Directed by Chris Wedge and Carols Saldanha, the story in the animated comedy Ice Age takes place about 20,000 years ago as Sid, a talkative sloth voiced by John Leguizamo (John Wick), gets left behind and ultimately encounters a mammoth named Manny, voiced by Ray Romano (TV’s Everyone Loves Raymond). After forming a reluctant partnership, the two encounter a human family which admirably develops the story and characters beyond the historic animal migration towards warmer climate.
A saber-toothed tiger (a.k.a. smilodon) named Diego, voiced by Denis Leary (TV’s Rescue Me) also has survival on his mind as he learns some important lessons while developing a friendship with Sid and Manny amid their initially uneasy alliance. Jack Black, Goran Visnjic (TV’s ER) and Diedrich Bader (Surf’s Up) voice the other saber-toothed tiger characters in Diego’s pack.
The long toothed squirrel named Scrat (combining squirrel and rat) doesn’t have dialogue, but provides the comic relief basically acting at the film series’ mascot as we occasionally encounters characters throughout the story. Experience comedians like Stephen Root, Cedric the Entertainer, Jane Krakowski, Kristen Johnston (TV’s 3rd Rock From the Sun) and voice/character expert Alan Tudyk (I, Robot, Dodgeball) also provide additional voice talent for various animal characters.
This ancestral human family communicates without words, which fits in with the animal world just fine plus boosts the international appeal with less translations. This film’s appealing 81-minute story, comedy and simple appeal created a founding base for the computer animation company Blue Sky Studios (Ferdinand, Rio, The Peanuts Movie). Very entertaining, but scientific inaccuracies and lack of research elements miss the educational opportunities this film could have provided.
Ice Age comes recommended (*** out of four stars) and is rated PG for mildly tense situations. Ice Age received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and was followed by four sequels.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler