- Movie Rating -

Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)

| March 27, 2006 | 0 Comments

Ice Age: The Meltdown is really two movies and, like the predators that loom throughout, both movies are vying for supremacy. The first involves the prehistoric caravan from the original in a fast-paced adventure story as they try to stay one step ahead of a nasty plague of global warming. The second wallows in long treks of dialogue about extinction, misunderstandings, reproduction, phobias, what-makes-a-family and at least one head-scratcher of an identity crisis. I enjoyed the first but for the second, I kept longing for my Fast-Forward button.

As you will recall, the characters from the earlier film Manfred the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth and Diego the Saber-toothed Tiger formed a small herd. They are no less friendly this time though some personality flaws start to emerge including Sid who contracts Dangerfield’s Disease and complains that he don’t get no respect; Diego has an apparent fear of water; Meanwhile, Manny fears that he’s the last of his kind. You don’t have to be Kreskin to figure out that all of these issues are dealt with in the third act.

But the larger problem begins with the information that the ice glaciers are melting and they will soon find themselves a mile underwater if they don’t find a legendary hollow log that will sail them to safety. That sets them on a long trek where they deal with their problems and Manny finds a pretty girl-mammoth named Elly (voice of Queen Lahtifah) who could help him repopulate the species if she wasn’t under the delusion that she’s a possum (It sounds lame but, trust me, it sets the stage for at least three brilliant sight-gags).

Manny and Elly are sweet together and I enjoyed a lot of their chemistry. But their scenes together run a bit long and there is talk after talk after talk after talk and where the movie should be bouncy it just kind of politely rolls. The dialogue leaves the visuals (which are breathtaking) left to be glanced mostly over their shoulders.

Apart from all of these problems is, of course, the reason we came to see the movie in the first place: Scrat the hapless squirrel who continues his endless quest to hold on to apparently the only acorn left on earth. He gets involved in three brilliant set-pieces, one involving piranha, one involving a run-in with a baby bird and a third that I can’t reveal but let’s just say it’s strikes a perfect a note and closes the movie. Scrat is what holds the movie for me, just like the original Ice Age he’s a hundred times more interesting than anything else in the film.

Scrat helps to break up those long passages of dialogue and so do two production numbers that I didn’t expect. One involves a masterpiece of comic genius involving some ever-watchful buzzards who perform perhaps the creepiest version of “Food, Glorious Food” that I’ve ever seen (somewhere Busby Berkley is either smiling or crying). The other involves a tribe of sloths who are so fascinated by Sid’s ability to make fire that they pronounce him their fire god. They go into a fun chanting number that – darn it – had my toes tapping. The problem is that these great scenes are a very small part of the movie, broken up by long passages in which the characters talk and talk and talk.

I wish the movie had found that kind of bouncy note of fun all the way instead of pausing for character flaws. As I said, this is two movies, one that moves and one stops for a long chat. I’m not averse to conversation but in the case of an animated comedy less might have been more.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2006) View IMDB Filed in: Animated, Kids