Written by: Peter Ackerman, Michael Berg & Michael J. Wilson
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha & Chris Wedge
Starring the Voices of: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Chris Wedge, Goran Visnjic
My Advice: Wait for Cable.
Manfred (Romano) is a mammoth who has decided not to migrate south–for reasons that will never be fully explained. Along the way of his migration north, he runs into a sloth named Sid (Leguizamo) who comes complete with social and family issues, a human toddler who has gotten separated from its family, and a sabre-toothed tiger named Diego (Leary), who wants the child…as an appetizer for the mammoth. Which complicates things since Manfred and Sid have decided to reunite the kid with its family.
First things first. This ain’t Pixar. It’s not even PDI, the people who brought you Shrek. And this is a shame, because when this movie decides it’s time to bring the funny, it backs up a truck and just piles it on you. A game of melon keepaway played against a horde of fanatical dodos (it makes sense in context, just trust me) is too damn ridiculous to be believed. And if they had decided to simply leave the film as a wonderfully absurd animated comedy–and been satisfied with that–you would have had a hellacious film on your hands.
[ad#longpost]But no, they overreached and tried to make a film that had Heartâ„¢. And unfortunately, nobody had any measuring cups handy, because when they go for the Feel Good Scene(s), you’re literally drowning in rich, cheesy schmaltz. These people wouldn’t know subtle characterization if it put on a giant furry monster costume and then gave them a lapdance.
This is sad–because the voices they enlisted are capable of doing the job. Capable–but that’s about it, since they’re hamstrung by the material. Co-director Wedge gives his own voice to Scrat–an amusing side character who featured prominently in the trailer–but the standout has to be Leguizamo, who’s barely recognizable as Sid. This proves yet again the man’s a damn chameleon whether live action or animated.
Will little kids like it? For the same reason adults will–when it’s goofy, it flat out excels. But I wouldn’t advise spending any money on it. The Velveeta Factor is just too high.