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They came... they thawed... they conquered the hearts of audiences everywhere in the coolest animated adventure of all time! Heading south to avoid the bad case of global frostbite, a group of migrating misfit creatures embark on a hilarious quest to reunite a human baby with his tribe. Featuring an all-star voice cast, including Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary, ICE AGE is "a pure delight" (New York Daily News) for all ages!
For more about Ice Age and the Ice Age Blu-ray release, see Ice Age Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 20, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Cedric the Entertainer
Directors: Carlos Saldanha, Chris Wedge
» See full cast & crew
Ice Age Blu-ray Review
A "cool" movie arrives on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 20, 2008
Things just got a little chillier.
2002's Ice Age finds itself smack-dab in the middle of the digital animation revolution, sandwiched between the likes of 1995's Toy Story, 1998's A Bugs Life, 2004's The Incredibles, and 2007's Ratatouille. Pixar, obviously, is the big kid on the block when it comes to this style of movie making, but Fox's Ice Age certainly holds its own, raking in more cash at the box office than A Bug's Life, but less than the other three (and substantially less than the two most recent films listed). This first installment in Fox's popular digitally animated franchise also proved popular with critics, though it currently stands well behind on the "freshness" meter at Rotten Tomatoes. It's hard to beat the king, but Ice Age gives it a great effort. The movie is funny, touching, and well-paced. It introduced one of the most beloved animated characters in recent memory, Scrat, and features a cast of lovable, furry heroes who tickle the funny bone and touch the heart.
Thousands of years before The Day After Tomorrow, a global crisis is afoot. It seems an Ice Age is coming, one that threatens the very existence of hundreds of exotic species. As much of the Earth's animal population heads south in an attempt to escape the coming Ice Age, a clumsy yet charming sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo, Land of the Dead) accidentally ruins the dinner of two rhinos, a salad consisting of the very last dandelion of the season. He's rescued by a sympathetic wooly mammoth named Manny (Ray Romano, Welcome to Mooseport), and the two become companions by necessity and eventually friends by choice. Meanwhile, a human village is attacked by a group of Saber-Toothed tigers, and in the scramble to survive, one mother runs with her baby, and Sid and Manny find themselves unwittingly entrusted with him. Sid is determined to return the baby to its own tribe and species, seeing smoke over a hill. When one of the tigers, Diego (Denis Leary, Rescue Me), attacks, Sid and Manny protect the child and eventually convince Diego to lead them through Glacier Pass and to the band of human survivors. Little do they know that Diego may not be exactly what he seems, and as he grows closer to his new companions, he'll have to choose between them and his brethren.
Scrat is the famous and popular comic relief in the film (not that the movie was in dire need of extra laughs to begin with). He'll pop up from time to time during the movie, interacting briefly with the main characters. His story revolves around his trials and tribulations in getting a scrumptious acorn securely in his hands, away from danger, where he presumably can enjoy it in peace. His adventures provide the most consistent laughs, though save for a few scenes, his adventures play out more like a short film attached to the final product rather than playing as an integral part of the story. Indeed, his two major sequences play as bookends to the film, providing a great way to get you in the mood for comedy and also to provide several laughs at the end after a touching finale to the film itself. Scrat's adventures continue in Ice Age: The Meltdown.
Besides its entertaining story and seemingly endless strings of jokes and laughter, perhaps the best thing Ice Age has going for it are the fantastically written characters, their interaction with one another, and the excellent voice work that accompanies each one. The film's writers have done a fantastic job in bringing these characters to life with smart, witty dialogue, and the actors voicing them are all spot-on in tone, and together they make for a fun, believable group of characters. Like any good animated movie, (say the aforementioned Ratatouille), Ice Age delivers a first-rate story, focusing on plot and character developments first and seamlessly integrating the laughs from there. As a result, the jokes come across as natural and very funny, never forced or misplaced. Fox definitely has a fantastic franchise on their hands, with a new movie in the series planned for 2009. I, for one, will gladly stand in line for it, both in real life at the box office and virtually at Amazon.com when it hits Blu-ray.
Ice Age Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ice Age arrives on Blu-ray with a fantastic 1080p high definition image. Framed at 1.85:1, the movie is practically reference material through and through. While it doesn't quite measure up to the likes of Ratatouille and Cars, it nevertheless has a pleasant, clean, and crisp appearance that recreates the Ice Age experience just about as well as one could hope for. Color reproduction is accurate with browns, tans, and blues the predominant shades. A brief scene in chapter six showing Sid eating an apple really struck me with the well-defined colors present—the red of the apple, the white-blended-to-faint-yellow of its inside, the purple shades of the leaves on the trees, and the colors of the characters—all made for a nice scene showcasing the strength of the disc. Obviously, being digital, the image is never plagued by anything inherent in film (grain, splotches, speckles, hair, whatever).
Perhaps the only thing holding this one back a bit from looking quite as good as more recent animated films is the somewhat cruder animation seen here compared to films like Cars and Ratatouille. There is a definite lack of fine detail in the animation. Hair looks like a clump rather than the intricate, fine, seemingly individually fine-tuned hair seen in those films, or even the second Ice Age film. Obviously, this is not a knock at all on the movie or the image, just a result of the limitation of the technology available all the way back in the ancient days of 2002. Ice Age still looks great nevertheless.
Ice Age Blu-ray, Audio Quality
It should come as no surprise that, being a Fox Blu-ray title, Ice Age comes with a DTS- HD MA 5.1 sound mix. It should also come as no surprise that it sounds fantastic. The first thing I noticed was a fine bit of ambience. The wind blew ever so subtly in the rear, making you almost feel cold. Bass was strong and precise, as was the imaging of each sound (an echo in chapter 12 sounded as good as real life). Highs were crisp, such as heard during the sound of ice cracking. The midrange was also solid. Glacier movement (I've heard one in real life) sounded spot-on accurate. The movie features a very fun score and made me want to buy the soundtrack. A scene where rain and hail fell during a storm sounded fantastic and engrossing. Dialogue was natural and well-placed, emanating mostly from the center with pleasing realism, definitely aided by the fine voice work of Romano, Leguizamo, and Leary. Unlike some other movies, such as Hitman, dialogue came through the rear sounding both natural and precise, especially the "prepare for the ice age!" line by a dodo birds in chapter 8. I was very pleased with the effort on this mix, and as always, I'm more than happy to praise Fox for their use of DTS-HD MA, and I hope it becomes more widely available so more Blu-ray fans have the opportunity to hear what they're missing on these first-rate Fox titles.
Ice Age Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ice Age hits Blu-ray with a rather paltry extras section, and one that is certainly a far cry from the available 2-disc DVD set. What is here is a rather good commentary track with co- directors Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha. Is it just me or does every single commentary track on a Fox disc begin by pointing out the Fox logo? Is there a contractual obligation? Anyway, this duo provides an interesting, easy-to-listen-to track, beginning with the origins of the Scrat character, differing scripts, scenes that had to be trimmed for pacing, the origins of some of the jokes, the theme of the movie that states, "as the environment gets colder, our characters get warmer." There is a lot of talk about the effects and the environments in the film as well. All in all, this track is well worth a listen for fans of the movie.
Gone Nutty--Scrat's Missing Adventure (1080p, 4:45) is next, showcasing yet another full- length Scrat adventure. It's as amusing as anything seen in either one of the movies (including a wonderful skydiving sequence). The image looks fantastic, though the sound quality, a 2 channel stereo track, left a bit to be desired. Next up are six deleted scenes, most of which are obviously in the cruder stages of animation, and presented in 1080p, and with optional commentary by the co-directors of the film. Scenes included are: Sid and Sylvia (2:20), Sid and the Ladies (0:47), No More Fruit For You (1:11), Sabre Stake Out (1:00), Sylvia & Sid Introduction (1:44), and 'Paying Toll' w/Aardvarks (1:25). Rounding out the features are three trailers for Ice Age and additional trailers for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Fantastic Four, and Planet of the Apes, all presented in 1080p.
Ice Age Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Ice Age is great family fun. There are laughs galore, plenty of action, and several memorable characters. The movie is fast-paced, though almost too short at 81 minutes, but those 81 minutes are jam-packed with some of the funniest scenes yet in a digitally-animated film, well-written characters, and a first-rate story, all of which make for a wonderful viewing experience. The best way to see this fine film is definitely on Blu-ray high definition. Fox has once again delivered a top-notch disc in the video and audio departments, but the supplemental package does leave the viewer wanting a bit. Overall, Ice Age makes for yet another excellent addition to the family section of your Blu-ray collection and is one not to be missed by any member of your herd. Recommended.
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Ice Age Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Boxed Set of the Week: Ice Age Triple Pack $36.99 - October 17, 2010
Amazon's current Blu-ray Boxed Set of the Week is for the three movie set Ice Age Triple Pack (comprised of Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), which can now be had for only $36.99 (72% off MSRP, or just over $12 per movie). The ...
• Deal of the Day: Ice Age Triple Pack Blu-ray $36.99 (Expired) - April 18, 2010
This Sunday, Amazon has an interesting Blu-ray related deal of the day: up to midnight PDT, you can order the Ice Age Triple Pack on Blu-ray (consisting of Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs) for only $36.99 (71% off MSRP). This ...
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