Trudged over to the AVCO with Rafael this morning to see Ice Age: The Meltdown, the sequel to the rather amusing Blue Sky Studios CGI animated feature from 2002. The basic (and I do mean BASIC) idea of the movie is this: the cooling trend is over, so the glacier is melting – threatening to flood the valley and kill all the animals in there. There is hope, though – an “ark” is rumored to be available 3 days away. So Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Dennis Leary) start out on their trek. Along the way, they meet Ellie (Queen Latifah) another mammoth who thinks that she is a possum because she was raised by one when abandoned as a child. With her two “brother” possums, they all head out. Will true love bloom between Manny (who believed himself to be the last mammoth) and Ellie (who doesn’t think she’s a mammoth at all)? Will Diego and Sid get along with Crash and Eddie (the possum brothers)? Will Scrat get his nuts? Does anyone care?
The answer to that last one is, “not really”. The problem with Ice Age: The Meltdown is that it panders to the lowest common denominator. Oh sure there are the occasional jokes that adults might enjoy, but the story is so obvious and predictable and the formula so tired and worn, that really the only thing going for it is Scrat and the pretty-looking CGI images. Crash and Eddie are annoying more than anything, and the pop-culture references will be outdated within two years.
The music, by John Powell, is alright – it doesn’t have the emotional arc that David Newman’s score for the first film had, but it’s still effective where it needs to be. In the end, the whole film is just a distraction for about 80 minutes, but little more than that. Check it out on DVD, but don’t rush – the ice is melting slowly.