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Toon Talk - From the Other Side:
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
March 31, 2006
Kirby reviews the 20th Century Fox film Ice Age: The Meltodown.
Toon Talk: From the Other Side
by Kirby C. Holt

(c)  20TH Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios
Ice Age: The Meltdown
 20TH Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios
MPAA Rating: PG

Mammoth Love

With Ice Age, their debut feature of four years ago, 20th Century Fox’s Blue Sky Studios had a crowd-pleasing hit and Oscar-nominated favorite, an enjoyable romp with light-weight laughs and impressive graphics. Alas, their sophomore effort, Robots (more like sopho-moronic), also directed by Chris Wedge, was a loud and obnoxious mess. Their third feature, Ice Age: The Meltdown (opening in theaters today) returns Blue Sky to the drawing board … or, make that computer screen, delivering most of the qualities of the first Age with only a few Robotic missteps.

Wedge hands full directorial reigns over to his co-director Carlos Saldanha, who picks up the story soon after the conclusion of the first film: Manny the mopey mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego the sly saber-tooth (Denis Leary) and Sid the simpleton sloth (John Leguizamo) have settled into a peaceful life amongst their diverse tribe, nestled within a serene glacial valley. That is, until it becomes apparent that their frozen home is quickly melting out from underneath them. Panic ensues, egged on by an opportunistic shyster armadillo named “Fast Tony? (Jay Leno), who promises safety in a boat located on the other side of the valley. Thus, it’s migrating time again.

(c)  20TH Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios

Along their journey, we learn that Manny may be the last of his kind, which you can imagine doesn’t do much for his cheerful disposition. Hope arrives in the wooly elephantine form of Ellie (Queen Latifah), but that hope is quickly dashed when Manny discovers that Ellie, orphaned as a child and raised by possums, thinks she is a possum. Sid plays matchmaker by inviting Ellie and her two pesky possum “brothers? Crash and Eddie (Sean William Scott and Josh Peck) along on their trek, but there are many bumps along this road to love and safety.

Padding out the story are such subplots as Diego’s fear of water (a big problem for a feline in a flood zone) and a pointless side trip for Sid into a land of miniature, rainbow-colored sloth who deify him -- before they sacrifice him to a lava pit. Two rather nasty-looking underwater carnivorous dinos are thrown in as well to up the danger levels and scary moments. And don’t worry, that scrappy scene-stealer Scrat (once again voiced by Chris Wedge) returns to provide the movie’s biggest laughs with his continuing love affair with acorns; the little critter even figures into the plot this go round.

Those looking for more of the same wacky humor from the first film will certainly be satisfied with this sequel, and the animation is equal to contemporary standards of computer animation, although some of the water effects leave a bit to be desired. Still, with all the snow gone, the animators do get a crack at some lush primeval vegetation.

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