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ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN

SYNOPSIS:
The ice age is coming to an end and the giant valley that's been home to Diego the saber toothed tiger (voice of Denis Leary), Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) is going to be flooded when the ice dam surrounding it bursts. While the hapless Scrat chases his elusive nut in a series of escapades, the rest of the animals are heading for the safety of the far end of the valley, where a giant boat shaped tree bark will take them to dry land. On the way and to Manny's pleasant surprise, they meet the other remaining mammoth, Ellie (Queen Latifah) and her two manic possum buddies, the possums Crash (Sean William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck). Manny hopes to propagate his species now that he has found a female, but things don't go smoothly, either for the would be mammoth couple, nor for Scrat, nor for any of them.

Review by Louise Keller:
Global warming is a fact of life for everyone - even for the animated characters in Ice Age 2. The sequel is a good natured adventure targeted at the youngest members of the family aiming to combine a freezer full of visual humour, goofy characters and a lively voice cast. But where is the heart? I was ready, willing and able to let my heart be warmed, but there was no crescendo or mammoth emotional journey. My enjoyment was limited to an arm's length experience, watching the wizardry of 60 animators effecting a few innovative ideas.

The character that endears us most is the little squirrel battling frantically to secure his prized acorn. With not a single word of dialogue, Scrat the squirrel seesaws on the ice, pole-vaults over glaciers, saws a circle of ice with his claws before donning it like a Queen Elizabeth collar and dreams of an acorn-paradise in the sky. But his antics are a running gag, detached from the rest of the characters who are struggling with their own journeys and sense of identities. I enjoyed the incongruity of Queen Latifah's long-lashed mammoth who thinks she is a possum, and takes elephant jokes to the edge.

Despite the great efforts that obviously went into the making of the film, my emotions remained frozen and I was disappointed in the experience. I didn't chill, I agitated.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I wouldn't take my 5 - 8 year old to Ice Age 2 for fear of boring him or her to sleep, with all that clap trap about a mammoth ooochie poochie affair to save the species. As a piece of entertainment, the film is a flop except for a handful of scenes that either rely on the age old rules of animated cartoons (physically extreme punishment for victim animal in a series of accidents and/or attacks) or on sight gags within the action. Somewhere beneath the surface lurks a subversive mood which erupts in full flowering when a gaggle of vultures circling the endangered army of wild animals break into a choreographed song and dance number: Food Glorious Food, from Oliver. It matters that the kiddies will have never seen/heard the musical only because half the humour is its out of context inappropriateness. If only the whole film could have been driven by this sensibility, it might have succeeded in being edgy and funny and fresh. (Like playing the Exodus theme as the animals saunter unhurriedly away from danger ... )

Instead, we get jokes like male mammoth to female mammoth: your butt is big. Female, coyly: oooh, do you really think so?

The characters, with their anthropomorphised baggage and repetitious behaviour, do not endear themselves to us enough to make us care for their fate. The story is so feeble as to be almost worthless and the direction is listless, relying on the running gag with Scrat and his ever just out of reach acorn to keep us entertained. The best that can be said for the digitally created film is that it does animal fur and water really well.

If it fails as entertainment, can it redeem itself with some educational value? No, not for a moment could you accuse Ice Age 2 of providing any useful or interesting information about its setting whatsoever.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN (G)
(US, 2006)

VOICES: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Jay Leno, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott, Chris Wedge

PRODUCER: Lori Forte

DIRECTOR: Carlos Saldanha

SCRIPT: Jon Vitti

MUSIC: John Powell

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 6, 2006







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