Well, why don't they call it The Big Chill? Or The Nippy Era?
Directed by: Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha
Featuring the voices of: Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo.
I came across this movie at the theater by accident. My dad and I were trying to figure out what to do while we waited for my new prescription glasses. After half an hour of nothing, we decided to check this movie out given that we both have already seen what was available at the time. Sure enough, we weren't expecting much. My dad loves to laugh and was expecting a quality movie like Pixar and Shrek. He got his entertainment and so did I; in this particular year I was increasing my self MDB.
Our story takes place in the last ice age, and we follow Manfred (Romano) a loner Mammoth who just wants to get by and be left alone. We have a Sloth named Sid (Leguizamo) who clearly isn't the brightest crayola in his food chain. Finally, we have Diego (Leary) a Saber Tooth tiger with the only goal to prove himself to his hunting party. As all the animals in this 20,000 year old timeline migrated to the south to avoid the impending glacier infestation, our three unlikely heroes meet when the life of a human baby is in danger. Diego's pack leader wants to kill the human baby to satisfy his revenge for losing half his sabers by the baby's father. Manny decides to keep an eye on the baby while being helped by Diego to track the humans and return him.
Only a few years later that I realized I was watching an animated version of "Three Men and a Baby". You got a carnivore, herbivore and a sloth working together. It's like having a teacher, hitman and a stoner team up to raise a kid. Out of the three sequels after, this one still holds up as the most dramatic, emotional and story driven. But it has been ten years since its creation so the animation has aged when you compare it to the last two movies. The latest two contain more detail and color than near grainy/sepia tone. Like the first Toy Story, you appreciate the hard work put into this movie. Of course, in another ten years, with more and more exposure of future breakthroughs in 3D animation, by the time I revisit this movie, I'll notice the lacking detail even more. This is why we can't thoroughly judge a movie quickly by outdated effects. If the story still works, it can entertain. Kind of hypocritical of me to say considering how I dismissed the Hoodwinked sequel, but let's be honest, The Weinstein company isn't a pioneer in animation.
The most important and heart pounding scene in this movie is the cave part where the three heroes come across hunter paintings. Our mammoth character finally reveals why he is always upset and ignoring others around him. We witness that his mate and child were killed by the same hunters he and the other two have dangerously tried to return safely. But we don't forget the connection all three have made with the baby; that human connection people make with a child that feels like a ton of bricks, which is strong enough to cleanse malice and a guilty conscience. Manny finally accepts the loss of his family where he doesn't feel the need to blame the hunters anymore. Through the baby, he forgives them. RIght to the end where they do return the human child, there is a moment of respect from the two species; Manny and the baby's father. Ray Romano, whom you might remember most from his stand up comedy and hit show "Everybody Loves Raymond" offers splendid comedy that genuinely grows when interacted with Denis Leary and Leguizamo. In fact, Leguizamo is the only voice actor that brings the best from the script and the voice cast.
Aside from Sid the Sloth, the majority of the credit goes to Scrat and his acorn adventures. They never refer to him by his name in the franchise, but he is the only one who allows us the viewer to be aware of the upcoming sequels, especially when he's mostly responsible for the ice age, and all other major events that happend on mother Earth in the last 10-20,000 years.
Overall, almost nothing ever beats the first in a franchise, and 2002's Ice Age lands as one of the best animated adventures of the last decade. A favorite for some, a guilty pleasure for most.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.