FOX’s first big foray into the CG animated world has resulted in what is a good film for kids, but certainly doesn’t have the crossover appeal of the superb Pixar or Dreamworks efforts of late. As a story and film overall “Ice Age” feels very much like Disney’s picturesque but narratively boring “Dinosaur” but with more primitive animation. Actually the story and dialogue of “Ice Age” is better than “Dinosaur” and while the graphics aren’t top notch they do suit the plot and on occasion pass for quite real looking such as some waterfall shots and great mammoth fur.
Indeed the gems in “Ice Age” tend to come out of the blue and at unexpected moments – whether it be a harrowing scene with a human mother saving her baby, a superbly paced action sequence through an ice cavern, a quite funny bit involving dodos and their extinction, and of course Scrat’s various slapstick moments which aside from the opening sequence (seen in he first teaser trailer) aren’t that great. In a kid’s film there’s the odd moment of a more adult tone such as a pair of gay rhinos, Manfred’s remembrance of his family’s fate and of course the fate of the kid’s mother. Still that’s offset by unfunny fart jokes, characters which don’t act believably, and some weak storylines of redemption and doing what’s right.
Performances are fine though nothing extraordinary – Romano does his usual schtick, the usually great Leary is stuck with way too sanitary dialogue and Leguizamo does what he can with some unfunny gags. Its a very Disney-esque clone – a shame as the ads hinted at a funny Looney Tunes esque action comedy when instead we get another boring animated family values lesson hidden behind a decent but forgettable film. Fine for the under 10’s but next time the animators need to remember that having an imaginative script with a wide appealing story for all ages is essential in this genre.