ninth symphony films - movie reviews

ICE AGE (2002)

DIRECTOR  -  c wedge, c. saldanha

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  animated

LENGTH  -  81 minutes

RELEASED  -  15 march 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  ice age

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
ice age - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from ice age at

buy the dvd from ice at

set during the ice age, a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a wooly mammoth find a lost human infant, and they try to return him to his tribe.

when the baby sees the spaceship frozen in the ice, she gives it the spock-hand signal often seen in the tv series "star trek."


picture from ice age

picture from ice age

picture from ice age


three out of four possible stars

Dreamworks and Disney might be on the threshold of breakthrough computer animated films, but within a few years, the Fox Animation Department could be nipping at their well-established heels. This film represents what the annual summer animated flicks put out by Disney every year used to be like. Before they got all serious, like with their latest film, Atlantis, what a film for the doldrums. Although they created a more than enjoyable film with the recent release of Monsters, Inc., the sophistication of Disney's animation departments have begun to work against the light fluffy quotient usually present in Disney films.

But in Ice Age, the characters have basic relationships and emotions which get the audience involved and make viewers care about what happens next. The computer animation in this film won't wow the seasoned animation fan, but as a family film, Ice Age hits all the right points. It successfully balances humor with drama, which isn't always an easy thing to do. And it's an even harder task in animation. Without flesh and blood people to look at, the filmmakers had to rely on animation and the abilities of the actors to convey emotions through their voices.

And the talent in this film is up to the task. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary play the miss-matched trio of a mastodon, a sloth, and a saber tooth tiger who end up trying to return a child to his own "herd." These three actors are known for their comic talents and not only are they able to carry off the humor, but they can also convey the deeper emotions required by the script. And those three big names are not the only claims to fame that this picture can boast. This film also boasts the talents of Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Root and Alan Tudyk. The plethora of familiar voices in this film wasn't distracting in any way and served as a good compliment to Fox's animation.

But the animation in this film isn't perfect. though not a total deterrent to this film, the computer animation is not always the cleanest nor the crispest it could be. After seeing the crystal clear movie stills from Shrek and Monsters Inc. plastered all over every issue of daily variety for the past few months, the animation in Ice Age isn't always those two films' equal in sophistication.

It's not that the characters are underdeveloped, it's that the animation itself doesn't looked as planned out as it should. For instance, in the beginning of the film, one of the animals inadvertently causes a giant crack to form in a glacier. As the crack runs down the side of the glacier, the animation looks more like the hand-drawn variety than the computer-animated kind. There are a few other places where the line between the clean look of computer animation and the softer look of hand drawn cells merge.

Now this failing isn't something which will break this film, considering that its main audience is of the under ten variety. But that uneven animation shouldn't be a bother for any but the most die-hard and experienced computer animation fans. And the characters and story of this film are really the reason to see it. Although the story is a familiar one (people, or in this case, animals, can get along, even if they're not exactly alike), as is the theme, the characters, at their most basic level, are appealing. And whether that stems from the talent of the actors, the animation of the artists, or the story doesn't really matter, because the film as a whole is appealing. The execution of the story even runs a familiar route, like the familiarity of a disney film from the fifties or sixties, but it's still an enjoyable experience.

In the end, this film has an element of sincerity that makes it a light experience in the theater whose comedy is sometimes so entertaining that the whole thing becomes almost delirious. Especially with that little rat running around for the length of the film, so concerned about protecting his precious acorn. Sure, there is the requisite fart joke near the beginning of the film, but that doesn't mean the whole film is geared toward five-year-olds.

In fact, this film is a textbook example of a family film that the whole family can enjoy, it's not the type of film that includes a fat jolly purple dinosaur that will bore the adults in the audience, and it's not a film like Shrek which has a few too many adult oriented jokes that leave the children out of the loop. Ice Age has a good balance of story, character, and animation, and overall is a thoroughly enjoyable experience in the theater. And on a last note, the character of "scrat," the animal on the advance movie poster, is reason enough to see this film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs 20th century fox 2002
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