinister plan.

"Ice Age" is the first ever feature length film to be released by Blue Sky Studios. It utilizes the voice talents of three well known comedians: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary, who play Manfred aka Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth, and Diego the saber-tooth cat. This unlikely trio joins forces to return a lost human infant to its tribe after its mother is killed while running from a pack of saber-tooth cats. Notice anything coincidental about what we've just said? Diego is also a saber-tooth cat. His motives for taking the baby on a quest to return it may be ulterior as he looks to be leading the group into a dangerous trap.

This is your basic family adventure film that is meant to be humorous and charming with some exciting elements. We can't remember watching this or any of the other "Ice Age" films in the past, and if we did, we sure don't remember watching them. For us, much of the humor here fell very flat. It's all geared towards its target demographic: really little kids. Knowing this, "Ice Age" is ripe with lots of bodily humor, fart fodder jokes. John Leguizamo's Sid is the one that gets in the most laughs with his outrageous demeanor, but again, we are only on board with him and his occasional humorous statements half of the time. Most of the reason for Sid's existence is to be the slapstick relief for Manny's super seriousness. Ray Romano is the perfect voice for such a character. He always sounds like he's cross, and Manny is clearly the "dad" figure of their ragtag trio. Denis Leary's Diego is the most complex character as he has to deal with the ramifications of being a saber-tooth cat. He is also put in a position where he must choose between following his natural instincts with his fellow feline brethren, or to do the right thing alongside his newfound group of misfit friends.

Finally, there is another character in the mix who doesn't always cross paths with our main group, and that is Scrat, which looks like a squirrel rat??? Talk about pandering to your key demographic! Scrat serves little purpose other than to make kids oooooooh and ahhhhhwww as he perpetual attempts to chase his coveted acorn with miserable success. We're going to say it like it is: Scrat is a time-filler, a cute gimmicky character used as a marketing tactic to get butts in seats. He's just something to look at when there isn't enough story to fill in the run time of the actual movie. Given the fact that this is already a short film, it's truly saying something when the story is too thin for only 81 minutes of screen time.

In the end, there is a lot left to be desired from a movie like "Ice Age," which could have had a lot to remark upon but basically says nothing. The voice acting is fine, but the script is tired and the jokes are lazy. Finally, we are not big fans of the animation. It's overly exaggerated and somehow manages to look more cartoony than some of the other animated films we've seen in the recent past. This might be a personal preference of ours and not the fault of the film, but we noticed it, nonetheless. There are lots of better options out there for your kids to enjoy.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Ratatouille"

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