Home Arts-Entertainment Movies 'ICE AGE' IS, WELL, JUST THE COOLEST THING!



March 14, 2002 – President Bush has suggested, when not looking over our shoulders, that we all just relax, go out, spend money and boost the economy – an idea Hollywood has taken to its computer-generated bosom with "Ice Age."
Tinseltown has invited us to a glacial time 20,000 years ago where, in the midst of constant peril, we meet a saber-toothed ancestor of the squirrel and the rat, cleverly enough named Scrat. More consumed with hiding his acorn than meeting new perils such as the dawning of a new ice age, Scrat isn't really a part of the storyline, but critics pretty much agree his recurring antics steal the show. I suppose you have to overlook his teeth, although a buck-toothed smile can have a charm of its own.
The tale itself centers on a what the online film promos describe as "fast talking but dim sloth" named Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo), a "moody woolly mammoth" (Ray Romano) and a "devilish saber-toothed" tiger named Diego (Denis Leary).
A word about movie synopsis writers, or at least that one. He must have been forced to sit in a dim closet where he was allowed neither thesaurus nor fresh air and was told to pound it out in 10 minutes or less. How many super-smart sloths do you know? How do you say "moody woolly" with a straight face? And what saber-toothed tiger could be angelic? Surely Hollywood could offer an environment more conducive to creative thinking.
Anyhow, back to the past. The unlikely trio — also described in the promos as "the "sub-zeros" who "become the world's first heroes" — soon bond in a quest to return a human baby they have come across to its parents, presumably hiding in the loge seats. They brave all sorts of things one doesn't ordinarily come across today — boiling lava pits, treacherous ice caves and awfully cold temperatures — to say nothing of the treachery of one of their own.
James Berardinelli compares "Ice Age" to last year's hottest computer-animated feature film, "Shrek," but concludes that "despite the many plot similarities," the humor and sophistication of "Ice Age" never quite reaches the same level — "except on those occasions when the squirrel is on screen." Even so, he calls it "one of a handful of 2002 must-see movies."
The official web site is one the more fun ones to show up in a while. Check it out at ieagemovie.com. Or at least look at the animated pictures on the Yahoo.com movie web page. You'll likely grab the kids and head out to Diamond Cinemas or go shopping for a cuddly woolly mammoth at the mall. Either way, you'll be doing the president proud.
The 1 hour 25 minute movie is rated PG for "mild peril," a unique designation. Must have been that synopsis writer at it again. It is directed by Oscar-winner Chris Wedge.
"Ice Age" started Thursday at Diamond Cinemas.


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