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Ice Age

Ice Age Is Coming 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC U Cert – Universal 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

The old Fox animation studio, responsible for films such as Anastasia, was unfortunately (or not depending on your point of view) wiped out by Don Bluth's ambitious and underrated Titan AE, which flopped like a humpback whale at the box office, due to misguided attempts to bill it as a cartoon Star Wars. It is a tad ironic then that Fox's first step back into the fiercely contested animation market place should be a new spin on one of Bluth's old chestnuts, The Land Before Time series, films that should by rights have been titled My Little Dinosaur.

Ice Age follows the journey of an unlikely herd of a mammoth, a sloth and a sabre tooth tiger, who have all been left behind by the annual migration and find themselves saddled with a human baby that the sloth insist must be returned. The group eventually agree to try and track down the human parents, but the sabre tooth tiger is planning to trick the others and take the baby to his pack leader, as revenge for humans hunting them.

If you have talked ot anyone who has seen the film they might neglect to mention the plot, this is because they'll be waxing lyrically about a mad squirrel and its attempts to bury an acorn. The scrawny beast manages the greatest piece of scene stealing since Orson Welles was pursued around Vienna by a mad zither player in The Third Man. The producers were perceptive enough to realise this and the film starts and finishes with segments devoted entirely to the rodent's undignified attempts to bury its nut. However this leaves the audience impatiently sitting through the lumbering main story line for another glimpse of the new Wile E Coyote, despite it not appearing in the film for more than 10 minutes in total.

In addition to the comedy vermin there are enough effective throwaway gags, including a fanatical army of dodos planning to live underground for years on three melons, to keep the film moving along at a good pace. Monsters Inc may have done the beasts with a baby routine before, but Ice Age doesn't make the mistake of trying to ape the Pixar films and stands as an original approach to computer generated animation in itself.

Despite being tagged as a kids' movie Ice Age displays a great deal more intelligence and imagination than your average blockbuster, and anyone who has seen the trailer won't be able to resist catching some more of that darned squirrel.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)