Brother Emsworth Sat May 11 20:12:12 2002|
Ice Age - 9.2
(Saw this a couple months ago now, but never got around to posting a review. Thought I'd best do so before the film leaves the first run cinemas, though.)
ICE AGE (2002) A Blue Sky Studios Production released through 20th Century Fox. Director: Chris Wedge; Co-director: Carlos Arascos; Story: Michael J. Wilson; Screenplay: Michael Berg, Michael J. Wilson, Peter Ackerman; Music: David Newman; Production designer: Brian McEntee; Sequence directors: Mark Baldo, Jan Carle; Animators: Marcelo Fernandes DeMoura, Floyd Thompson II; Additional animation: Dean Yeagle; Character designs: Peter DeSeve;
Voices: Manfred: Ray Romano; Sid: John Leguizamo; Diego: Denis Leary; Soto: Goran Visnjic; Zeke: Jack Black; Rhino: Cedric the Entertainer; Rhino, Start: Stephen Root; Roshan, Start: Tara Strong [nee' Charendoff]; Sabretooth Tiger: Diedrich Bader; Sabretooth Tiger, Dodos, Freaky Mammal: Alan Turyck; Female Sloths: Lorri Bagley, Jane Krakowski; Dodos, Freaky Mammal: Peter Ackerman; Dodos/Scrat: Chris Wedge; Glyptos: Denny Dillon, Mitzi McCall
The second animated feature to be released in 2002, "Ice Age" centers on the exploits of assorted prehistoric animals during the titular era. While large herds of creatures are migrating due to changing weather conditions, Sid, a hyperactive sloth who is left behind, is befriended (loosely speaking) by a moody loner mastadon named Manfred. The pair stumble upon a human baby, lost and separated from his tribe when a pack of sbre-tooth tigers attacke his mother. Sid persuades the mastadon to seek out the human tribe and return the child, only to be joined by Diego, a sly sbare-tooth tiger who offers to assist them with his tracking skills. Diego has actually been ordered by pack leader Soto to bring him the child. Despite their differences, three animals and the child form a bond in the wilderness. A parallel subplot, intertwined with the main story, involves a prehistoric squirrel, Scrat, and his quest to hold on to and open a nut.
"Ice Age," the first feature film from commercial and video game studio Blue Sky. The focus on the film is on comedy, with rapid (and often hilarious) one liners, sight gags, and slapstick action, particularly in a frantic sequence involving a flock of zanily militaristic dodos. The animation of the animal characters is smooth and benefits from pleasantly cartoonish character designs from New Yorker cartoonis Peter De'Seve (who also contributed to "Monsters Inc.") The humans, on the other hand, are rather unappealingly designed (more remniscent of the designs in "Prince of Egypt," which DeSeve also worked on), and their movements are rather stiff, looking more like toy action figures than cartoon characters. The story itself also veers towards the saccharine, with the "heart-felt" search for the baby's family. Despite the obviously calculated nature of the child's inclusion, however, there was something quite endearing in his gradual attempts to walk. The film, like so many in recent memory, is dominated by celebrity voice-casting, which in some ways works against the film, though not as strongly as in other films. John Leguizamo's sloth is rather irritating at times, a fact which works given the character's purpose as a well-meaning annoyance, but still grates. Ray Romano's monotone, however, is oddly effective in telegraphing Manfred's moodiness. Dennis Miller's Diego comes across as oddly flat. Many of the incidental roles are filled by recent sitcom actors or production personell. Possibly the best, if most irrelevant, aspect of the film is Scrat's quest, which, while hilarious, is also strongly remniscent of the works of the late Chuck Jones. This isn't merely because of the frustration humour which is the hallmark of the Roadrunner/Coyote cartoons, but because Jones dealt with the same situation, a squirrel attempting to crack open a nut, in the 1953 short "Much Ado About Nuttin."