Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

This week’s animation news is all about Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. This is the first big-budget animated feature of the year, and expectations are high. The first Ice Age was a blockbuster, and this sequel will attempt to follow in its frozen footsteps.

There are a few changes this time: Chris Wedge, the co-director of the first Ice Age, as well as the voice of Skrat, is just executive producing this this go-around. Carlos Saldhana, his co-director on Ice Age, and Robots, flies solo for this sequel. Queen Latifah has joined the cast, as a female wooly mammoth named “Ellie.” Skrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel, who stole the first movie with his brief appearances, has much more screen time in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, with a series of vignettes interspersed throughout the movie.

Advanced reviews are mixed, though generally favorable. Skrat is still a crowd-pleaser, and it seems that the chemistry between Ray Romano, Dennis Leary and John Leguizamo remains intact from the first movie. One criticism is that the film gets a bit preachy about global warming, but unless they have an unfrozen caveman Al Gore explaining it in great detail, we can’t see how it could detract from the rest of the movie. We hear the highlight of the movie is a Busby Berkley-styled production number with Vultures.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is currently playing, check the Gazz Movie Finder for theaters and times.