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The ice age is coming and the animals are all heading south for warmer climates. All except one – Manny (voice of Ray Romano), a woolly mammoth is heading north alone. He acquires an unwitting companion in Sid (John Leguizamo), a sloth who’s been left behind in the rush. Meanwhile, a group of sabre toothed tigers has attacked a human village, devastating it. Their leader (Goran Visjnic) particularly wants a human baby as revenge for the tribe’s actions against the tigers. But his lieutenant Diego (Dennis Leary) somehow messes up and the baby and his mother escape over a waterfall. Manny and Sid find the baby – and Diego. The remaining humans including the child’s father have moved on. Now Manny and Sid have to return the baby to his tribe before the big freeze sets in, all the while watching out for the devious Diego.

Review by David Edwards:
On the big screen, Ice Age was a revelation – on DVD it manages to retain its magic while providing animation buffs with all the whiz-bang technical information they could possibly want. The story of Manny, Sid and Diego and their journey to return a human baby to its tribe remains a charming one. If you didn’t see the film in the theatre, the script provides a simple tale about forging friendships. It’s embellished with plenty of humour and amazing visuals – making a film that both kids and adults can enjoy. Big name voice talent from the likes of comedian Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), John Leguizamo and Dennis Leary aids immensely in bringing the characters to life. Leguizamo is in great form as the ditzy sloth Sid; while Romano brings a laconic charm to the lumbering bulk of Manny the woolly mammoth.

The ground-breaking animation has been masterfully transferred onto the disc, with not a flaw to be seen. Even the more complex sequences (like the manic dodos) are brilliantly realised on the smaller screen. This disc demonstrates the advantages of having a short main feature film; it leaves plenty of space on the disc for a raft of extras. In this case, they include a series of featurettes (oddly accessible from two seemingly different items on the menu) taking you through just about every aspect of making the film, from initial drawings to final cut.

There are two very funny short films on the disc – “Gone Nutty” and “Sid on Sid”. “Gone Nutty” is Scrat’s “missing adventure”. Scrat, you might recall, is the none-too-bright rodent with a passion for acorns who pops up occasionally during the film. This short fills in a “blank” in the film. The wonderful animated sequence is worth the price of the disc by itself. “Sid on Sid” is a funny little vignette in which Sid gives us his take on various scenes from the movie. The deleted scenes are generally pretty good, and are best viewed with the audio commentary on, which gives an insight into why the scenes were cut – and into the behaviour of test screening audiences in America.

One minor gripe about the DVD (particularly given its G rating) is the lack of any extras specifically for kids. My two enthusiastic assistants (ages 7 and 5) were somewhat crestfallen to discover there were no games on the disc. While the extras about how animation works were interesting enough, there’s nothing like a video game to light up a kid’s eyes. 

Ice Age the film was a terrific experience for viewers of all ages. Ice Age the DVD builds on the film’s charm and technical excellence with a slate of extras that will engage for hours. Although it would have been nice to see some more features specifically for kids, this is nonetheless a DVD package well worth acquiring.

Published October 10, 2002

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VOICES: Voices of Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, John Leguizamo

DIRECTOR: Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha

RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen enhanced for 16 X 9; Dolby Digital; English 5.1; English commentary 2.0; English subtitles for the hearing impaired; multi-language subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES: “Gone Nutty”, Scrat’s Missing Adventure; “Behind the Scenes of Ice Age” HBO Special; deleted scenes; “Scrat Reveals” segments; “The Making of Ice Age” featurettes; trailers; international clips; deleted scenes (with optional commentary); audio commentary; Sid voice development; multi-angle comparison sequences; Sid on Sid; interactive character galleries.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: 16 October 2002

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