It’s been four years since we last saw the characters from Ice Age. The ice age is in full swing and the mixed race herd has settled into their new lives. All seems to be going fine and everyone is happy. But along comes a fast talking lizard crying, “Doomsday!” Of course, after the standard misunderstandings, Manny the mammoth finds the threat to be real. Now, along with Diego the saber tooth tiger and Sid the sloth, they must lead the herd to safety at the far end of the valley.
There you have the story upon which are hung many gags and side stories that comprise the movie that is Ice Age: The Meltdown. I hate to say it, but the story felt very tired and drawn out. I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters on any level. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained, I was. However, I wasn’t captivated by the story. I didn’t really buy into the whole flood thing. Sure, I know it’s an animated film targeted primarily at kids, but is it too much to ask to have a story that is at least interesting?
Besides the flood and leading the herd out of danger, which seems to be pushed to the side shortly after the initial move, the main characters get their own side stories. The biggest side story would have to be Manny’s. Throughout, he is struggling with the possibility that he is the last of the mammoths; that is, until they meet up with Ellie, a mammoth who thinks she is a possum. This leads to much comedy. There is also a thread concerning Diego and his fear of water, which never really takes off. Finally there is Sid, constantly trying to prove himself a worthy part of the herd. Sid also gets to feel the pressure of being at the head of a herd, a pressure he really doesn’t want.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the numerous adventures that Scrat has in his attempts to obtain his precious acorn. Interspersed throughout the movie, he has battles with water, piranhas, and a newly hatched vulture. These are among the best parts of the movie, but they also are so numerous they expose how little story there really is. Almost the same can be said about the possum brothers, Crash and Eddie, whose sole reason for being, other than as Ellie’s companions, is to provide comic relief.
Ice Age: The Meltdown feels as if it only had about 40 minutes of story and needed a way to pad out the runtime. This padding takes the form of many of those Scrat interludes, and other things like Sid’s adventure with the mini sloths. I just felt as if they were purposely shifting the focus around in hopes that you wouldn’t notice that the plot never moved anywhere.
The voice acting was decent. John Leguizamo stood head and shoulders above the rest. Despite not really caring about the story, everything with Leguizamo’s Sid was gold. He brought an energy and sense of fun to every line and was one of the saving graces of the film. Denis Leary as Diego was pretty good; just the right amount of surly. That brings us to our two mammoths, Ray Romano and Queen Latifah. They are both adequate, but there really isn’t much life to the characters.
Bottomline. In the end, I would have to say that it is an entertaining film, even if unfulfilling and not terribly memorable. Definitely geared towards the younger set. I like the Scrat stuff and everything with Sid, but the rest winds up as so much fluff. But the kids will like it, and that is probably the most important part.