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  Film Reviews: How Did We Get Here Again?: Ice Age  

Wednesday, February 26
How Did We Get Here Again?: Ice Age
It all starts with a saber-tooth squirrel. That’s right squirrel. I don’t know if there really were any saber-tooth squirrels, and I have no desire to research the matter further. As far as I’m concerned, the saber-tooth squirrel is the noblest creature ever to have traversed this earth. For the saber-tooth squirrel, even after bringing about cataclysmic devastation, never looses site of the one thing that is really important to him.

Really, this all makes sense in the context of the movie.

Ice Age is a simple story about Manfred (a wooly mammoth), Sid (a sloth) and Diego (a saber-tooth tiger) left to take charge of a human baby during the great migration. After all, why wouldn’t a wooly mammoth that desires nothing but solitude take on friends in the form of a mile-a-minute sloth with a hairlip, a human baby and a chain-smoking saber-tooth tiger? Okay, I’ve made-up the chain-smoking part, but I believe it’s implied when said tiger is played by Dennis Leary.

Above all else, Ice Age is the story of how we can suddenly find ourselves completely involved in a situation we don’t remember getting into in the first place. Still, since we’re talking an animated feature aimed at kids, it’s about finding true friends in people that are not just like you. Oh, and accepting that sometimes bad things happen to you, but they’re not really personal. Or maybe our place in the food chain doesn’t have to decide who we really are. Or maybe it’s about doing the right thing even when others expect you to do something else.

Either way, I’m sure that there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Primarily, this is a movie that’s supposed to make you laugh. After all, when you’re looking at an oncoming Ice Age, what choices do you really have?

Ray Ramano voices Manfred, a decision that I questioned. After all, Ramano’s voice is quite distinct. I’ve seen “Everybody Loves Raymond” enough times to know that he’s Ray, the semi-spineless husband that is henpecked both by his wife and mother on a regular basis. How was I supposed to believe him as anything else?
Well, when playing a character that has no desire to be what he really is, it works perfectly fine. Within ten minutes, you fully believe that that he is Manfred with a plan for solitude that is going to be interrupted.

John Leguizamo plays Sid, the sloth. I must confess that Leguizamo is one of my all-time favorite character actors. It seems that no matter what small part he has – either in a really good or really bad film – there’s something about him that leaves me impressed. So, what to bring to an animated film? A speech impediment. And attitude. This is a sloth with no future, no prospects, and no sloth friends – yet, he perceivers and finds friendship in this odd group.

Dennis Leary is the Diego, the saber-tooth tiger that you find mean and sneaky. He is out for himself, forming a loose friendship with these two out of pure opportunity. But much like you might suspect the real Dennis Leary to be, there’s a heart of gold underneath it all.

And the Saber-Tooth Squirrel? You’ll have to watch the movie to see how he makes out.

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: Right now, this is available on DVD and PPV. It’s well-worth the rental.

Annoying Theater Goer: Again, as this was a home PPV, I must call out the dog.

Main Reason To See This Film: The Saber-Tooth Squirrel!

Main Reason Not To See This Film: If you start to think too much about the odds of 3 creatures without opposable thumbs taking care of a human baby, you’ll drive yourself nuts.

MPAA Rating: PG

Nudity: No.

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