My wife and I were riding on the Norwegian Cruise Lines boat up the Inland Passage to a glacier in Alaska. There was a problem. For the first time since cruises had been going up this passage we could not get to the glacier. Why? Because huge chunks of ice had prematurely broken off the glacier and blocked the passage. Then there is the pictures of the polar cap which has lost 21% of its mass in the last twenty years. Then finally there was the piece of ice the size of Rhode Island which broke off from Greenland recently. And they say there is no global warming. But the scientific evidence and the scientific community worldwide are nearly unanimous on this subject. Its just politicians who would like us to think otherwise.
Well now we have a children's movie meant to raise this issue with those of an impressionable age, and I would see this as a good thing. The story line is simple. Manny the woolly mammoth, Syd the sloth, Diego the saber tooth tiger, and Scrat the squirrel are all in deep trouble because the ice is melting rapidly. They need to get to a place of safety (and lo and behold it is a sort of ark) so they will not be drowned. The movie centers around the journey to the ark and the creatures they meet and the misadventures that our intrepid heroes have along the way. Oh yes there is romance between Manny and a female mammoth played by Queen Latifah, who was raised by possums and thinks she is one and so she hangs upside down on tree limbs (until they break). A totally plausible plot line for sure.
The story is not told in a heavy handed way, as it is of course a children's cartoon in movie length form. The CG is excellent, and shows advances over the first Ice Age tale, but the story line is not as taut, and the laughs not as frequent as the first movie. I was in a theater full of children, and there was not a lot of raucous laughter this time around. But then the sequels are usually not quite as good as the originals.
Several features of the movie are worth comment however. Firstly there are indeed some hilarious scenes. The vulture course line rendition of "Food glorious food" is great. The two possums, Crash and Eddie are a welcome addition to the menagerie as well. And its a nice touch to have Diego the tiger overcome his fear of water to help rescue friends.
There are some good one liners--- for instance when Manny and the gang come across a particularly noxious creature, and Syd stresses that he "puts the stink back in extinction". Of all the voices in the movie Ray Romano's as Manny the wooly mammoth will be the most recognizable and he does a good job of bringing some human and humorous tones to the dialogue and story line. And of course Queen Latifah brings her own special charm to the role of Elly.
Lastly of course this movie has finally answered the big question for all true creationists. In one scene we are told that the dinosaurs were extinct before the mammoths and saber tooth tigers, because "they got greedy", but that our heroes lived to see the day of the ark. So now we know for sure--- there were wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers on the ark! I am feeling relieved to know this. Of course this also means that the earth is a lot older than 6,000 years old :)