Film Reviews:

Ice Age

(Chris Wedge, US, 2002)

Very entertaining entry into the big-budget American animation race that has obsessed Hollywood since Toy Story's global success in 1995. Brought to us courtesy of Fox Animation teaming up (Pixar and Disney stylee) with Blue Sky Studios, this is another family-oriented comedy adventure featuring talking animals. Here, since its set during an ice age, the main characters are a woolly mammoth, a sloth, a sabre-toothed tiger and a rat-like thingy. The simple story revolves around the stupid sloth and wise mammoth teaming up to return a human baby back to her tribe. Only the sabre-toothed tiger they come across has other plans.

Ice Age is short, simple and effective. The voice cast are well chosen with a lisping John Leguizamo the standout as Sid the daffy sloth, along with Denis (The Usual Suspects) Leary a good counterfoil as the big cat Diego. However, funniest character is the imaginary Scrat who serves little purpose plot wise but does provide some of the best laughs and moments. Which is this film's biggest problem. The main storyline is overly familiar, and if it weren't for the wonderful visuals, it would border on the plain old boring.

Scrat appears once in a while to provide us with a good laugh or as an excuse to deliver some neat eye candy (see the stunning opening ice collapse sequence). The more you think about it the more you realise that the memorable set pieces are really there only to shore up the rest of it. The net effect being that this comes across as a series of shorts and sequences tacked together around an otherwise weak plot.

Still, whilst it is easy to point to Ice Age's shortcomings, this is a fun way to spend 80 minutes (reread the first two words of this review). And, as a testament to the skills and talents of those responsible for the animation work at Blue Sky, you'd be mean to ask for much more than what is delivered. 7/10

Rob Dyer

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A-Z of Film Reviews