The one good thing about being a kid at heart is that you can still enjoy watching an animated movie. I admit, I will still go see animated movies in theaters because there really is something about watching cartoons on a big screen that just makes the day feel better. Well, today’s movie is one such movie that I saw in theaters. When this movie came out, I was a few months away from getting married and the stress of that plus school was getting to my fiance. So when I went down to Savannah for a visit, we went out to a movie and I suggested Ice Age because it would be light hearted and fun so she could just enjoy the movie, which we both did.
The plot: A sabre-toothed squirrel named Scrat is trying to find a place to bury the acorn it is carrying but as he tries to force it into the icy ground, he causes a massive crack to appear in the ice, causing part of the mountain to break off and slide towards him. Scrat grabs his acorn and barely manages to avoid getting crushed by the ice, but ends up sliding down the mountain to the ground below. As he recovers from the fall and grabs his acorn, he is stepped on by a herd of animals that is moving south to avoid the snow and ice from the oncoming Ice Age. As the herd is moving south, a surly woolly mammoth named Manny is moving against the herd and heading north, saying it will be quieter with all the other animals gone. Meanwhile, a sloth named Sid wakes up to discover that his friends had all left on the migration without him. As Sid prepares to leave, he steps in the feces of an animal that had passed by and starts wiping it off his feet, ruining the meal of a pair of Brontops named Carl and Frank in the process. When Carl and Frank chase after him, Sid runs into Manny and hides behind him, forcing Manny to deal with the two Brontops. Sid thanks Manny but inadvertently knocks them both off a cliff and with the Brontops still wanting to injure him, Sid decides to follow Manny, despite the fact that he is heading North. As night falls, Manny makes a shelter while Sid tries to make a fire but when he fails, he tries to ask Manny to let him stay in his shelter but Manny turns his back on him and goes to sleep, while Scrat is seen still trying to hide his acorn. Elsewhere, Soto, the leader of a pack of smilodons, is watching a tribe of humans and makes plans with the rest of his pack to attack them at dawn, telling another smilodon named Diego to grab the leader’s baby, as he wants to kill it as revenge for the tribe’s killing half of their pack. At dawn, the smilodon’s attack the camp and while Soto and the others keep the humans busy, Diego sneaks into the tent to grab the baby but the mother grabs the baby and runs for it and ends up jumping over the falls to escape Diego. Diego tells Soto what happened and Soto tells him to find the baby and bring it to Half Peak or else Soto will kill Diego instead. Later, Manny and Sid are walking by the river when they see the mother clinging to a log near the bank. Seeing Manny, the mother pushes the bundle containing the baby towards him and Manny pulls the baby to safety but when he and Sid look up, they find that the mother has disappeared down the river. Manny turns to leave and Sid chastises him for leaving the baby and, seeing smoke at the top of a cliff, says he will take the baby back to it’s tribe. Manny watches as Sid tries to scale the cliff with the baby but when the baby starts to slip out of it’s blanket, Sid yells for Manny to catch it only for Diego to leap up and grab it. Manny grabs the baby from Diego, who tells them that the humans have left already and tries to convince them to let him take the baby back to them but Manny is wary of Diego and decides to go with Sid to take the baby back. When they reach the camp site and find it empty, Diego tells them that he can track the humans to Glacier Pass, where they have a settlement, and get the baby there before it closes up with snow but Manny still doesn’t trust him and hands the baby to Sid while telling Diego to lead the way. As they make their journey, the baby starts crying and after checking to make sure it hadn’t pooped, they realize it is hungry. Seeing a melon nearby, Manny goes to grab it but it is snatched away by a dodo and taken to it’s flock, where they are preparing for the coming Ice Age. The group tries to get the melon back from the dodos and Sid eventually succeeds but then smashes it on the ground, where the baby proceeds to eat it. That night, Manny has the baby wrapped in his trunk and Diego attempts to swipe it but when he hears something in the nearby grass, he goes to attack it and encounters two members of his pack. The other smilodons tell Diego that Soto is growing impatient and Diego tells them that he will bring the baby to Half Peak, along with a mammoth, and to get the whole pack there to take him down. The next morning, Manny and Diego wake up to find Sid and the baby are missing. Manny discovers Sid with the baby in a hot spring, where he is using it to pick up two female sloths. Manny takes the baby from Sid, who pleads with Manny to let him use it, but when Manny refuses, but boosts Sid confidence in himself, Sid returns to the hot spring only to find Carl and Frank in it instead. Sid runs from the Brontops and finds Diego, then gets him to help pretend that Diego has killed Sid in order to get the Brontops to leave. The group continue heading to Glacier Pass, with Diego hiding evidence of Soto and the other smilodons heading there as well, then flicking Scrat away when he tries to warn Manny and Sid about them. As they get close to Half Peak, Diego sees the humans nearby but convinces Manny and Sid to take a shortcut through a mountain pass, accidentally causing an avalanche that seals them in. As they make their way through the icy cavern, passing by several frozen animals (and a UFO), the baby ends up getting knocked off Manny’s back and slides down a ice chute. The animals all chase after it and Manny eventually catches the baby as they all smash through a snow drift. They enter another cave where the humans have painted cave drawings on the walls. As Sid is looking for paintings of sloths, he spots some paintings of a family of mammoths and points them out to Manny. Manny stares at the pictures, thinking of his own family that he had lost and as the baby grabs his trunk and hugs him, Manny places him gently back on his back and walks away, with Sid and Diego understanding his desire to be alone now and sadly following after him. Meanwhile, the human’s leader is attempting to track his baby but his wolves lose the scent and they are forced to turn towards Glacier Pass. Manny and the others exit the cave and spot Half Peak and Glacier pass in the distance but as they keep walking, an eruption occurs, melting the ice around them. Sid and Manny manage to make it across the ice bridge but when Diego leaps for the other side, he doesn’t make it and starts to fall. Manny saves Diego and tosses him to safety but the ice under his feet ends up breaking off and he falls into the magma below, only to be shot up when the ice acts like a geyser upon hitting the lava. As Manny recovers, Diego asks why he saved him and Manny tells him that a herd is supposed to look out for one another. As they reach Half Peak, Diego starts to change his mind about leading them into danger and warns them about the ambush. Manny is angry and tells Sid that they will figure a way out but Diego says that he is their only chance. Diego goes ahead and rejoins the pack and Soto tells them to wait until they see the mammoth before they attack but Diego convinces one of them to attack as soon as he sees Sid. Sid manages to elude the smilodons for a while but when he drops the baby, the smilodons realize that it is a decoy. Three of the smilodons chase after Sid only to be surprised by Manny and are knocked down a ledge. Diego says they should leave now but when Soto shows up and tells Diego to help him attack Manny, Diego stands between them. Soto and Diego fight while two other smilodons keep Manny at bay and Diego ends up being injured. When Soto turns his attention to Manny and tries to kill him, Diego leaps in front os many and takes the killing blow himself. Soto turns his attention back to Manny but when Sid shows up with the baby, Soto gets distracted and Manny knocks him aside, where some falling icicles kill him. The rest of the pack runs off and Manny, Sid, and the baby approach Diego, who says he had to return the favor from when MAnny saved his life before he falls silent. Manny and Sid continue moving forward and finally catch up to the baby’s father, returning the baby to him. The father hugs the baby and Manny and Sid turn to leave but the bay cries out to them. The father sets the baby down and he walks over to hug Sid and Manny and after Manny gives the baby back to his father, the father puts a necklace on Manny’s tusk to thank him. The humans leave and as the baby waves goodbye, he suddenly starts playing peek-a-boo. Manny turns to find that Diego had survived and he waves goodbye to the baby before Sid happily tackles him and the group start heading South. 20,000 years later, Scrat is seen to be frozen in a block of ice while he was chasing his acorn. He ends up on an island and as the ice melts, Scrats acorn is washed. A frustrated Scrat smashes his head into a tree, causing a coconut to fall to the ground and as an excited Scrat tries to bury it, he causes a crack to form in the ground which expands and ends up causing the nearby volcano to erupt.
Ice Age met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own.” Though Scrat was designed as a fictional animal, in 2009, scientists in Argentina unearthed the remains of a small, extinct mammal resembling a shrew with long fangs. This animal was given the scientific name of “Cronopio Dentiacutus”, in tribute to Scrat. The movie was a box office success, earning $383.3 million off of a $59 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels that would bring in a combined revenue of $3.2 billion for the franchise.
This is a really good, non-Disney animated movie. The voice acting was great, with Ray Romano (Manny), John Leguizamo (Sid) and Denis Leary (Diego) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not too original, as it really felt a lot like Monsters, Inc., which had come out the year before. However, the idea of the different animals grouping together to care for and return the baby to it’s family was very touching. Personally, I liked the brief segments featuring Scrat the best, as the slapstick antics as he kept trying to get his acorn hidden really had me laughing. The animation was really good and I liked some of the digs at modern society that got thrown into the movie, such as the Stonehenge structure and Sid wanting Global Warming to start happening. All in all, this is a fun movie to watch, whether it is with your kids or just by yourself.
Rating: 4 out of 5