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9 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Ice Age: The Meltdown
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Will amuse very young children and precious few others"
2 stars

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” reminds me of one of those direct-to-video sequels that have become more and more common in the last few years, especially in the lucrative kid-vid industry. This isn’t to say that it is a cheap-jack cash-in like the majority of those films–this one was obviously expensive to produce and brings back all of the central stars from the original, namely stars Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo to reprise their vocal contributions. However, it does play it cheap in the area of creativity and the result is a film that is a virtual retread from start to finish of the original. If that is all you want, and that may well be the case for many of you, it should prove to be moderately entertaining but anyone hoping for something more ambitious–along the lines of “Toy Story 2,” for example–is going to come away mighty disappointed.

In a bit of geological revisionism that it is probably best to just ignore, the approaching ice age that formed the basis for the original film seems to have lasted only a few short years and as the film opens, the rapidly melting ice is threatening to flood the area where many of the surviving animals have made their home. As a result, the majority of the animals make another exodus, this time to higher ground before the dams burst, while our heroes–dour last-mammoth-on-Earth Manny (Romano), surly saber-tooth tiger Diego (Leary) and contradictorily excitable sloth Sid (Leguizamo) set off on their own. Along the way, they are surprised to meet up with another mammoth, Ellie (Queen Latifah), and are even more surprised to discover that she has deluded herself into thinking that she is actually a possum, despite looking nothing like her hyper “brothers” Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) and her general inability to successfully hang from a tree. The group is also silently pursued by a couple of recently thawed sea creatures that look like the results of an experiment splicing the genes of a coelacanth, a crocodile and Larry the Cable Guy. Also making a return appearance is Scrat (Chris Wedge), the hapless squirrel whose never-ending pursuit of an errant acorn got most of the biggest laughs the first time around–once again, he goes to the ends of the earth (and beyond) in pursuit of his prized nut and even manages to throw in some fancy-yet-inexplicable kung-fu moves for good measure.

The first “Ice Age” wasn’t exactly a great film by even the laxest standards but it did have a few genuine laughs (mostly thanks to Scrat) and the familiar-but-effective plot gimmick of a trio of mismatched goofs trying to protect a human baby from some evil tigers while embarking on a quest for his real family. This time around, though, the film lacks any sort of compelling narrative drive–the potential flood never really works as a dramatic device and the pursuing creatures are such a halfheartedly conceived threat that many viewers will likely forget about them before they finally strike during the climax. And while the original milked some pathos out of Manny’s sense of isolation at being the last of his species–for him, the idea of worldwide extinction through the impending ice age wasn’t much of a threat–that interesting dimension is lost with the addition of Ellie and has been replaced with the silly nonsense about her belief that she is a possum and the even sillier nonsense about the outrage she feels when Manny brings up the idea of how to reestablish their species, scenes so boring that I can almost guarantee that many kids (and probably not a few adults) will get awfully restless as they plod on and on.

Instead of trying to expand on the first film in any significant manner, the filmmakers apparently decided early on that if something worked the first time around, it would be endlessly repeated here. The first film, you will recall, contained an extended sequence in which the characters hurtled down icy slopes and tunnels as though they were stone-age tobogganists. Here, it seems as if every third scene involves the characters hurtling through the air, down mountains, across raging rivers or through fields of exploding geysers in scenes that look as if they were inserted simply because they would look cool in the inevitable video-game spin-off. Scrat the squirrel also gets more screen time in this installment but it hardly makes a difference since all of his scenes are virtually the same–one wishes for the inspiration of the old “Road Runner” cartoons that managed to find endless and hilarious variations on one basic theme without breaking a sweat. The only significant addition here is the voice of Queen Latifah as Ellie and she adds precious little to the proceedings beyond a subliminal desire to visit Pizza Hut the moment the film ends. (Jay Leno also contributes his voice in a small part that seems to have been included only to ensure that the stars will appear on “The Tonight Show” in order to promote the film.)

Of course, this is a film aimed at little kids and I am certain that many people will write in to remind of that fact as they do whenever I pan a dull and unambitious effort like this or the recent “Curious George.” (Of course, no one bothers to drop a note when I steer them towards a truly inspired family film like “Duma” or “Howl’s Moving Castle.”) Realizing this, I actually attended the screening of this film with an actual child, an adorable four-year-old girl named Vanessa who was a fan of the original, to get her reaction. For the most part, she seemed to sort of enjoy it but she seemed equally interested, if not more so, in transforming the railing in front of our seats into her own personal jungle gym. That about sums up “Ice Age: The Meltdown” perfectly–it will momentarily entertain little kids until the moment that something even slightly more interesting comes along to distract them.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14284&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/31/06 00:19:02
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User Comments

4/14/13 Homo habilis I'd rather be mauled by a smilodon than watch this again 2 stars
9/28/12 roscoe A DROP OFF. tHE 3 new traveling partners are bad, and Diego/Sid roles were reduced. 3 stars
1/20/09 FlipperBoidSkua I wuv the movie, especially Cretaceous (the purple sea monster dude) and the vultures! 5 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. almost as good as the first one. :D 4 stars
8/18/08 Shaun Wallner This movie is so funny! 5 stars
10/18/07 mb Not Life Changing 3 stars
8/19/07 Hollie mmm, better than i thought but quite gay. 3 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Actually more energetic than the original, but not quite as funny. 4/5. 4 stars
12/29/06 Austin Wertman HILARIOUS 4 stars
12/19/06 Mary Too Funny, way entertaining, love the sub characters 5 stars
6/13/06 keri sanderfer it's more than a movie, it has a special message in it 5 stars
5/20/06 Darshana The best I have ever seen, simply the best 5 stars
5/14/06 chris f a good film 4 stars
4/27/06 Quigley visually stunning and great animation. not as good as #1, but scrat was hilarious as usual 4 stars
4/22/06 Mase Quick segual cash in, for children with no attention span and adults with low expectations. 2 stars
4/21/06 Pat Frederick I really liked the first one, but I wish there had been more scenes with Scrat. 4 stars
4/11/06 Justin This movie was ADORABLE. The animation was great and the storyline was cute. 5 stars
4/10/06 Anthony Better than the first one! 5 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych "Ice Age: The Meltdown" is simply better than the first film. 5 stars
4/05/06 Rune Andersen its better then the first one . more of everything 5 stars
4/04/06 BUMP Bump! 4 stars
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  31-Mar-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Nov-2006



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Carlos Saldanha

Written by
  Jon Vitti

  Ray Romano
  Denis Leary
  John Leguizamo
  Queen Latifah
  Seann William Scott
  Will Arnett

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