Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ice Age 2

Ice Gae 2: The Meltdown was the #1 movie for the weekend taking in over $70 million. It was the best March opening ever and nearly double what the original movie brought in. In the meantime, what did the critics recomend? Slither which came in at #8 with $3.7 million.

That puts Ice Age as the third biggest animated film opening weekend (it's tied with the Incredibles but ticket prices have gone up since then).

What happened? Probably two factors. The first is that the original movie and Robots were both well-made, entertaining movies. The other factor is that nearly everything else released this year stank. Ice Age was the first movie released this year aimed at the entire family where the movie-goer had an expectation of seeing a good movie.

And it is good. While both Ice Age movies are road films featuring three mismatches animals puncuated with mini-shorts featurig Scrat, the squirrel/rat, the two movies have different plots. They also have diferent supporting casts. This is important. Too often a sequel either puts the stars in a completely different situation or puts them in the same situation along with all the extras.

The original had three animals who didn't really like each other forming a friendship while racing to return a human baby to its tribe before witer set in.

In the new movie, the three are friends who have to excape a valley before it is flooded. Each of the anomals has his own personal growth but the movie doesn't hit you over the head with it. Manny the mamoth has to get over the death of his family. Diego the saber-tooth tiger has to get over his fear of water. Sid the sloth has to earn some respect.

Along the way they are joined by a family of possums, one of whom looks a lot like a momoth. The possums are almost as much fun as Scrat. Almost but not quite. Scrat's quest for the acorn would make Chuck Jones jelous.

The creators, Blue Sky, have shown that they have a vision of their own. Pixar goes for more serious, character-driven plots. Dreamworks does lighter ones with lots of topical references. Blue Sky aims somewhere in between. Their movies are lighter than Pixar's but without the constant topical references. It makes for a nice change of pace.

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