DVD Review: Ice Age: The Meltdown
by Paul Schultz
Published: November 26, 2006
Scrat is back, again going to extreme lengths to secure his beloved nut in
"Ice Age: The Meltdown". This sequel to 2002's "Ice Age" continues the high quality computer animation style of the first, while showcasing subtle improvements in technology. Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the sabertooth tiger (Denis Leary) return to an Ice Age that is beginning to feel the effects of global warming.
As the movie opens, our principal characters are enjoying the company of
their fellow wildlife in a primitive water park as warmer temperatures have
turned ice to water in their valley playground surrounded by towering plateaus
of ice. Things aren't as contented as they seem, though, with slick sales-creature Fast Tony (Jay Leno) stirring up the natives with the notion that a meltdown is imminent, signaling the end of the world. Also, the melting ice
has unlocked a couple of nasty prehistoric underwater critters sporting
impressive rows of razor-sharp teeth.
True to Fast Tony's prediction, the ice plateau begins to crack and the
valley starts flooding. The promise of a safe refuge lies on the opposite side
of the vast valley and Manny, Sid, and Diego join the migration. Along the way they encounter Crash (Sean William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck), a pair of trouble-making possums, along with their "sister" Ellie (Queen Latifah),
a female mammoth who thinks she's a possum. Adding tension to their
journey is a vulture (Will Arnett) who -- with great anticipation -- reminds the
traveling throng that he's ready to feast on those that lag behind. Of course, just telling them that would be dry and boring, so the whole cadre of vultures execute a musical and visual extravaganza akin to (but not as frightening as) Dumbo's hallucinatory dream to hammer their point home.
Manny is thrilled with the prospect of there being other mammoths besides himself, but convincing Eddie she is one of them proves daunting, given that she still sleeps hanging from a tree limb by her tail like her "brothers". Crash and Eddie narrowly escape death on a regular basis as they continually annoying Diego yet manage to avoid his jaw and claws. The boys got off on the wrong foot with the sanguine sabertooth tiger by eluding his grasp in their initial encounter in what turned into a demented prehistoric game of "Whack-A-Mole". Their relationship hasn't improved since.
Meanwhile, Sid is carried away in the night to a cult of mini-sloths that
worship him like a god. His ego is quickly deflated, however, when said
worshippers attempt to sacrifice him to appease the fire that is threatening
their world. All the while, any creature that approaches water is
threatened by the newly-released ferocious fish that patrol the depths.
As with the original, Scrat's eternal quest for a nut makes the film
memorable beyond the sum of its parts. Just when the plot begins to lag, the
movie takes a quick sojourn to see what zany predicament Scrat has gotten
himself into while trying to secure his much sought-after acorn. The funny
vocalizations by Chris Wedge and Scrat's eyelid flutters upon each frustrating
failure serve as perfect comic relief. Scrat's role is expanded in this film, to where the climactic resolution is a direct result of his actions. The effort to outdo his antics from the first film lead to some beyond belief moments, but they are amusing nonetheless.
"Ice Age: The Meltdown a consistently better movie than its predecessor, with an amazing amount of tension wrought from the meltdown scenario. The familiarity between the main characters breeds warmth, with each learning to overcome mental obstacles during the course of the story. The new characters add humor and charm while integrating seamlessly with the established cast. "Ice Age: The Meltdown" succeeds in entertaining, with Scrat continuing to find his elusive nut hard to crack.
"No Time for Nuts" - An all–new short (6 minutes in length)
featuring Scrat traveling through time in pursuit of his nut.
Commentaries - Director's commentary with Carlos Saldanha, and
Crew commentary with Producer Lori Forte and the production team.
Crash & Eddie Stunts - Lava's Leap (not in the movie),
Dungball Dribble (not in the movie), Peace Out Duel (extended scene from movie).
The Animation Director's Chair - Select a scene, then choose
which stage of production to review (with your angle button).
Meet Crash & Eddie - Short introduction to these new
characters with the production team.
Meet Ellie - Short introduction to this new character with the
Lost Historical Films - Six instructional films, featuring scenes
from the movie and done in the style of those old black-and-white projector
films school kids of yore sat through, complete with "dust scratches"
on the frames. Title include: The Sloth "Nature's Lovable Lisper," The Wooly
Mammoth "Nature's Beast of Burden," The Saber-Tooth Squirrel "Nature's Nutty Buddy," The Saber-Tooth Tiger, "Nature's Fearsome Feline," The Vulture "Nature's Cleaners," The Possum "Nature's Spunky Spectacles".
Scrat's Piranha Smackdown Sound Effects Lab - This scene with
different selectable sound effects including animals, car noises, classic
cartoons, human noises, or musical instruments.
Outtake Prank - Footage of a painful prank pulled during the
possum tree launch scene.
Silly Sid & John Leguizamo - Peter DeSève talks about and
demonstrates drawing Sid, and John Leguizamo on how he developed Sid's
Music Montage - Brief music-backed footage showing the actors in front of microphones having fun voicing their parts, and a few shots of them at the film's premiere.
Sloth Dancing to Sid's Sing-a-Long! - John Leguizamo teaches you the dance steps done by the worshipping mini-sloths during the "Fire
Marketing the Meltdown - Scrat on Family Guy footage, Sid hosting Fox Animation Domination.
Ice Age Arcade - Ice Age Factoid Meltdown, Sid Soccer Challenge, Who's Your Buddy?, Video Game Memory Challenge
Available Subtitles - Spanish, French
Available Audio Tracks - English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Previews - A First Glimpse at "The Simpsons Movie"
("work-in-progress" black-and-white footage), "Night at the Museum" (full trailer), "Family Fun Editions" of "Ice Age," "Anastasia," and "FernGully: The Last Rainforest", "Garfield: Purrrfect Collector's Edition", "Miracle on 34th Street", "Care Bears "Oopsy Does It", Ice Age: The Meltdown Video Game Promo