Directors Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge would not have imagined that they have stumbled upon a goldmine when they made the first Ice Age movie in 2002. The series has enjoyed worldwide success and there is always encouragement to add more sequels to the line up.
The first of the series, Ice Age, opens by introducing Scrat the saber-toothed squirrel and his obsession with acorns to us. Then after this comic interlude the three main characters of the series: Manfred the woolly mammoth who is better known as Manny, Sid the lazy sloth and the wise-ass saber-toothed tiger Diego, are brought before the audience. The trio is on a quest to reunite an abandoned human infant with his family. Diego starts off by being a bad egg in the movie but later wins us and his companions over by saving the infant and his new friends from his pack of revenge seeking lions.
Ice Age has often been compared DreamWorks and Pixar productions like Shrek and Monsters, Inc but the dialogues and wit of the movie show that this production can stand on its own.
One of the strengths of 'Ice Age' is in its characterization. The gang is dynamic and likeable. They bond well and are worth rooting for. Though each character seem to embody negative points like Manny seeking to be isolated from the crowd, Sid's laziness and jabbering qualities and Diego's scheming nature, we soon realize that all three are big-hearted mammals as they venture through thick and thin to save the baby from predators and return him back to his parents.
Another bonus point of 'Ice Age' is that it is fast paced. The directors have also taken care not to lengthen the movie unnecessarily. Every scene has a purpose and either adds to the storyline or opts for good gags. The comedy here is not slapstick but ranges from being sly to downright playful. The computer generated scenes are excellent and the colours used in the settings are soothing to the eyes. This is not merely a snow covered arctic background but an impressive winter wonderland with lots of details. It is on par with the cartoon quality expected of an international production.
Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Tara Strong, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Root and all the others who have voiced the characters do a superb job. They match their voices with the expressions and drama unfolding on the screen expertly.
Parents and children will undoubtedly enjoy the adventures of this trio as well as the tireless and antics of an oddball of a creature in the form of Scrat who provides comic interludes throughout the movie. Infectious!
Ruwini JAYAWARDANA - Daily News