One of the funniest trailers audiences were treated to last year was that of Ice Age, a computer-generated children's comedy from Dreamworks. The long trailer features a little rodent of some sort trying to hide an acorn, and he ends up causing a huge avalanche of sorts. To say the least, it was hilarious. Ice Age starts out with the same sequence, only a little longer, but it is a sign of what is to come; most of the funny parts were in the trailer.
We've seen it before, and we'll see it again. Disney's computerized Dinosaur was a copy of The Land Before Time, and Ice Age is essentially the same. It does not follow the exact same plot, but still features a group of misfit animals traveling across a countryside that is slowly dying. There are no dinosaurs in this movie, and the bad guys are a pack of saber-toothed tigers, but you still will notice the similarities between Ice Age and The Land Before Time, which is easily a much better movie.
Ice Age has its funny parts, like the sequence that shows the extinction of the Dodo's, several of the scenes with the dumb sloth, and so forth, but the movie is so weak in the script department that it really does not have enough redeeming value to keep adult audiences entertained for an hour and a half. Most of the comedy is physical, such as our heroes sliding down sheets of ice or the sloth getting hit over the head with various objects; children will enjoy it a lot more than you will. Some people will think that it is enough, but look at some of the movies that have come out in recent years, like Chicken Run, Shrek, Monsters, Inc., and so forth. Kids loved them, but parents were able to enjoy them as well because they had hidden jokes made especially for older audiences. Ice Age has none of that, and it really is quite disappointing.
There were times when I was extremely bored. There is one scene where the mammoth recalls how his family died; sure, it's touching, but it's pretty boring. And long. I was even bored during some of the "entertaining" scenes. I needed smarter dialogue, and I didn't get it.
As far as graphics go, Ice Age is mixed. It is obviously aiming for a more cartoonish look than, say, Dinosaur, but it still felt as though the artists took shortcuts here and there. Sometimes, the scenery and creatures looked very realistic or at least well drawn, but at other times, things looked cheap. The humans, for example, looked really bad.
Ice Age is a moderately fun movie, but unlike some of the really good cartoon movies made in the last five or ten years, children will enjoy it a lot more than the parents. If you have the choice, go see E.T. instead.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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