SYNOPSIS: The movie begins when Ice Age regular, the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat’s efforts to protect his only possession—his prized acorn—lead to the great Continental Drift. As the earth shifts and breaks apart woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the sarcastic smilodon (Dennis Leary) get separated from their families. Their journey to reunite with their kin puts them directly into the path of ape pirate Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his murderous band of misfits, including Shira (Jenifer Lopez), a female saber-toothed tiger who learns the meaning of friendship and love.
Richard: 2 Stars
Chris: 2 ½ Stars
Richard: Chris, I loved the Simpson’s short that plays before Ice Age. It’s a funny, gently paced thriller for kids with jokes that parents and film geeks will love. In fact I wanted more of that and less of Ice Age. The main feature is nicely animated but is saddled with a story so by-the-book it feels like it would have been old hat even in the ice age. That’s my take. You, however, had two of the world’s youngest film critics with you. What did they think?
Chris: Indeed, I brought my sons Jack (5) and Elliot (3) with me and as you’ll read in the sidebar below, they were more impressed than I. Now, I’d watch a movie about lawn darts if it was in 3D so my eyeballs were pleased by all the comin-at-ya razzle dazzle. But other, than that…Ice Age left me kinda numb. And here’s my biggest problem with the picture and all of the Ice Age films…. Manny the Mammoth…. you can’t see his mouth. He has NO expressions. The dullest animated hero in recent memory.
RC: Manny’s not aided by a lazy script which feels like it was run through the Cliche-O-Matic. The continental divide device is novel, but the theme–family and friends mean everything–has been done before and better. Couple that with jokes that come out of nowhere and feel tacked on–apropos of nothing a bird asks a mammoth if water tastes like boogers when they drink through their trunks–and you’re left with a movie that is as lifeless as the expression on Manny’s face.
CA: Absolutely. It also doesn’t help that dead-eyed Manny is voiced by Ray Romano, whose velvet tones remind me of a post-pubescent Kermit the Frog. The rest of the cast phones it in too (maybe literally!), obviously due in part to that sleepy script you’ve mentioned. The only one that registers is GAME OF THRONES’ Peter Dinklage, who is suitably monstrous and scuzzy as the pirate monkey Caption Gutt.
RC: Agreed, Dinklage is horrifying and scuzzy, in a good way. Also horrifying: they still have 20,000 years of history and sequel potential to go until Manny and company retire.
CA: Until they end up in space, right? I think we both agree that the film leave much to be desired dramatically, but our gripes won’t stop the kids from dragging their parents to it this weekend.
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