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PCR # 315  (Vol. 7, No. 14)  This edition is for the week of April 3--9, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Ice Age: The Meltdown"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Ice Age: The Meltdown"  by Mike Smith
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20th Century Fox     
Starring the Voices of: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

Scrat is back! Fans of the original animated film, "Ice Age," surely remember the part squirrel/part rat character that showed up periodically, trying desperately to protect his one acorn. Scrat has a little more screen time in "Ice Age: The Meltdown," still guarding his acorn from all manner of danger, mostly self created. Along with Scrat, we are reacquainted with Manny the Mammoth (Romano), Sid the Sloth (Leguizamo) and Diego the Sabre-toothed tiger (Leary). Sid, always one to give advice, has become a sort of camp counselor for younger animals. Diego helps keep the kids in line while Manny looks out for both of them. Like the first film, this one deals with family and a drastic change in the climate However, instead of an oncoming blizzard, the story here is the beginning of global warming, as the icy surroundings begin to slowly melt. As the self made herd begins looking for higher ground, it is quickly obvious that, while there are many groups of animals, Manny is the only mammoth. Will they escape what they feel will be a terrible flood? Is Manny in danger of being extinct? Will Sid lead the sloths in a hilarious song and dance number?

I was so taken with the original "Ice Age" that I almost feared seeing "The Meltdown." So many animated films have spawned sequels recently, with very few of them worth seeing. For every great one, like "Shrek 2," you get the latest attempt to pick over Walt Disney's bones (Did someone say "Bambi 2?) Thankfully everything that was great about "Ice Age" is still going strong here. A brilliant cast who puts their heart into the work is top of the list. I must admit that my only exposure to the talents of Ray Romano have been the two films, yet I can't imagine anyone else voicing Manny. Leguizamo is hilarious as the lisping Sid and Leary lends an air of seriousness and order to Diego. Joining the cast are three new characters, all who should earn their own following. Queen Latifah plays Ellie, a female mammoth (Shemoth?) who, since she was raised by a family of possums, thinks she is one as well. Watching her hide behind trees, or duck low for fear of being snagged and swept away by a bird, is a sight you won't soon forget. Stealing the film are Ellie's two "brothers," Crash and Eddie, voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck. Whether they are begging Manny for a ride or standing still in yet another attempt to cheat death, these two curious mischief makers deliver a freezer full of laughs.

The animation is beautiful, with the flowing water and icy cliffs perfectly rendered. The story is good, with the characters again dealing with loss and friendship. Though a little bit darker then the first one, the plot has plenty of adventures and excitement for younger viewers as well as adults. In short, "Ice Age: The Meltdown" is nothing short of the perfect family film of this early season.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Ice Age: The Meltdown"  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Ice Age: The Meltdown" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.