Thursday, January 11, 2007

MOVIE REVIEW - Ice Age: The Meltdown

* As usual, I begin by stating that my only qualifications as a reviewer extend no further than my love of television and film. I'm not an academic, when it comes to this particular topic. I just talk about what I like and what I don't like. *

I'll also add that I received this dvd for free for review purposes, but that had no bearing on my critique.
The Story.
The Plot Outline, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB): "Diego, Manny and Sid return in this sequel to the hit Ice Age. This time around the Ice Age is over and is starting to melt, which will destroy their valley. So they must unite and warn everyone about the situation."

I'll be honest with you. I saw the first ICE AGE movie simply because I had little else to do and it was at the $1 theater.

Whodathunkit? It was actually good - very good, in fact.

When I heard they were making a sequel, I figured it was just another example of people squeezing every last penny they could get from a given franchise, even though they've no more story to tell.

I was both right and wrong - but mostly wrong.

The Acting.
John Leguizamo (sp?) is fantastic. There are no two ways about it.
His "Sid" is pretty much hideous, but the actor and other filmmakers found the secret recipe that allows one to mix the most disgusting and lovable characteristics into palatable character.

Latifah's voice-acting was distracting to me, but this was probably largely due to my own issues: I just Black characters and actors more harshly, at times, and then there's the fact that I've known of Latifah since I was a kid and she was still with the Flava Unit. Sometimes, there's a certain amount of cognitive dissonance associated with seeing or hearing her in comedy and drama productions. I will say, though, that she eventually disappeared within the character.

At this point, she's almost completely disappeared as I've watched this movie two or three times... and counting.

Manny was still gruff - consistently skirting the edge of being a butthole and being one of the crew. Diego was defanged a bit, so to speak, but still fun to have around. In fact, I was surprised he remained relevant after his character's transition from the first film. The oposum brothers were great. Can't say enough about them. You've just gotta see'em.

Skrat is an instant classic. Not a single word uttered by this character, yet we all know and love him so well.

This is the kind of story that's like a movie my lady and I just finished watching - All the King's Men.


Well, I just mean that, if you spend too much time trying to anticipate where it's going to go or what the lessons are - what the messages are - you'll be doing yourself a disservice, as a movie-watcher. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The story moves along quite smoothly. Everyone's motivation and character evolution is evident, but not usually too obvious. Manny's was surprisingly cliched, at times, but not enough to spoil the flick, for me.

As I hinted, above, this time they didn't quite have as much of a story to tell. The first movie had much more emotional traction, whereas this one is a wild and fun ride. Somehow, that wasn't a problem, at all. I think it may have been due to the fact that they had gags galore and they not only worked, but were novel.

I honestly chuckle picturing the stereotypical Hollywood writer pitching some of these very atypical lines.

I guess the difference between the original director and the sequel's director is rather evident enough, as described above, but "different" isn't always a bad thing. (And I enjoyed the commentary track.)


I wasn't interested in the animation style or these unusual characters, but I've been converted - twice. Now we understand why there's been a whole slew of animated anthropomorphism.

Except in this case, it really, really works. (If you can, watch the original, first.)

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