10 out of 10
A superb animation
As everyone knows, life is hard in the ice age...saber-toothed squirrels cause landslides, animals are forced to migrate and babies get kidnapped by prehistoric tigers...In this icy comedy, Ray Romano, John Leguziamo and Denis Leary star as Manny the mammoth, Sid the giant sloth and Diego the saber tooth tiger who become unlikely compatriots as they attempt to return a human baby to it's settlement across the ice flows. The three face lava, rhinos, hormonal sloths, snow, hail and changing diapers as they learn the value of loyalty, friendship and co-operation.
The first full-length 3D CGI venture created by Blue Sky Studios, Ice Age was directed by studio co-founder Chris Wedge (who also plays hyper acorn-obsessed Scrat) and Carlos Saldanha and based on a story by Michael J. Wilson, with a screenplay by Michael Berg. Surprisingly refreshing and entertaining, it contains superb animation and winning character design meshed seamlessly with non-stop one liners and a heartwarming story, creating a brilliant family-friendly film with just enough edge to be appealing to all ages.
Ray Romano is perfect as Manny the stolid mammoth, as is John Leguziamo as Sid the goofy abandoned sloth. With clever repartee, the two become unwitting friends as they journey alone, just ahead of the encroaching Ice Age. After discovering a family of hunters under attack, Sid and Manny are entrusted to the care of their youngest child Roshan. Mulling over what to do, they unwittingly coming across Diego, who agrees to help them find Roshan's "herd," while secretly hoping to eat all three. Also memorable are performances by Goran Viseljic as Soto, Alan Tudyk ("First Knight") and Jane Krakowski ("Ally McBeal") as one of Sid's love interests.
Among the most impressive scenes are the attack by dooming ninja dodos, as is an ice toboggan ride created by Blue Sky's effects team and an acorn induced cliffside collapse.
Visually impressive, hilarious and entertaining, it is truly perfect: outstanding and funny, with warmth that would withstand any Ice Age.
Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies