Kelly Cope

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” is the perfect sequel to the first “Ice Age.” With ample humor to keep audience members of all ages entertained, the film’s interactions are what make the movie worth watching.

The premise is simple. The original crew of Manny, a mammoth; Sid, a sloth; Diego, a saber-tooth tiger; and of course Scrat, a lovable saber-tooth squirrel obsessed with the pursuit of an ornery acorn, are facing dire prospects with the eminent meltdown at the end of the Ice Age.

They embark on a journey with all of the other animals toward safety in the form of a massive makeshift boat.

This time, they are joined by Ellie, played by Queen Latifah, a mammoth who is utterly convinced she is actually a possum, and her fiercely loyal “brother” possums, Crash, played by Sean William Scott, and Eddie, played by Josh Peck.

A welcome surprise in the cast, late-night talk show host Jay Leno plays Fast Tony, a sly armadillo salesman always out to make a buck, attempting to capitalize on the fleeing animals’ fear.

Since the storyline is so simple, it allows for the individual characters to shine. When Manny meets Ellie, he is initially excited to see that he is not the only one left of his species, but he is quickly puzzled when he discovers that she has no clue she is a mammoth. Annoyed, he repeatedly brushes off Crash and Eddie’s snide comments and attempts to show her that she is, in fact, a mammoth, but she only realizes it when she comes across the place where, as an orphaned baby, she met her possum “brethren.” A touching moment results, and Manny and Ellie become much closer.

Tough-guy Diego gains a more human side in the movie when the audience discovers his fear of water. Given the unstable conditions of the melting icethis causes a major problem for the saber-tooth tiger.

A particularly amusing sequence results when Sid finds a large colony of sloths who seem to think he is a god and, in accordance to their rituals, they attempt to sacrifice him in a fire. Sid is constantly disrespected in his own home clan, so this new admiration is a welcome surprise for him.

The group is followed by a group of vultures who, when finally noticed, erupt into a song about how they love food. This was the only part of the movie which was a bit slow. It seemed a bit out of place and too showy compared to similar previous scenes.

Scrat’s eternal quest for his elusive acorn is especially hilarious, and his scenes provide an amusing interlude between the action. Animators have thought of almost every possible situation to put the little squirrel in – and it has paid off. He even affects the storyline in a major way, more major than in the first movie, which also provides a comical ending scene.

Other minor characters are included in the movie, mostly animal parents herding their children along as they get ready to leave the flood-prone area. A noticeable absence of human presence permeates the film, but it’s realized only afterwards.

The computer-generated graphics are phenomenal, especially the water and melting ice. The melting ice dam which protects the valley is gorgeous and about as true-to-life as can be.

The movie is entertaining not only for children, but also for adults. Not much adult humor is incorporated, but adults can find wonderful wit in the characters’ personalities and their exchanges.

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