Ice Age 2: The Meltdown Reviews
(Full review coming soon)
With Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, things become a lot more scattered than in the first one. While Ice Age was a film with a touching premise about coming to terms with family and friendship in the context of what was essentially a road movie, Ice Age 2 repeats a lot of this. The problem is that these themes have already been explored for both comedic and dramatic effect in the first Ice Age, and so viewers would be hoping for something different from Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Unfortunately, that is not the case and things are no longer refreshing. As well as that, the film clearly intends to add to the comic relief through the addition of new characters, including a mammoth who assumes to be a possum for a series of incompetent reasons. There is a slight sense of touching sentiment stemming from the relationship between Manny and Ellie as Manny comes to terms with his fear of extinction, but it is buried underneath a lot of melodrama stemming from the relationship between them and tedious implied romantic conventions. The meaning in the film is hardly as effective this time around largely because the story follows the same basic structure as the first film which leaves it thoroughly predictable. The meaningful intentions of the film are hard to feel, and much of the time they come into conflict with the comic relief of the film anyway because Ice Age 2: The Meltdown keeps cutting between comedy and drama without a balanced sense of consistency. I've already established that the drama is not that great, but even the comedy proves rather tedious at times. The humour in the film comes from the nature of the lovable trio of characters established in the first Ice Age as well as the subplot involving the funny little sabre-toothed squirrel on the quest to rescue his acorns. The problem is that the new characters in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown are just not funny. There are so many characters added to this one for subplots and such which renders the focus of the feature rather scattered, but the only three newcoming characters with much of a consistent focus are the mammoth Ellie and the twin opossums Crash and Eddie. The stupid nature of these characters may appeal to the youngest audiences, but I just found it to be frustrating and cheap. As much as I found appeal in Sean William Scott's antics in the role of Crash due to his over the top energetic voice and the way that Josh Peck was able to keep up with him as well as the rather sassy nature that Queen Latifah put into the role of Ellie, the characters are just not funny or meaningful enough to dominate so much screen time, especially when they essentially overshadow actual good characters like Sid and Diego in terms of screen time. As good as the voice acting was, the characters are dull and they are all grounded in a dull story with little in terms of originality. The one thing that Ice Age 2: The Meltdown did correctly was continuing to characterize the characters from the first Ice Age in the appropriate way, expanding upon Manny's personal issues and Diego's insecurities while still keeping Sid as an idiotic but well-meaning sloth. The voice work of Ray Romano, Dennis Leary and John Leguizamo in these respective roles are still charming so the characters still have the abilities to capture the interest of viewers. It's just a shame there wasn't a story strong enough to support them through the ordeal. The script itself didn't really give them enough funny situations either, and some plot dynamics just seemed rather unnecessary such as the musical number with the vultures and the tribe of mini-sloths intending to sacrifice Sid to the gods as a means of preventing the apocalypse. I didn't find much charm or humour in either of these scenes, and though juvenile viewers might, there is a greater audience in the world that appreciates animated films than just children. Perhaps Carlos Saldanha forgot that when he directed Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
That being said, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown still has the strength to appeal to younger viewers strictly on the basis of the animation. Maintaining the same colourful detail as the first Ice Age, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown has enough visual charm to capture the interests of viewers who are here solely for the experience. The detailed designs of the characters and their movements are impressive, but the world around them is more effective because the way that the melting ice age is depicted in the film is done with plenty of colour which captures the dry landscape and counters it with elements of snow very effectively. Everything looks really good, and some of the best animated moments comes from when it depicts the titular meltdown progressively turning into a flood. The one key scene towards the end of the film which captures this is done with fine detail and plays out against the backdrop of a powerful musical score which effectively makes the scene climactic and atmospheric enough. Frankly, the majority of the appeal in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown comes from the animation, and if you go in with the mindset that you just want your eyes to enjoy the colour of the film at the expense of your brain then perhaps Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is the film for you. But it is not the film for me.
So Ice Age 2: The Meltdown maintains the same visual appeal of its predecessor with the extensively detailed and colourful animation as well as the work of a talented voice cast, but the narrative treads overly familiar ground, uses unfunny new characters and just lacks the touching charm of its predecessor meaning that it is a rather generic follow up to Ice Age.