Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

ICE AGE 2: Starting Out Summer with such a delightfully sizzling meltdown
by Reymundo Salao

Just in time for the end of the classes, ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN starts out the summer season with such a sizzling meltdown of fun and laughter.

In this sequel of the highly successful and enjoyable animated comedy "ICE AGE", Manny the woolly mammoth, Sid the Sloth, and Diego the Saber-tooth Tiger, along with Scrat the Rodent are back, continuing their adventurous life during the Earth's Ice Age. But this time, their little peace is alarmed when they found out that there is a big meltdown that is about to happen and that it may cause a catastrophic flood that can wipe them off the face of the Earth. In their journey to seek escape and survival, they meet Ellie, a female woolly mammoth who thinks she's a possum, along with her two "brothers' Crash and Eddie, pesky little possums whose impish energy seems to energize the herd of characters in this movie.

A number of big shot celebrities lent their voices in this movie. Of course, Ray Romano as Manny, John Leguizamo as Sid, and Dennis Leary as Diego all returned to play their respective roles from the last movie. They are joined by Queen Latifah who voiced the character of Ellie, and Seann William Scott and Josh Peck as possums Crash and Eddie. In addition, comedian Will Arnett and late night talk show celebrity Jay Leno also lent their voices to supporting characters. The film is directed by Carlos Saldanha whose credits include animated features "Robots" and the first "Ice Age" movie.

I was surprised to see the theater packed with kids and families on a Wednesday evening screening. Then I realized that classes have already ended by this week and it sure is in synch with the opening of this family-friendly film. If one could feel the vibe of a wholesome crowd ready for some Ice Age fun on a Wednesday evening, I could imagine how much more on a weekend.

But to those whose funny bones are hard to reach, this sequel may not be as rib-tickling as the first one, but as much as Ice Age 2 may just be a clich├ęd-up chip off the old movie it sure is, at least, gives some satisfaction and a loud laugh off the film's target audience: the families. The theater where I watched this movie in would light up in the loud laughter of kids and parents alike. In addition, the storyline of the sequel seems inevitably important as a continuation of the first movie; just as the first movie tells of the coming of the Ice Age, the sequel tells its end, that is, when a meltdown occurs and the Earth is restored to its normal global climate. But as strict followers of science might argue that the actual Ice Age lasted for around more than a hundred years, what may be referred in the movie is what is known as an interglacial warming period.

As far as the character of the rodent Scrat would go, there's a whole lot of funnier antics, as this "posterboy" (or "poster-rat" as it may seem) of the Ice Age movie is still relentlessly pursuing that acorn that just always seems to slip off his grasp. The animation detail in this movie gets a step ahead with animated visuals like water, which is one thing that stands as a challenge to many animated projects. Many of the scenes that involve water and floods are spectacularly realistic to watch, as well as the fur in the woolly mammoths that also look amazingly realistic. The team of animators, along with Blue Sky Studios, the home of "Ice Age," "Robots," the Oscar-winning short "Bunny," have done a great job with Ice Age 2. The music and sound effects were also buzzing with delightful energy. There is even a musical number with singing vultures that really knocked me out with laughter.

ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN is enjoyable and hilarious. A real family treat just in time for the end of the school year and the opening of the summer vacation season. Definitely for kids of all ages.

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