Ice Age Movie Review

It's a pity that most anyone who regularly goes to the movies has already seen the best two minutes of "Ice Age," a uniquely styled new computer-animated comedy that takes place in a era of woolly mammoths, cave men and saber-tooth tigers.

The hilarious teaser trailer which has been in theaters for months -- the one with the twitchy, bug-eyed squirrel-rat who causes an avalanche while trying to bury an acorn in glacial ice -- serves as the opening moments of the finished film. While the rest of the picture is not by any means all downhill from there, this scene is so funny that nothing after it has a prayer of measuring up.

With its refreshingly peculiar, sharply rendered but creatively scruffy animation style "Ice Age" doesn't look anything like the plush toy-friendly CGI-toons being produced by Disney/Pixar and DreamWorks (this one's from Fox). Some of the characters are downright mangy critters with matted hair and protruding eyeballs, like Sid the sloth (lispy-voiced by John Leguizamo). He's the homely, buck-toothed, obnoxious and unwelcome sidekick of Manny the mammoth, a shaggy prehistoric pachyderm whose mopey loner personality is brought lamentingly to life by the appropriately nasal voice of Ray Romano.

Manny and Sid discover a lost human baby and go on a quest across the frozen tundra to return him to his tribe before winter (well, more winter) closes in. Joining them is Diego (Denis Leary), a saber-toothed tiger who'd much rather eat the baby ("Uh, that pink thing is mine," he growls) until he takes a shine to the tyke (just picture a vicious saber-cat playing peek-a-boo).

The story sometimes feels like a knock-off of its recent predecessors in the computer-cartoon kiddie-flick genre, what with its "Shrek"-like grumpy outcast hero and his pesky companion on a reluctant rescue mission. Then there's the mission itself -- to get a button-cute infant back where it belongs, a la "Monsters, Inc." These similarities can be chalked up to bad timing and not plot piracy, since these animated movies take years to complete. But they do cast bit of a pall over the proceedings.

However, the lack of original themes is largely made up for by the movie's sharp and spirited sense of humor -- extinction and evolution gags abound, and they just keep getting funnier -- and by its entirely unconventional, Chuck Jones-inspired visuals.

The 3-D settings are photo-realistic, but deliberately designed to look more like cartoonish stage props than real frozen landscapes. The animators went wild with their creation of Pleistocene critters too, endowing a pair of prehistoric rhinos with T-shaped horns that look like coat racks and a whole menagerie of other beasts with equally weird accoutrements.

"Ice Age" isn't destined for the kind of instant-classic reverence bestowed upon last year's batch of CGI fare for families. But it is funny, it is unique and it's still a great time at the movies.


Comments

Ice Age Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG, Opened: Friday, March 15, 2002

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

As promised by the release of Smaug from Eribor, war has descended...

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

The Expendables 3 Trailer

The cast of 'The Expendables 3' discuss the upcoming action film in a short featurette. Among them are...

The Expendables 3 Trailer

Comic-Con Excites Once Again: Here Are The Highlights

The San Diego Comic-Con is one of the biggest events of the popular arts calendar and rarely fails to...

Comic-Con Excites Once Again: Here Are The Highlights

Jimi: All Is By My Side Trailer

Jimi Hendrix started earning money from his musical career as a simple backing guitarist at the...

Jimi: All Is By My Side Trailer

Ten Of The Best Quentin Tarantino Movie Soundtrack Songs

In Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has managed to assemble another top draw...

Ten Of The Best Quentin Tarantino Movie Soundtrack Songs

Tusk - Trailer

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) has a job that most could only dream of. He spends his working days travelling...

Tusk Trailer
Advertisement

Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Quentin Tarantino seems to have had a change of heart against the individuals...

 Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

A group of young women from Philadelphia that founded a website titled...

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year

Excited fans first heard the news that former 'That 70's Show' co-stars...

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year


More recommendations

Advertisement