Warning! This site contains satire, cynical adult humor, celebrity gossip, and an occasional peanut by-product or two!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

Things are heating up this week at the Essex Cinemas and it’s all due to a new Ice Age, this one being Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. I was so happy to see all of my favorite movie mavens who work at the Essex Cinemas gathered for the first showing on Friday afternoon. Everyone seemed so chipper and happy to be on the job, but then I suppose it isn’t hard to be in a good mood when you know that everyone coming through the doors to see Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is going to have a good time. It is inevitable.

First, in the interests of full disclosure, I have a confession to make. I am past 40, okay, okay, 50, and I still love animated movies. I see no reason to assume that just because a movie is drawn or computer generated it is somehow “less” than if it featured live actors on the screen. After seeing
Sharon Stone’s last couple of movies, I think we can all agree that debating the words “live” and “actor” might as well be like quoting Bill Clinton about what “the definition of ‘is’ is”. Let’s face it, some of our biggest “stars” have been known to give us performances that are limper than Dakota Fanning’s hair, but you’ve never had to worry about that from The Lion King, Shrek, or even that septuagenarian Bugs Bunny. So you know, just know in your bones, that spending your money on the critters of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is a sure bet. A whole lot surer than you are going to find with Sharon Stone’s latest spread on-screen.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter an iota if you saw the original Ice Age or not to enjoy this one. All of the usual suspects, Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth, and Diego the Saber-Toothed Tiger are back (voiced to perfection by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Leary respectively). Of all the animated movies I’ve seen (and there have been hundreds) I can’t think of a better melding of voices to characters than the producers have assembled here. Somehow a Mammoth is supposed to sound like Ray Romano, a little tired (he is carrying around a good four or five tons after all) and a little nasal (it’s the trunk). Leary is the quintessence of his real-life persona, a bit of the bad-boy edge but with an underlying good boy waiting to emerge, and Leguizamo, my favorite, is just plain goofy, yet endearingly vulnerable. Also back is Scrat
(squeaked more than voiced by Chris Wedge), a prehistoric squirrel, who was so memorable in the original in his brief opening and closing scenes that he now is spread throughout this film in snippets showing his never-ending quest to capture the ever-elusive acorn of his dreams.

Joining the party this time out is Queen Latifah as Ellie, a very confused female Mammoth. Is there a more glorious voice in all the world for an animated character than Latifah’s? She has such a warm, personable, loving and clear sound in her every line. You almost feel like she is giving you a hug every time she speaks. No wonder she is so well-loved by the public and even by the hard-hearted within the Hollywood community. Along with Ellie are her opossum “brothers”, Crash and Eddie (voiced by American Pie’s Seann William Scott and Josh Peck, the “Josh” of tv’s “Drake & Josh”).

As Manny slips into a funk believing he is the last of his species he and his buddies meet Ellie and her clan. Ellie, unfortunately, thinks she is an opossum like her brothers. What she has forgotten is that she was orphaned, lost, or abandoned (we’re never told for sure) during a snowstorm as a baby and raised by Crash and Eddie’s mom as one of her own so she is completely indoctrinated into the opossum lifestyle, right down to hanging by her tail from the trees at night to sleep.

Since global warming is quickly causing flooding across the lands and the ice plains are disappearing, our herd is heading west to avoid the imminent breaking of a glacial wall that has acted as a dam for centuries and will spell certain death for
anybody staying behind. Manny and Ellie’s groups decide to join forces despite Sid and Diego’s dislike of the pesky possum twins who live to torment them, making for lots of laughs along the way. Of course there are moments of terror not just from the floods that do come but also from the amphibian monsters that are released from the deep freeze and come after our gang while looking for supper, but you know this is going to all work out fine in the end and there are lessons that will be learned, laughs that will be had, and set-ups to another sequel to be made.

Will Ellie regain her memory? Will Diego learn to swim? Will Manny find he and Ellie are not the last of the Mammoth herds? Will Scrat finally find his nuts? These are simply questions that need answers only as an excuse to give movie-goers an opportunity to catch their breath between the non-stop
laughs from start to finish.

While they can’t offer you acorns at the Essex Cinemas, I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours than heading over there to see Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. It’ll meltdown your stress and bad mood, and, as Sid says “complete you.”

No comments: