All right kids, way back in the day there were these things that used to come on daytime television called ‘game shows’ where the downtrodden played stupid games and embarrassed themselves on national TV for a toaster or a NEW CAR! One of my faves was the $100,000 dollar pyramid where C-list stars fed clues to a contestant for a chance to win a tax infested one hundred grand. Ready? Here we go!
C-List star: Ummm… Finding Nemo… Toy Story… The incredibles… Shrek…
Contestant: Uh… 3D kiddie movies that are great!
C-List star: Right! Okay… Robots, Hoodwinked, Ice Age, Shrek 2…
Contestant: Oh! Oh! 3D kiddie movies that are decent!
C-List star: Fantastic! One More! Shark’s Tale… Chicken Little… Valiant…
Contestant: I don’t know… I don’t know…
C-List star: Come on, we’re almost there… Ice Age 2: The meltdown…
Contestant: 3D kiddie movies that SUCK!
Mayhem and chaos ensues.
I’m sorry readers, but it’s like that with this one. Ice Age 2 continues the story of Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Diego the sabertooth tiger (Dennis Leary) and Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) as the ice age is coming to an end threatening to flood the valley and kill everyone it, unless they make it to this mysterious boat at the end of
the valley. Manny, pretty much convinced he’s the last wooly mammoth in existence, can’t believe his good luck when on their journey he meets a female wooly named Ellie (Queen Latifah) who, unfortunately, was raised by possums and thus believes she is one too. It’s a perilous journey replete with adventures, pitfalls, and bad creatures along the way.
The big big big problem with ‘Meltdown’ is that it’s loaded with jokes that just aren’t funny. It could be that the jokes are poor, or maybe it’s the timing and delivery, but I think the main problem is that voice acting is flat and uninspired. Ray Romano’s signature deadpan delivery adds lifelessness to an already dull situation and Dennis Leary delivered his lines as if he’d much rather be somewhere else. Leguizamo is lively as ever, but alas he’s getting very little support. Toss in a pair extreme sporting possums that provide more distractions than comedy and you have Ice Age 2 in a nutshell.
All is not lost though as the production values for this one are sky high, easily outdistancing the original in its graphic presentation. Great looking creatures, beautiful terrains, excellent lighting effects make this possibly the best looking 3D movie to date. The Squirrelly, ferret acorn hording thingy is consistently funny and probably should have a movie all to itself. The screener I attended also had a theater full of children who seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. They didn’t necessarily laugh when they were supposed to, but they did laugh. And despite some inappropriate adult humor, this is largely a kid’s film, right?
Hey it’s for the kids right? He or she is going to pester you ‘till you take him to see it anyway and with no fewer the fifteen or more 3D movies coming down the pipeline this year, it looks like it may a long 12 months ahead for you parents. I’ll take 3D kids movies that don’t suck for 800 Alex.
While Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is beautiful to look at, the drama and adventure on the screen was painfully flat and lifeless. A real disappointment. All I can really say is, "Thank heavens for the squirrel" who continues like Sisyphus to chase that elusive acorn ... were it not for the squirrel, there would be absolutely no joy in this movie at all. Oh, and one tip for you if you do go see this movie: don't leave early, because the only really funny scene in the movie is the very last one.