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Review

‘Meltdown’ tops typical sequels

April 6, 2006

It is impossible to review a sequel without taking into account its original counterpart. Sometimes they out-show the first film, like “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Godfather II.” But other times, they are a shame to the original concept, like “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Grease 2.”

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” was not as bad as Freddie Prinze Jr.‘s acting, but it was definitely not “Luke, I am your father.”

It wasn’t really that good, but it wasn’t too bad either.

In the first installment Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and Sid the Sloth (just reading that makes you want to say it out loud with a lisp) come together because they have lost their families. There is a lot of emotion, especially because they interact with humans.

In the sequel we have Manny, voiced by Ray Romano, looking for more mammoths. Everyone keeps telling him he’s the last and going extinct – it’s sad, but it doesn’t grab our sympathy. We all know he is going to be extinct anyway; just wait a few years.

Denis Leary, as the tiger, isn’t scary enough. In the first film he was tough and double-crossing. Of course we don’t expect him to be that way with his friends, but he got super soft just from hanging out with Sid. Queen Latifah voices the female mammoth Ellie (which sounds way too close to elephant if you ask me), who won’t let go of the fact that she was raised by possums, thus thinking she is an opossum.

She even brings along her two possum brothers, Crash and Eddie, to avoid the impending flood. Crash and Eddie offer little comedic relief, and act more like Jackass beach bums.

The only humor you will find in this film is with Scrat the squirrel. I know he probably started out as someone’s desktop pet, but now he has become the star of the whole “Ice Age” franchise. It doesn’t matter if he ever gets that stupid acorn – I could watch his eyes bug and claws gouge at the ice for hours. Poor, cute little guy.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the computer animation age that has fallen upon us. I grew up on classic Disney animation like “Lady and the Tramp,” but I have to admit I love the way the animals actually look furry. The mammoths’ hair waves when it moves. Yet, it’s so subtle that you wouldn’t notice unless you were to stare at it.

When the dam collapses, the sound effects and glistening ice make you wonder, “Could it really happen that way?”

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” has brought us to that great place where we want to learn about the beginnings of the Earth, and it’s not just a geology chapter. How surprising that a cartoon can leave you with wide-eyed wonderment.

However, as a movie, it has no support for its characters or plots, and the humor is often lowbrow.

I’d wait to see this one until the next ice age, or at least until it comes out on video.

Jenna is a sophomore studying journalism and music history. She enjoys watching dark comedies.