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Published April 7th, 2006 | by Paul Greenwood

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown Review

Classification: U Director: Carlos Saldanha Rating: 4/5

To paraphrase Tuco in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, “There are two kinds of sequels in the world, my friend – those that broaden the film’s universe and those with no reason for existing other than as a blatant cash-in.” Happily, Ice Age: The Meltdown falls unequivocally into the former category.

The three main characters from the original return: Manny the grouchy mammoth (Romano), Sid the put upon sloth (Leguizamo) and Diego the sabre tooth tiger (Leary). Manny is troubled by his belief that he is the last surviving mammoth and that his species is about to go extinct. He might not be the only one, with the impending end of the world threatening to put a stop to everyone’s fun: the ice age is coming to an end, the caps are going to melt and their valley will be flooded. Joining them on their trek to safety are Ellie (Latifah), a mammoth who thinks she’s a possum, and her possum brothers, Eddie and Crash (Peck and Scott).

Where the first suffered from an occasionally bitty narrative and some plasticky animation, not to mention a rather spurious and impractical moral of food chain harmony, there are no such worries here. The writers have clearly taken note of what made Toy Story 2 such a success and have expanded the themes exponentially, in the process crafting a story and a film that’s light years ahead of its predecessor – Manny’s plight is poignant enough on its own, even without the knowledge that Mr. Darwin is poised to swing the axe on all of them. That this is managed without getting preachy about global warming is even more impressive.

The voice casting is terrific – Romano’s world weary tones are perfect and whoever figured Leguizamo would make a good sloth deserves a medal. Tiny tots might recoil at some of the racier action set pieces (Christ, I jumped at one of the monster attacks), but the four to fourteen brigade will be in stitches at the wonderfully imaginative slapstick (Scrat, the nut nutty squirrel returns to hilarious effect) and adults will love the innuendo and sexual politics (“Brink of extinction is a bad time to be picky.”) After some of the honkers they’ve subjected us to, who knew Fox had it in them?

Related Links:

Ice Age 2: The Interview

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