Directed by Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge
Review by Eugene Kopman <email@example.com>
For me, this is the first four-star film of 2002. I can't say that Ice Age is better than the Oscar-nominated Shrek, which is already a modern-day classic, but it is better than Disney's Monsters, Inc.; Ice Age has that something that Monsters lacked to make it four stars.
The movie takes place during the animal migration to the south during a time in the Earth's history known as... the Ice Age. A mammoth, Manfred (Ray Romano), is the only one moving north into the cold. He, unfortunately for him, bumps into a sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo) who was left by his family. After two minutes on screen, you start to love Sid and at the same time feel sorry for Manfred for having him around. On the other side of the story we have a pack of saber-tooth tigers, led by Soto (Goran Visnjic), whose goal is to kill the human tribe and eat the child of the leader alive. During their raid, the mother escapes with the child and it is up to Soto's best hunter, Diego (Denis Leary), to retrieve the baby. Unfortunately, Manfred and Sid find the baby by the side of the river after the mother dies and decide to bring the human child back to his people. Manfred and Sid have no choice to enlist Diego as their tracker; what they don't know is that Diego is leading them into a trap.
This was a real treat to watch. The three main actors deliver great voice-over work to bring their characters to life. The three comedians throw in a few inside jokes that are very enjoyable. There are a lot of things I liked about this film, like the fact that the humans didn't talk was a good touch, considering animals had their own language, and the humans didn't develop a language until much later. The film also has a great story and a number of subplots which all work. But the thing that takes this movie over the top is a little pre-historic rat known as Scratch (supposedly voiced by the director Chris Wedge, even though all the sounds were screeching sounds). All Scratch did, throughout the entire movie, was hide a nut. But with the land covered with ice, Scratch sets up some extremely funny moments that are a treat to watch.
Animation is on the rise with Disney not being the studio producing animated films. With DreamWorks and now 20th Century Fox joining the league, Disney has competition on its hands that they might not be able to handle.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Ice Age (2002)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings