Sunday, March 19, 2006

[DVD] Ice Age (2002)

I've missed this animated movie when it was out in Singapore a few years back. Since the sequel is hitting our shores real soon, I thought I'd better get myself up to speed with the original movie, lest I miss out on some references used in the sequel. You see, must do homework mah?

It has been 4 years since this movie was released, but I am marvelled at the level of animation detail that was already incorporated - the ice never looked as white or as menacing, and the scenes of water in this movie, could have been the real thing. It really is that good. Which is quite surprising, considering that Ice Age was only Fox Animation Studios' attempt after their initial offering of Titan AE.

The beginning of Ice Age comprised of that extra long trailer featuring Scrat (the part squirrel part rat animal) trying to bury its acorn into the ice. Yes, it's the same one, which lead directly to a scene which looked straight out of A Land Before Time. The prehistoric animals are making their way down south, but somehow, Manny the Mammoth decides to leave the herd, and head up north instead. He meets Sid the Sloth, and they begin an uneasy alliance - you know, the usual bored character meets witty-but-irritating character routine.

At the same time, some sabre-tooth tigers have ambushed some early-humans (they don't speak), and their prized target, a human baby, escapes. Diego gets appointed by the pack to hunt the baby down and deliver it, so that they can exact revenge. But alas the baby gets saved rather reluctantly by Manny and Sid, and Diego has to use its cunning to infiltrate the group, and complete its mission.

It's a simple movie with mature themes, infused with madcap comedy. I especially enjoyed the crazy sequence with the dumb dodo birds - after watching this, you'd think that they deserve to be extinct! But anyhow, central to the themes is that of sacrifice and friendship. It got played out really well, since you have a double agent amongst the group of unlikely friends. And it is precisely this that the sequel can be born.

As with most animation flicks these days, look out for some spoofs, especially in the cave (with the UFO), and pay close attention to the dialogue - lots of gems to listen out for. It's an interesting caper, and the sequel, yes I'm awaiting.

This Code 1, two-discs special edition comes with features filled to the brim. The first disc contains an audio commentary, interactive games, both widescreen and fullscreen formats, and the usual audio selection and subtitles. The second discs comes with an animated short Scrat's Missing Adventure, an HBO behind the scenes special, a making-of documentary, 6 deleted scenes, 6 production featurettes, trailers, and a clip from Blue Sky Studio's Oscar winning film "Bunny". Whew!

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