Ice Age: The Meltdown

The original Ice Age was a nice surprise. The sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown, is like a guest who stays a bit too long. The film is just not that interesting. It feels like a shell of an idea stretched a bit thin. There are lots of strange, random sequences that really do not add much to the overall story, and there are a few annoying uses of the word "crap" and phrase "wild ass." But the animation remains good (much better than some recent CGI animated films) and Scrat returns for more silent movie-inspired mayhem.

Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge, who directed the first Ice Age) remains by far the funniest aspect of Meltdown. He is a little squirrel who tries his darndest to get a hold of an acorn. His name may as well by Sisyphus, since he never is able to hold onto that thing long enough before something happens. Director Carlos Saldanha (Robots, Ice Age) uses the Scrat character as a comic relief. He appears every once in a while to bring some levity to the film, and actually does help move the story forward. The story is a bit more problematic. What does it say when the most interesting character in the movie has no real dialogue?  The screenwriters, Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow honed their skills on such modern 'classics' as Black Knight and Say It Isn't So. These aren't children's movies, and their inexperience shows.

Mammoth Manny (voiced by Ray Romano, Eulogy, Welcome to Mooseport), Sabre-toothed Tiger Diego (voiced by Denis Leary, The Secret Lives of Dentists, Ice Age) and dim-witted sloth Sid (John Leguizamo, Land of the Dead, Cronicas) learn that life in their peaceful valley may be coming to an end. The world is warming, which means that huge glaciers may melt, causing the valley to flood. They have three days to get to a huge ship on the other side of the valley, and begin the arduous task of leading all of the animals on a long trek. The water level keeps rising, and strange monsters are defrosting.

The trio encounter Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah, Last Holiday, Beauty Shop), a mammoth who thinks she is a possum.  This just reinforces Manny's loneliness.  As far as he knew, he was the last mammoth.  Ellie is his last chance to keep the species alive.  It doesn't help that they annoy each other.  The script also never explains why Diego or Sid don't feel the same way.  In Sid's case, he is not the last sloth, but doesn't know this until well into the film (and one of those aforementioned strange, random sequences).  The themes of friendship, belonging, and any other warm fuzzy themes are not as strong as the original.  Unfortunately, this gives Ice Age:  The Meltdown a feeling of blah.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG for some mild language and innuendo.

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