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At least it wasn't bad to the point that I was angry I had paid money
for it, and if anything, it means that I can now bash non-Pixar CG
animated output without admitting that I haven't seen much of it. In
fact, it was interesting to see what the formula for these
megablockbusters is nowadays.
Of course there's celebrities, but some of them are so D-list that you wonder what the possible advantage of hiring them over actual voice actors really is. There's an attempt at wry humor, but it strikes one as ultimately revealing the failure of the writers to be as clever as they think they are. Sure there are some inspired bits, like the little critter chasing the acorn, but even that bit wears out by the end, and they tend to have no real connection to the rest of the film.
The worst of it is, the animals here are just ugly! When I see something like this, I just think back to The Lion King and wonder how we managed to go so far backwards in terms of representing animated fauna. The plot is nonexistent; there's supposed to be some impending whatever, but mostly it's just a backdrop for some drawn-out, seen-it-all-before romance. It's really odd that this is what passes for entertainment, family or otherwise, nowadays.
The children liked it but they weren't riveted. That's the short of it.
It wasn't a shocking disaster, but it was just a bit muddled. A little
scattered. Fragmented. It failed to engage me.
But let's be positive. The writers wisely decided to vastly expand the role of Scrat the Squirrel in this version. Periodically we get to take a break from watching the mammoth, sloth, tiger, possums, and other mammoth walk very slowly along toward the vague "other end" of a vague "valley" to avoid a flood that is being caused by global warming. We get to step back from the grindingly uninspired mammoth love story and the other many subplots that go with the many characters. We get to watch a squirrel chase an acorn. And those sequences present some of the funniest bits in the film.
The rest of it is just kind of there. One problem is that there's really no reason for a sloth, a tiger, and a mammoth to be casting their lots together, except that they did in the first movie. That movie, I felt, had a storyline that involved actual characterization, growth, change, a real tension, etc. When the tiger almost fell off the cliff in Ice Age #1, I gasped. This time, I fidgeted. It just didn't seem real. And that's what I want from an animated movie about talking prehistoric animals -- REALNESS. No, but seriously, without some degree of actual jeopardy, of actual question of what will happen from scene to scene, without someone to root for and embrace -- it's just pointless.
The only character I was getting that for was the saber tooth squirrel. They could have saved a lot of money in celebrity voices.
Everyone had a subplot because they had to have something to do, so that was tidily arranged for them. But nobody's subplot had anything to do with the others'. And the global storyline about the flood was just a reason to walk... slowly. Slowly walk. And pester each other half-heartedly about how they were all going to die. Or not.
Like I said, the children didn't complain. I did laugh, many times, at the places I was supposed to. But it wasn't great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scrat, the little squirrel, is the bookend of ICE AGE and ICE AGE 2:
THE MELTDOWN which opened this past Friday in American theatres. His
isolated storyline is the one thing that I enjoyed because it has the
unpredictability of a hairpin plot and the visual craziness of a Rube
Goldberg sequence and is right at the center of the real action.
This time lapse is one of the few complaints that I can have in this latest movie, but again, being a film aimed at children and young adults, no one is up for the count. No humans cross the path of the story. All ICE AGE is, is the story of just that: the warming of the Earth, the end of the idyllic valley where all these different animals co-exist in happy harmony, and the search for a boat that rests at the other end of the valley and will offer a place for them to weather the flood about to ensue. (It's an irony that Scrat is the one who first encounters the melting of the ice in his hilarious opening sequence.) Manny is still pining for his family and feels lonely despite his friends. This doesn't last long: soon he meets a female mammoth named Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah)... but there's a "mild" problem. She thinks she's a possum. Her two possum "brothers" don't deny it. Diego and Sid think she's not all there but encourage their acquaintance, while Manny wonders if this eccentric mammoth might be for him. In Sid's words, "She's two tons of fun and you're no fun at all." ICE AGE 2 makes its point to include the outsider who is really an insider in its plot. It's made the news dozens of times -- an animal of one breed adopting one of a totally different breed -- and here, Ellie eventually learns the reason she behaves like a possum in a very moving sequence not unlike Manny's in the first and I would like to see anyone who won't shed a tear watching her as a young mammoth finding her surrogate family and her own adopted identity. Even then, she's okay with that -- she is happy about herself. Manny, however, is not; he is a conformist who can't see that this bright thing stomping around the woods and being as carefree as you like it is more herself than he himself might be. No wonder he looks into his own reflection: there is the notion that when finding love, one looks into what reflects you. Ellie definitely complements him... but he cannot see it. Yet.
Global warming is now the omnipresent villain. A reality today, ICE AGE remains contemporary despite its setting and brings forth the moral of what may happen if the Earth's poles melt. Everywhere they go there are signs of warming: geysers explode from the inside of the Earth, water rises dramatically, the dam retaining the ocean of water just behind it is about to give way. Water, water, everywhere, and nasty fishes await their moment.
ICE AGE 2 is a good sequel. Visually it's beautiful and almost life-like and the great care of constructing the universe in which Manny and his friends live shows. One minor complaint is one which has them on their exodus, crossing what seems to be hills, only to then shift inexplicably to ice again, which to me seems to be only to add tension to these shark-like fishes who are looking for meat and to put Diego the saber-toothed tiger into his own worst fears. Then again, this is a animated movie and in following with traditions, the main characters have to travel through danger and be in danger before being in safety and in this it is effective.
Overall I enjoyed it (or let's say, the kid in me did), but any adults looking for an adult story should go elsewhere because despite the material, it's not here. A dance sequence was the high point (children in the theater cheered it and laughed at its surprising denouement), and the vulture's quest for raw meat, complete with a Broadway-esquire musical, is a riot. And of course, it ends appropriately with Scrat in acorn heaven, being pulled back to Earth, and incorporated into the main story.
Full feature animation has settled into two paths which will never
again pass. One is the long form narrative which makes animated films
no different than most other movies, real movies. The other is a
collection of jokes. Now there are lots of non-animated movies that
have adopted this strategy as well, but cartoon jokes have different
rules. They are more extreme in situation and character, but they
depend on an ordinariness and familiarity for their baseline.
Watching one of these hurts your soul, I am convinced, because it trains you to not actually notice the story, the ideas, the emotions. It hurts the whole world, because if we cannot see beyond the joke, the simple shot, we elect dummies. We marry for fun. We school to tests.
This should be boycotted. The entertainment value is so slight to be essentially naught. And the harm is significant.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
Although it doesn't say "2" on the title, this is the sequel to "Ice
Age." It's just as good as the first movie, if not better. The graphics
are so clean, with all the whites and the blues, the ice and skies,
that it's stunning to view in many, many scenes. Just go to a
electronics store chain and see how often this DVD is played as a
"demo" to show off new TV sets.
Story-wise, what is a bit different from the first movie - and this was fine with me - was more lines and scenes featuring the two funniest characters: Scat, the squirrel and Sid The Sloth. The squirrel has no lines but is hilarious, as he was in the first film. Scat is still trying to capture or hold that elusive acorn and every quick scene with him is clever. He had far more screen time in this movie.
Meanwhile, John Leguizamo has almost all the funny lines in the feature story as "Sid." I lost track how many humorous things he said, but he just makes everyone laugh out loud during this film.
We also get a lot of adventure in here as the ice is melting in the area the animals live and the have to get out the valley before the dam breaks and they are all swept away in a huge flood. There is good suspense about that, enough to just about wear you out by the end. Add to the story a romance angle with a female mammoth (Ellie) and you have another great movie with a lot to offer. You can bet there will be another sequel and if its as good as th first two, it will be another winner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It should be obvious to most people who watch this movie that Chris
Wedge didn't direct it. Unfortunately, the movie seems to suffer a
tremendous loss in quality because of it. There were even portions to
Ice Age 2 that seemed... well... absolutely pointless.
Ice Age: The Meltdown suffered from that same problem with story, but wound up making things worse. The pacing was too slow, and none of the characters, both old or new, seemed too concerned about the urgency of the end of their world (Rather, the world they had within that valley.) until the climax, and it seemed only to service the not-too-well-done love story between Manny and Ellie.
That brings me to the talent. I like Ray Romano. Some people I know dislike him for his voice, but I think the voice honestly plussed a mammoth character like Manny. In fact, the original cast from the first movie greatly agreed with me. They were nice to look at and knew how to actually do voice talent.
My beef was with the additions to the cast. Some things I like Queen Latifah in, but she doesn't fit at all in Ice Age: The Meltdown. What is worse is her method of performance, playing the species-confused mammoth, Ellie. Queen seems to really... overdo it, playing as if she's playing to an extremely young audience, which, in my experience, kills the interest even in the extremely young audience! The actors who played the possum twins Crash and Eddie weren't as bad, but they seemed to make the possums even more annoying than the scripted dialog ever made them before. And then Jay Leno, a talented comedian... who seemed to play an unlike salesman-schemer type of character. It just seemed... not-Leno to me.
That brings me to the next department: Characters and their development. Again, the old boys did me good. I wasn't disappointed, aside from them acting... so unlike they were in Ice Age 1. Manny is emotional and unhappy through most of the movie at the prospect of being the last mammoth, up until Ellie appears, then he turns into an over-done romantic comedy character not unlike what you would see in a dreaded Julia Roberts film. Diego was even more alarming. Instead of being the tough, direct, tough "sentinel" of the bizarre 'herd' we liked in the first movie, he turned into a teddy bear with a fear of water. Sid was Sid, though he did seem somewhat more intelligently developed than Ice Age 1, which is out of character for him. And I'm not so certain that Sid from the first movie would be so respect-driven.
The new characters get on my nerves, particularly the possums. They were not just annoying, they were so incredibly annoying that I wanted to skip past all the parts in which they had played, which was almost the entire movie. They accomplished little story-wise, aside from annoying the original characters and, to a more severe degree, the audience. Then there's Ellie. She wasn't as bad as her "brothers" but the idea of a mammoth thinking she is a possum is such an incredible stretch, since common sense combined with a good head on her shoulders would cause her to notice a few things:
1. She is much larger than her brothers. 2. She is much heavier than her brothers. 3. She looks nothing like her brothers. 4. She doesn't share the same anatomy as her brothers.
So, to me, the idea that Ellie would think she is a possum seems rather insulting to the intelligence of the audience, unless she is revealed to be mentally deficient in some manner, which doesn't even seem remotely apparent to me.
Scrat shines at his best. Long live Scrat. In fact, Scrat was the true hero of the movie, having actually saved the valley from totally annihilation at the climax. Though that wasn't his intention. That makes it even funnier to me.
The visual look is nice and stunning, though not to the Pixar extreme. But nobody has ever done CG movies comparable in quality to Pixar's own. But still, they accomplished major improvements to the first movie, though there were bits that still screamed out "Computer Generated" to anyone who is looking for it, especially one shot where a massive torrent of water begins flooding the valley. It looked to congealed and computer-driven to me.
There were too many sudden shifts in set. At one shot, they're suddenly walking on solid ground and the next thing the audience knows, they're dangling on a tenuous stack of rocks, trying not to die. It happens numerous times in the film, where things happen to terrain that are illogical at best.
Music is excellent. I like the song that the mini-sloth tribe chanted, though it was too short to allow me to get into it. The vultures musical number was good, but seemingly out of place. The rest of the music is pretty good. Not all the way up there with music that god me going like Finding Nemo or the Lion King, but most composers don't actually make the attempt at making emotional music with the melancholy. Sound is sound. Hard to mess it up if you are professionals.
The movie is saved from extinction by Scrat. And one wonders how much better this film would have been had Chris Wedge directed this one like he directed the original. A lot of the jokes, unless Scrat related, didn't amuse me, though there were a few jokes I enjoyed. There was also a few jokes and lines *massively* inappropriate for younger audience, and with a lack of story or interesting in-character characters, the movie won't be captivating adults, either.
The sequel to 2002's Ice Age has managed to recapture the magic of the
first film, whilst beating off most recent efforts into CGI films that
didn't come from Pixar. This time around the three friends Manny, Sid,
and Diego must join their newly formed herd to escape the valley they
are living in, as the ice is beginning to melt, and threatens to flood
Like last time, there is no grand plot here (the first being based on another journey, this time to return a child to its family), and it merely serves to introduce new characters and create laugh-out-loud situations for the trio to overcome. Of the new characters, all are competent (Queen Latifah's Mammoth-Possum-wannabe is good) but never take the lime-light away from our original heroes, which is as it should be; although I did particularly like Will Arnett's Lone Gunslinger Vulture, a rather apocalyptic vulture. All the personalities are back, as is the bickering between them slightly more playful than last time.
Some standout scenes include Sid's initiation into a tribe of fellow Sloth's, and the origins of whack-a-mole with the possums all the episodes are loosely connected by a plot which is there to serve for convenience, but this doesn't matter as the film is inventive enough to look past structural failings and just enjoy it. It has increased the fear factor somewhat the group have to evade two nasty looking sea creatures that have been thawed out by the melting ice, and these scenes, although thrilling, can be scary for younger viewers.
Ice Age: The Meltdown keeps its individual style of animation; at times crossing between its general cartoon-look and then throwing in some genuinely brilliant effects the underwater shots in particular, and also the effect of the animal's fur after they leave the water are very nice. But it's through the cartoonish style that Ice Age: The Meltdown manages to keep its charm, and there is plenty to go around.
Finally, Scrat is back trying to get his acorns. Used in the first film as more of an advertising ploy, Scrat gets much more screen time in the sequel, as his quest to retrieve his precious acorn against insurmountable odds creates situations that get progressively more hilarious as the film goes on, and provides many of the films true laugh-out-loud moments. At 90 minutes the film is trim and so doesn't outstay its welcome, knowing when enough is enough to keep it all fresh. It's a wonderful sequel that all ages should enjoy.
More reviews at: http://www.thelazylounge.net
The movie was good on the whole. It's as good as the last one. Funny, too! I couldn't help laughing. The movie was hilarious, but that's good anyway! The story was good had a fairy tale ending, sort of you know, a kiddie story with happy endings... The song in the middle bored me a bit. It was good, whatever... The sound effects were okay. I liked the story which was nice... The visual and special effects were good. Kids and youngsters are gonna like the movie. It's worth watching once. The movie keeps you glued to the screen, whatever... There's a lot of adventure in the middle... The character of Diego, Sid, etc. were funny and good. The movie doesn't bore you... If you wanted a movie with a lot of funny dialogues, and stuff... then, this movie is a must for you!!!
I was getting ready to trash ice age : the melt down. Since the first
film was so self contained, there was no real need for a sequel
(besides the need for more money ) and this review seemed like a
perfect opportunity to chastise the greed of big film studios.
Well after watching the film i can report that they'll be no ranting here- Ice age 2 is a pleasantly entertaining and funny film with with some stunning character animation.Much like the original , ice age 2 meanders along a series of set pieces and visual gags and doesn't out stay its welcome. Fan favourite scrat the squirrel returns for more hilarious, futile attempts to get his elusive nut and there are some clever innuendos for grown ups.
However while its entertaining, it has the same problems of the original (a: its a bit too safe b: Its very predictable ) with the addition of some new ones- namely the new characters .Not only are the new characters not interesting but the possum brothers both reach a scrappy doo level of annoyance.
Ice age : the melt down is a cash in for sure, but its a funny and entertaining one .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Though not as classic or funny as the original Ice Age, Ice Age 2 is
something you won't want to miss. Once again, we travel back in time to
meet up with Manny, Diego, and Sid. As the title describes, the ice is
melting and the whole valley is in danger of being flooded. All the
creatures must migrate to a gigantic boat waiting on the other side of
the valley to float them safely on the water.
The most popular character, Scrat, is back. The squirrel's muted attempts to retrieve his precious acorn from hilarious situations deserve some sort of award to the creativeness of the animators. The cute creature comes into frame every ten or twenty minutes, and the audience will laugh at his mere presence.
New characters include two possums and another female mammoth who has come under the impression that she herself is a possum. The two real possums work as a team to ensure mischief for the mismatched herd in Ice age 2. Sean William Scott and John Peck voice the two and manage to excellently portray the carelessness and silliness that will make you think back to the class clowns of your own middle school. Queen Latifah is Ellie, the mammoth-believed-too-be-possum, which our beloved Manny develops a crush on.
A few of the scenes are entertaining in that they look like Busby Berkly stepped in to direct them. The dancing and singing is intriguing rather than boring. Ice Age 2, thankfully, does not go the route of musical.
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