Ice Age (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/02/2002

Three out of five stars
Running time: 80 minutes

Average comedy with one or two laugh-out loud moments but nothing special – young children will enjoy it, accompanying adults will be glad it’s only 80 minutes long.

Say what you like about Ice Age, you can’t deny that it’s been brilliantly marketed – the images of its “sub-zero heros” must be burned into the brains of anyone who has glanced at the side of a bus by now. You can’t blame Fox for doing so, as their last attempt at an animated film (Titan AE) was an unmitigated disaster. Thankfully, though not on the level of Monsters Inc or Shrek, Ice Age at least delivers in the kiddie-pleasing department.

The plot is extremely simple. During the Ice Age, while most other animals are migrating south, Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) and Diego the Sabre-tooth Tiger (Denis Leary) band together to return a human baby to its tribe, despite Diego’s initially suspect motives.

Unsurprisingly, the movie isn’t exactly message-free, because, as with Monsters Inc, the creatures come to (sniff) care about each other (sniff) through their interactions with the child. Bless.

There is also a fourth character in the shape of Scrat, the rodent-like squirrel who steals every scene with his attempts to bury a solitary acorn in the icy wastes and who isn’t in the film nearly enough – indeed, the publicity and trailers lead you to expect more of him than there actually is.

The tried-and-tested formula of using comedians to voice the characters works pretty well here, just as it did with Shrek. Leary’s tiger benefits from Leary’s own sarcastic persona and voice, whereas an unrecognisable Leguizamo gets to show off his considerable vocal talent – as an actor he is all too often wasted in bit parts, which is a shame.

There are a few laugh-out loud moments, particularly the afore-mentioned scenes with Scrat (including an extremely cruel epilogue), but especially, in one of the very few adult-oriented jokes, the squadron of Dodos convinced of their own longevity and dedicated to safe-guarding their supplies stockpile of, um, three melons.

In short, Ice Age is worth seeing if you have small children to pacify for a couple of hours or if you’re an animation fan in general, but there’s nothing really special here.

Still, it’s nice to know that there’s another animation studio to challenge Dreamworks and Disney and perhaps the success of Ice Age will lead to bigger and better things from Fox, particularly now there’s a Best Animated Film Oscar to aim for.

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Ice Age (U)
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Content updated: 20/07/2018 21:34

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