Ice Age (2002 film)

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Ice Age
Ice Age.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Wedge
Carlos Saldanha (co-director)
Produced by Lori Forte
Screenplay by Michael J. Wilson
Michael Berg
Peter Ackerman
Story by Michael J. Wilson
Starring Ray Romano
John Leguizamo
Denis Leary
Music by David Newman
Edited by John Carnochan
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • March 15, 2002 (2002-03-15)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $59 million
Box office $383,257,136

Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge from a story by Michael J. Wilson. The film stars Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary and was nominated at the 75th Academy Awards for best animated feature.

The film was met with mostly positive reviews and was a box office success, starting a series with three sequels, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Plot

The film begins with a saber-toothed squirrel (known as Scrat) who is trying to find somewhere to store his prized acorn. Eventually, as he tries to stomp it into the ground, he causes a large crack in the ground that extends for miles and miles and sets off a large avalanche. He barely escapes, but finds himself stepped on by a herd of prehistoric animals. The animals are trying to avoid the ice age by migrating south, except for Manfred, an agitated mammoth who is heading north. Sid, a clumsy Megalonyx sloth left behind by his family, decides to go on by himself and angers Carl and Frank, two Brontops by ruining their salad and is attacked. Sid is soon saved by Manfred, who fights them off. Not wanting to be alone and unprotected, Sid follows Manfred.

Meanwhile, Soto, the leader of a Smilodon pride wants revenge on a group of humans by eating the chief's baby son, Roshan, alive. Soto leads a raid on the human camp, during which Roshan's mother is separated from the rest and jumps down a waterfall when cornered by Soto's lieutenant, Diego. For his failure, Diego is sent to find and retrieve the baby. Sid and Manfred spot Roshan and his mother near the lake, having survived her plunge. The mother only has enough strength to trust her baby to Manfred before she disappears. After much persuasion by Sid, they decide to return Roshan but when they reach the human settlement, they find it deserted. They meet up with Diego, who convinces the pair to let him help by tracking the humans. The four travel on, with Diego secretly leading them to his pack for an ambush.

While having small adventures on their way, they reach a cave with several drawings, drawn by humans where Sid and Diego learn about Manfred's past and his previous interactions with the humans, in which his wife and son were killed, leaving Manfred a cynical loner. Later Manfred, Sid, Diego and Roshan were almost to Half-Peak, but encounter a river of lava. Manfred and Sid, along with Roshan, make it safely but Diego struggles, about to fall into the lava. Manfred rescues him narrowly missing a fall into the lava himself. The herd takes a break for the night and Roshan takes his first walking steps to Diego.

The next day the herd approach the ambush, causing Diego to confess to Manfred and Sid about the ambush, and tells them to trust him. The herd battles Soto's pack and a short fight ensues. As Soto closes in for the kill on Manfred, Diego leaps and stops Soto, who wounds Diego in the process. Manfred knocks Soto into a rock wall, causing several sharp icicles to fall on Soto, killing him. Manfred and Sid leave Diego on his insistence and take Roshan back to his tribe. So Manfred and Sid manage to return Roshan to his father, and Diego rejoins them. The group begins to head off to warmer climates.

20,000 years later Scrat is frozen in an ice cube that washes up on the shore of a tropical island. The sun slowly melts the cube, bringing Scrat back to life but the acorn, which is just out of his reach, ends up being washed away by the tide. Scrat then explodes out of the ice cube in anger and hits his head repetitively on a tree, which drops a coconut. Believing it to be a giant acorn, Scrat's anger immediately turns to glee at this new find. He tries to pack it into the ground as he did previously with his other acorns, but in the process causes a large crack in the ground that makes its way up the side of a volcano and causes it to erupt.

Voice cast

The characters are all prehistoric animals. The animals can talk to and understand each other and are voiced by a variety of famous actors. Like many films of prehistoric life, the rules of time periods apply very loosely, as many of the species shown in the film never actually lived in the same time periods or the same geographic regions.

Production

Development

Ice Age was originally intended to be a dramatic, non-comedic hand-drawn animated film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman and produced by Fox Animation Studios, However in 2000 Fox Animation Studios shut down due to the financial failure of Titan A.E., Don Bluth and Gary Goldman turned down the opportunity to direct the film. Blue Sky Studios got the opportunity with the Ice Age script to turn it into a computer animated comedy, Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha took over as the directors. Supposedly the reason Don Bluth refused to make the film is when 20th Century Fox said they wanted it to be CGI after the failure of 2D animation, Bluth refused due to his personal hate for fully CG animation and angrily walked away from the project. The drama was also dropped from the film because 20th Century Fox would only except it as a comedy.[citation needed]

Writing

Writer Michael J. Wilson has stated on his blog that his daughter Flora came up with the idea for an animal that was a mixture of both squirrel and rat, naming it Scrat, and that the animal was obsessed with pursuing his acorn. Chris Wedge, director, is the voice of Scrat, but has no intelligible dialogue; the plan to have Scrat talk was quickly dropped, as he worked better as a silent character for comedic effect. The name 'Scrat' is a combination of the words 'squirrel' and 'rat', as Scrat has characteristics of both species; Wedge has also called him "saber-toothed squirrel." Scrat's opening adventure was inserted because, without it, the first real snow and ice sequence wouldn't take place until about 37 minutes into the film. This was the only role intended for Scrat, but he proved to be such a popular character with test audiences that he was given more scenes, and has appeared in other movies.[citation needed]

According to an interview with Jay Leno on July 12, 2012, Denis Leary's character Diego originally died near the end of the film, which caused a negative reaction such as the test audience of children bursting into tears, so it was re-done.[citation needed]

Originally, Sid was supposed to be a con-sloth and a hustler, and there were even two finished scenes of the character conning some aardvark kids and a very suggestive scene with two female sloths later in the movie. Sid was also supposed to have a female sloth named Sylvia chasing after him, whom he despised and kept ditching, however all of her scenes were removed. Some scenes of her were removed, while many scenes, which were finished, were retooled and re-animated for the final film. All the removed scenes of her can be seen on the "Super Cool Edition" DVD.[citation needed]

Casting

For mammoth Manny, the studio was initially looking at people with big voices.[1] James Earl Jones and Ving Rhames were considered, but they sounded too obvious and Wedge wanted more comedy.[2][3] Instead, the role was given to Ray Romano because they thought his voice sounded very elephant-like. Wedge described Romano's voice as "deep and his delivery is kind of slow, but he's also got a sarcastic wit behind it."[3]

John Leguizamo was cast as Sid, he tried 30 different voices for Sid. After viewing a documentary about sloths, he learned that they store food in their mouths; this led to him wondering what he would sound like with food in his mouth. After attempting to speak as if he had food in his mouth, he decided that it was the perfect voice for Sid.[citation needed]

All the actors were encouraged to improvise as much as possible to help keep the animation spontaneous.[citation needed]

Animation

Blue Sky Studios has engineers on its staff who understand the physics of sound and light and how these elements will affect movement in characters.[citation needed]

The responsibility for animating Sid's snowboard sequence was given to animators who went snowboarding in real life.[citation needed]

Release

The film was released on March 15, 2002.

Home media

Ice Age was released on DVD and VHS on November 26, 2002. Both releases included a short film Gone Nutty, featuring Scrat from the film.[4] The film was released on Blu-ray on March 4, 2008, and beside Gone Nutty, it included 9 minutes of deleted scenes.[5]

Reception

Critical reception

Ice Age was released into theaters on March 15, 2002 and was met with generally positive reviews from critics (making it the best reviewed film in its later-existing franchise). Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 77% approval rating, based on 164 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own."[6] Similar site Metacritic had a score of 60% out of 31 reviews.[7] The film was nominated an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Spirited Away.[8] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and wrote "I came to scoff and stayed to smile".

The film was nominated for AFI's 10 Top 10 in the "Animation" genre.[9]

Box office

The film had a $46.3 million opening weekend, a large number not usually seen until the summer season, and way ahead of Fox's most optimistic projection of about $30 million. Ice Age broke the record for a March opening (first surpassed in 2006 by its sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown) and was the then-third-best opening ever for an animated feature—after Monsters, Inc. ($62.6 million) and Toy Story 2 ($57.4 million).[10] Ice Age finished its domestic box office run with $176,387,405 and grossed $383,257,136 worldwide, being the 9th highest gross of 2002 in North America and the 8th best worldwide at the time.[11]

Video game

Main article: Ice Age (video game)

A video game tie-in was published by Ubisoft for the Game Boy Advance, and received poor reviews.[12][13]

Sequels

References

  1. ^ Fine, Marshall (March 20, 2002). "Animation star of 'Ice Age,' Romano says". Gannett News Service. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (March 9, 2002). "'Ice Age" natural". The Morning Call. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (May 15, 2002). "Ice Age's Ray of Light". TV Guide. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ Fretts, Bruce (November 29, 2002). "Ice Age Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ice Age (Blu-ray)". High-Def Digest. March 14, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ice Age (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Ice Age". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  8. ^ "The 75th Academy Awards (2003) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. March 23, 2003. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  10. ^ "Ice Age enjoys mammoth opening weekend". Entertainment Weekly. 2002-03-18. 
  11. ^ "Ice Age (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Ice Age (gba) reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  13. ^ "Ice Age for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  14. ^ "Ice Age 5 Set for July 15, 2016, Anubis Moves to 2018". ComingSoon.net. December 20, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 

External links