Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Movie Review: "Ice Age: The Meltdown" (2006)

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Movie"Ice Age: The Meltdown"
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Year: 2006
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) are now living in a valley among many herds. When the surrounding ice shelves begin to melt, all of the herds must make a run for a boat on the other end of the valley. Along the way, the trio of friends meet a pair of opossums named Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck), and a mammoth named Ellie (Queen Latifah), who thinks she is an opossum. 

Manny, Diego, and Sid are back in Blue Sky Studio's third feature film "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which is the sequel to their box office hit debut film "Ice Age." Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo return to reprise their roles as the aforementioned Manny, Diego, and Sid. New to the cast are Seann William Scott and Josh Peck as a pair of rambunctious opossum brothers named Crash and Eddie, and Queen Latifah as their sister Ellie, who is actually a mammoth but thinks she is an opossum since she's grown up with them. This is one of the main running jokes throughout this movie. Ellie is a huge mammoth, but she plays dead when she is in danger and hangs in trees by her tail when she sleeps just like her opossum brothers. All of the animals live in this valley that is surrounded by glaciers, which are melting due to warming temperatures. In a Noah's arc-type of scenario, all the animal have to rush to a 'boat' at the end of the valley before it completely floods, while drawing from real life global warming as its inspiration. A pair of huge aquatic dinosaurs also thaws out as these glaciers melt, which start pursuing the herds looking for their first meals in a long time. These aquatic monsters act as the villains of this installment, well, them and the rising temperatures of course.

There are tons of funny moments throughout "Ice Age: The Meltdown," ones that really had us laughing quite a bit, and not just little laughs, we mean big belly laughs. This sequel is much more well paced than its predecessor, which seemed to have many instances that dragged on and on with no end in sight. Of course, Scrat the marketing tool the squirrel-rat is back again, filling any void in screen time with his cute time filler ways. Scrat is the character most kids will remember and laugh at constantly as he keeps trying and trying to get his coveted acorn. This is exactly what the filmmakers want. When kids and their parents are at the store later on after the movie is over, they will nag and nag their parents for a Scrat plush, which equals instant gold for them. Not all of the humor is funny this time around. There are a still a slew of lazy fart and bodily humor jokes, along with other attempts at humor that completely fall flat. In the case of this sequel, though, the jokes certainly hit their mark far more than they miss. The additions of Crash and Eddie serve as a nice break from Manny's serious dad-like demeanor, Diego's wild, adventurous side, and Sid's obnoxious, over-the-top shenanigans as they bring the 'stupid' humor in droves. Also, Queen Latifah is a good addition as the optimistic opossum-minded Ellie. From the moment we saw her on screen, we knew she was there to serve as a love interest for Manny, which we don't mind, but it's the beginning of a formulaic pattern within this series. Finally, in the hands of more capable directors and storytellers, what could have been an impactful piece to teach kids about the dangers of global warming merely serves as a side note to get our characters on the move and into more perilous situations.

In the end, the second installment in the "Ice Age" franchise is a mostly enjoyable film. It's a good time killer if you have nothing better to do, especially for your kids.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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