Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ice Age (Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha, 2002) Review

Well this was a risk. Why? Because I just watched the fourth film which means that this one probably hasn't aged well...mainly the animation. Aw well. Lots of people have fond memories of this film (I know I have) but people have probably given up on this film as well as the rest of the franchise just because it's over three films long (most people I talk to gave up on the third film). It was a clever idea and it showed that they have done their research by bringing lots of prehistoric creates (the majority of the creatures seen were real) so there is a reason to go back to them. Well then, let's take a look at Ice Age.

When a pack of sabre tooth tigers attack a group of humans trying to survive the ice age, they end up wiping out the entire camp expect for one woman and her baby. She manages to escape from the sabers but dissapears after giving her baby to a wooly mammoth. This mammoth is called Manny (Ray Romano) and, when finding himself stuck with an annoying sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo), now has to deliver the baby to the surviving members of the human tribe. It gets worse when Soto (Goran Visnjic), the leader of the saber pack, sends Diego (Denis Leary) to try and get the baby back. Diego manages to join Manny and Sid in an attempt the finish off the baby.

It's a simple plot of getting from point A to B but, as with most A to B films, it's about the journey and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this. It's a good film, nothing special but it's a nice treat. It's clearly a kids film as evident with characters such as Sid and Scrat (you don't need an introduction..if you've heard of this film then you know Scrat). Sid sometimes borders on the annoying but I can't say that Scrat's scenes are overly long. They are usually funny and good to look forward to. There are some clever things that happen in the movie and the backgrounds look great. Being in the ice age there would obviously be snow everywhere but the ice caves and glaciers look really nice and it adds to the world of this movie. The characters are great. I already mentioned Scrat and Sid but Manny and Diego are also good. Diego goes through some great character development and Manny is the typical stoic, closed off character. Ray Romano does well to capture that part of his character.

There are still many problems with this film. The animation really has not aged well. It looks like what the animated series spin-off would look like (that may or may not have been a take that to the series based on Kung Fu Panda). The character models look at bit off. Sure you could argue that it was the animation at the time but Shrek came before and that looked great. I guess it was Blue Sky's first CGI film and Dreamwrok's first CGI film (Antz) looked...okay...but that was the ninties...this is the noughties. Oh well, I'm not a CGI expert...I prefer traditional animation (YOU HEAR THAT DISNEY? I ACTUALLY LIKE TRADITIONAL ANIMATION!)

Ice Age is a fun film. It's really nothing special but it holds up quite well. It could be worse. The characters are well written and developed and, while the character models are a bit off, the backgrounds look nice and there's a lot of visual humour. It's funny but it's clearly a kids film. This isn't a bad film and I would recommend you watch it. It could be considered a classic, I guess. That's probably just down to Scrat though...

A well written film with good characters but the animation is a bit off even though it's a good 'Road To...' film.

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