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Ice Age came out in 2002 giving me no real inspiration to go check it out. Of course I finally did and found it to be well voiced and scripted. So, when Ice Age 2: The Meltdown debuted, I had a bit more interest in seeing it, even though the idea of sequels usually doesn’t hold much clout in my eyes. To my surprise the film kept most of what worked from the original. The performances from Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary are all humorous and heartfelt. The addition of Queen Latifah as a lifeline for the continuation of mammoth-kind—despite thinking she is a possum—was a good touch as she has the voice and attitude that is just right for a family animated film. Her character drives the story along and works well with the returning animals, one of which is the pesky, unable to catch a break, squirrel Scrat. The filmmakers saw that Scrat’s mini scenes sprinkled throughout the first film were fan favorites and have brought him back for more. His small vignettes are a perfect parallel to our main plot and payoff with some of the best laughs. They weren’t the biggest laughs, however, as those came from the great Will “Job Bluth” Arnett as our friendly vulture. His sardonic speech is wonderful and his play on theme park/supermarket loud speakers is brilliant comedy.

The heart remains from the first as well as the clean animation. However, overall the film doesn’t quite match its predecessor as it falls into some lulls and the trap of a bit too much melodrama and sentimentality. Without the duplicity of a character like Diego in the first, the sense of danger is turned down. Whereas he could have turned on them in the herd while they were being chased, having the chase by itself in the sequel can’t compete. Also, it would have been nice to have at least mentioned the human child they saved. As Manny says at the end of the original, “We’ll never forget you;” it appears as though they have. In the end though, Ice Age 2 is still well worth a look.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown 6/10
As comparison: Ice Age 8/10

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photography:
[1] (L to R) Diego (voiced by Denis Leary), Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) and Manfred (voiced by Ray Romano) in animation movie Ice Age 2 – 2006.

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