Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)

In the early flurry of CGI feature films, Ice Age was generally perceived as the inferior to the likes of Shrek and Monsters Inc. However, the film had a charm that guaranteed its success. The creators have succeeded in recreating that charm for the second installment.

Having happily settled together as a most unusual herd, Manny, Sid and Diego face new trouble when they discover that the ice is begin to melt and that they must move from their valley in order to survive. Manny is also concerned that he is the last remaining mammoth – that is until he meets Ellie, a mammoth convinced that she is in fact a possum.

The film boasts an impressive cast of voices – Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary return from the original, this time joined by Queen Latifah as Ellie. The unlikely star of the Ice Age franchise does not have a voice (or at least not a coherent one). He is of course Scrat the determined squirrel, who is constantly trying to collect acorns. His role has been increased considerably for this sequel; the filmmakers have evidently picked up on his popularity. This, however, does suffer from most of his segments having already been used as teaser trailers, so many of his moments don’t come as surprises.

The plot is thin, but little else is to be expected from a film aimed at children. However, it is always engaging and entertaining, though this film perhaps has fewer belly laughs than the first. What’s most impressive about the film is the CGI work. At times I found myself almost mesmerised by Scrat’s tail, so detailed and realistic is the rendering.

Ice Age 2 is a heart-warming and funny film worthy of its predecessor. However, let’s hope that they don’t make a third installment, or the filmmakers run the risk of spreading a good thing too thinly.

7/10

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