Top critical review
Nothing spectacular, but very good!
on 2 August 2004
Ice Age wouldn't exactly set your screen ablaze with all the snow that fills up every pixel of the screen, but it warrants a watch for being an honest film.
The tale is kept rather too simple but the characterisation is heart-rending and adds a relative amount of depth. From your matter-of-factly-uncomplicated Manfred (Ray Romano's pert voiceover couldn't be better), to the conky Sid to the devious Diego who goes through a change of heart midway, the message of true friendship, honesty and altruism is convincingly put across with just the right dose of sentimentality. The dialogues and the wit are certainly of a high order, and mated to the fluid animation and oh-so-perfect voiceovers, the spontaneity is absolutely intact.
The backdrop of the Ice Age and the themes of migration and survival of the fittest are sewn into the screenplay with great imagination (the dodo spectacle, the killing of Manfred's family, Scrat's misadventures etc) and Scrat-the-buck-toothed-squirrel makes sure there's absolutely no dearth of laughter.Though the sequences where Scrat's obsession with stuffing its acorn in the earth results in a catastrophe (an avalanche, a streak of lightning, a volcano etc) make for some thoroughly enjoyable sequences, they are rivalled for hilarity by the one sequence where the tribal baby slips in the ice cave and the trio of Manny, Sid and Diego follow. Not a pursed lip in my living room when these scenes played.
On the downside however, the film's pace is rather too relaxed sometimes and some intervals of silence are rather elongated. As a result, the film's mood takes longer to sink in, till the camaraderie between the lead foursome and the Scrat takes over. Yes, the film could've been done with some more antics to keep one at the edge of the seat but maybe with a consideration for the audience its targetting, the twists are quite limited and predictable.
The music is tuneful and unobtrusive and so is the animation which never distracts you from the heart of the story. Given the solo-white background of the film, yes, its not as lush as Finding Nemo but its honest to the theme and the setting of the film.
At £9.99, the DVD is definitely at a throwaway price for the extras are truly worth it. Especially the deleted scenes and a full-fledged 5-minute long cartoon on Scrat which is sure to send you on a laughing frenzy.
On the whole, Ice Age is entertaining family cinema which might not make it to the top of your favourites list but is worth a watch anyways. Way to go Pixar!