A long list of extras.
  • OVERALL
    2.5
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A long list of extras.
THE BAD
A lame animated sequel with a long list of extras, most of which are not worth the time.
THE FEATURE
What can we say about the introduction of new technology into film? It is always a marvel. Take for example the use of CGI animation in films. It seems like just yesterday that Pixar's Toy Story debuted in theaters. I could only stare in awe at the screen and question the visual piece of eye candy before me. The feature-length, CG animated film was born, and it was reputable for the hard work and labor put into the process. Each one of these 3D animated pictures took years to produce. Therefore, since they were released on such rare occasions, writers had ample opportunity to produce witty scripts to accompany the magnificent visuals.

Flash forward to 2006. CGI animation has certainly caught on. While still a daunting task, progression in computer technology has allowed features to be cranked out at a faster rate to make more money. Of course, this inevitably means poorer material. 3D animated films seem to have become a lazier genre that features ensemble casts of celebrities who provide very little to what could be magnificent. There are even pointless sequels. Take for example the latest follow-up, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.

This prehistoric sequel is a follow-up to a rather promising film. Ice Age, which was released only a few years ago, was a rather heart warming story about friendship between a mammoth, saber-tooth tiger, and a sloth. Those of you familiar with this film might also remember a Scrat creature scurrying frantically about the film trying to protect an acorn through slapstick sequences. While not as genuine as a Pixar product, the original was still undeniably clever.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the sequel. Veteran animator Chris Wedge, who directed the original, throws in the towel and allows triteness to preside in this obnoxious sequel. The same cast of characters returns along with their respective voice actors. Except, this time around, Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the Sabertooth (Dennis Leary) are on a mission to escape a meltdown. When the ice around them shows signs of melting and flooding, the gang makes a run for it.

Of course, the trio encounters a slew of new characters. Manny, thinking his species is extinct, encounters female mammoth Ellie (Queen Latifah). However, before the two of them can get busy....re-populating, Manny must overlook Ellie's delusion that she is a possum.

While the original Ice Age showed warmth beyond its frigid fa&#231ade, this sequel simply falls flat from the get-go. It seems clear that anytime a CG children's film comes out, it makes money. So, why should producers bother coming up with good jokes. The characters here are neither charming nor funny. Instead they are obnoxious, grating, and disrespectful. While Leguizamo's Sid was borderline tolerable in the first feature, the annoyance level is amplified by Sean William Scott and Josh Peck as a pair of possums that spend the entire film doing uninspired slapstick that will insult the intelligence of anyone over five.

And speaking of unoriginal gags, did I mention the return of the infamous Scrat? This goes to show that all good gags must come to an end. The ugly/cute critter spends the duration of the film, you guessed it, chasing his acorn. Even I myself laughed hysterically at such an odd creature's adventures in the first installment, but there is no attempt to put a fresh spin on something so firmly established in pop culture. It is clear that the writers had no desire to put forth the effort for something a little different.
THE EXTRAS
No Time For Nuts

This is an additional cartoon that capitalizes on the misadventures of Scrat. As usual, the toothy critter wants to bust his nut (not a sex joke), and faces robots, flying arrows, and a gladiator arena to get the job done. If you are not yet sick of the Scrat, then this is worth checking into.

Commentary

This disc includes two tracks. The first is a solo outing for director Carlos Saldanha, while the second is a massive gathering of crew. In fact, this must be the most crowded commentary track in the history of DVD. Everyone is here from producers to animators to lighting technicians. While I expected the second track to be overwhelming, it is well-worth the listen. The crew members of animation films are the true magicians, and they have plenty to say.

Arcade Games

When it comes to putting games on a DVD, it is a challenge to produce something that can be played with just a DVD player remote control. This variety of games is not a bad selection. My personal favorite is a guessing game of soccer that pits sloths against dodo birds.

Crash and Eddie Stunts

The two aforementioned annoying possums are Crash and Eddie, and this is a pointless compilation of their slapstick stunts. This is for short attention spans only.

Animation Director's Chair

This is finally an opportunity to exercise the underused angle button. Viewers can select from various scenes, and see how they look in storyboard, preliminary animation, and finished product status.

Lost Historical Films

This is a somewhat clever concept that offers a selection of old-fashioned-looking educational films that pertain to specific species in the film. While the idea is clever, it is not insightful. It only restates obvious elements from the film.

Sound Effects Lab

Once again, this is clearly for really little children. Different sound effects (i.e. jungle noises) are played in sync with the Scrat fighting piranhas. Personally, I don't think this could be any more unfunny, but I am sure children will dig it.

Silly Sid and John Leguizamo

The first half consists of a member of the animation team teaching kids how to draw a picture of Sid the Sloth, while the second half showcases John Leguizamo sucking on a lemon to demonstrate how he brings Sid's voice to life. This is rather cute and more fulfilling than many of the pointless extras on this disc.

Music Montage and Sloth Dancing

This is another pair of features strictly for kids. John Leguizamo teaches viewers how to do the mythical sloth dance, while the montage is just...well...another pointless montage used as DVD extra filler.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen (1.85:1). The picture quality is clear as can be, and the animation looks fantastic. Chris Wedge's original characters are all animated with colorful detail. If only funny things would come out of their mouths.
THE AUDIO
5.1 Dolby Surround. This animated feature is far from an epic that requires the power of surround. However, amplifying the countless instances of slapstick may be fun for the youngsters.
THE PACKAGE
I was not provided with a case for this special screener copy. However, I can only assume this comes in a standard keep case with the main characters pictured on the front cover.
THE FINAL WORD
Ice Age 2 is an inferior follow-up to its predecessor. This lame sequel relies on loud, obnoxious humor, and rarely shows that it has heart. While the jokes are clearly juvenile, I am not sure I would even recommend this for youngsters. Like a room full of ADD kids with Pixie Stix, this movie runs in circles with high energy and little self-control. To top it off, the extras are mostly about quantity, but not quality. I might suggest this as a rental, but I would personally opt for Pixar's wonderfully made Cars, also available on DVD.

Questions? Comments? Just want to talk movies? Drop me a line at dodd@movieweb.com

Do you like this review?

Comments