Ice Age: ©20th Century Fox
Bruce Fretts
November 29, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Ice Age

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
75 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/15/02
performer
Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Jack Black, Kirsten Johnson, Goran Visnjic
director
Chris Wedge
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Peter Ackerman
genre
Comedy, Animation

We gave it an A

Surely it couldn’t have been planned this way, but along with ”Shrek” and ”Monsters, Inc.,” Ice Age forms a trilogy of thematically related computer-animated cartoons. Like Mike Myers’ green ogre, woolly mammoth Manfred (voiced by the aptly nasal Ray Romano) is an antisocial behemoth who acquires a pain-in-the-ass sidekick — in this case, a lisping sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo). And like ”Monsters, Inc.”’s Mike and Sulley, these creatures have their hearts melted by a lost baby human (here, a primitive tribesman’s son) whom they attempt to return home.

But ”Ice Age” wisely throws in a wildcat: Diego (the menacing Denis Leary), a saber-toothed tiger who may be leading the makeshift ”herd” into an ambush. Like their digital images, all these characters are pleasingly three-dimensional. The comedy’s real secret weapon, though, is Scrat, a squirrel-rat hybrid whose hysterically Sisyphean quest to bury a single acorn continues in ”Gone Nutty,” a short (included on both the VHS and DVD) that, like ”Ice Age,” boasts some of the most inspired animated slapstick since ”Looney Tunes”’ heyday.

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