Ice Age 3: On Thin Ice

It's always difficult not to enjoy animated films. They're a bundle of fun; whether you're an adult or a kid, you always get something that's funny or poignant and most of all, anyone and everyone can watch it together.

In the third installment of the Ice Age franchise, it's all about mammoths versus dinosaurs; clearly a metaphor for clashes between the old generation and new. Ice Age 3 is one of the many franchises that have developed over the years with computer generated animated films; such as Toy Story (whose third installment is due next year), Madagascar, and Shrek to name a few. With such competition, it is often tough for animated features to find their own footings and stay clear of comparisons. Ice Age 3 suffers from the brunt of the competition, in which, it doesn't have exactly the same star power as the Shrek or Madagascar films nor does it have the same comedy as most Pixar films.

The Ice Age franchise—though successful—has always suffered from a "not-too-funny by funny" stigma. The movies which have been praised by families as being heart warming and fun to watch have been panned by critics as dull and lifeless.

Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo all return for their respective roles as, mammoths, sabre-toothed tiger, and sloth. Also returning are the opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck, respectively. The story continues from where the last film, Ice Age: Meltdown, left off. Ellie (Latifah) and Manny (Romano) are expecting their first child, and Manny is fixated on making life safe for the family. Ray Romano identifies with Manny’s anxiety, “It wasn’t that different from my own life,” he notes. “Getting crazy preparing for a new arrival comes with the territory.” Likewise Queen Latifah found much of herself in Ellie’s character and opposite of Manny. “Manny and Ellie are opposites in the way they’re handling imminent parenthood,” says Latifah. “Manny is nervous and neurotic, trying to make sure that everything is perfect and safe for the baby. Ellie is more nurturing and begins to assume the mantle of matriarch of this family of friends.”

At the same time, Diego (Leary) has been feeling more like a kitty cat than a fearsome feline, and fears that joining the herd is making him lose his edge. Instead of participating in the preparations for the baby’s arrival, Diego heads out on his own in search of adventure, wondering if it’s time for him to move on from the herd. “He’s breaking off on his own,” says actor-comedian Leary. Sid (Leguizamo) feels left out from the group and decides to adopt babies of his own; in this case, three eggs that he discovers—but it's when the eggs hatch that the real fun begins. Leguizamo returns to that distinctive voice while finding inventive ways to add new dimensions to the character. “Sid wants to be taken seriously, get some respect, and be treated like an adult,” says Leguizamo.

What follows is an epic chase by a ferocious Tyrannosaurs Rex, an encounter with a crazy weasel fighting Baryonyx, an attack by a Ankylosaurus and rivers of lava ripping apart landscapes. Out of all, it's the moments with the crazy weasel, Buckminster or Buck, that are the funniest to watch. Voiced by Scottish actor Simon Pegg, Buck's lines and characteristics are something that will tickle audiences. In casting the role, the filmmakers wanted a voice that stood out from their previously established characters. “Every character in the ‘Ice Age’ films has a distinct voice, but they all somehow fit together,” says producer Lori Forte. Ultimately, it was British actor Simon Pegg who got the nod to voice Buck. “Simon has great comedic timing, and his work brought a completely different flavor to Buck,” Forte continues. “We wanted a quality that conveyed a worldliness and range of experience that hadn’t yet been heard in an ‘Ice Age’ movie.” Parents might not understand or differentiate one dinosaur from another, but children will be delighted to see the introduction of dinosaurs into the fray of Ice Age.

The previous Ice Age films show Scrat (Chris Wedge) who does everything he can to retrieve his precious acorn. In fact, he was the first character we ever saw and his story is interlinked with the main story as he tries to get the acorn he is so vehemently after. This time around however, his efforts are complicated by the presence of Scratte (Karen Disher), a female of his species, who cajoles his entire attention. Scratte outsmarts him a number of times, which leaves Scrat to decide which is more important; his acorn or his love?

Though Ice Age 3 discusses about evolution its storyline hardly evolves. Thanks to some terrific animation this time around, there’s actually something worthwhile to watch, but animated movies aren’t all about the animation; as films like Wall-E and UP have shown us. Sadly this is not the case with Ice Age 3. We are instead dealt with more of the same stuff we’ve seen from the previous two films and more.

Another aspect of Ice Age 3 is that originally the movie has a special 3D version, something we probably won’t get to see here, but the added dimension does change the viewing of the film.

Finally, with all its merits of funny and poignant moments, Ice Age 3 just simply does not live up to the mark as set by its competition; particularly UP and Wall-E. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy of watch, especially with family goers who will be delighted to watch the many adventures of Ice Age and its characters.

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