Ice Age The Meltdown (2006) dir. Carlos Saldanha
Voices by: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, Queen Latifah
“Ice Age: The Meltdown” is good enough to hold you over in between Pixar films, but ultimately a forgettable entry in the realm of CG cinema. The animation is surprisingly sparse in creative design. I’m not sure it had half the budget of “Ratatouille” or “Cars”, but it certainly has half the laughs and originality.
The film begins at the end of the Ice Age and our trio of lovable animals Manny the Whoolly Mammoth, Sid the Sloth and Diego the Sabre-Toothed Tiger (Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Leary) are forced to leave their glacial home to an awaiting Ark – get it? A flood and an Ark. Even Scrat the Squirrel knows it’s time to go. The trio’s journey take them from the glacier valley across land, ice, water, and mountains to find a new home.
Along the way Manny meets up with another Mammoth, Ellie (Queen Latifah), an orphan who lives in the company of possums. In fact, since Ellie has never seen another Mammoth and so she assumes she’s possum. This comical bit of confusion lasts until Ellie’s latent memories of the day she was orphaned comes back to her.
It’s a rather uneventful journey, with little of the visual wonder which we expect from computer animation. The animals’ lives are threatened by a series of uncreative challenges, there’s a treacherous adventure over a rock bridge, a couple of evil sea dinosaurs, and a group of vultures hovering (and singing) around them. Unfortunately most of the suspense is played for subpar comedy.
Most of the gags are of the Shrek-influenced pop culture variety – it feels so perfunctory and unoriginal it fails to bring the intended laughs. At one point Sid meets a group of young sloths who are willing to obey his every command, a choreographed Simon Says dance sequence follows.
The only saving grace are the brief interludes featuring Scrat the Squirrel and his precious acorn. This is the most inspired humour in the film – a more Chuck Jones-style of physical humour minus the go-to pop culturisms. These scenes act as transitions between the main journey of our heroes and become little comic gems peppered throughout the film.
“Ice Age: The Meltdown” will certainly keep your kids occupied for a 90mins break in your day. It’s relatively scare-free too, so they definitely won’t give them any nightmares. Not recommended for adults.
"Ice Age: The Meltdown" is available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment