New 'Ice Age' DVD mostly lives up to its 'Super Cool' title
Ice Age: Super Cool Edition (PG) Movie: **** (out of 5) DVD Experience:***** (out of 5) Starring Ray Romano as Manny John Leguizamo as Sid Denis Leary as Diego Goran Visnjic as Soto Jack Black as Zeke Cedric the Entertainer as Carl Studio: 20th C...
Ice Age: Super Cool Edition
Movie: **** (out of 5)
DVD Experience:***** (out of 5)
Ray Romano as Manny
John Leguizamo as Sid
Denis Leary as Diego
Goran Visnjic as Soto
Jack Black as Zeke
Cedric the Entertainer as Carl
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Chris Wedge
By KEVIN CARR
As many studios do with a sequel coming out, 20th Century Fox has released a special edition of the original "Ice Age" film. And, like studios also often do, they released it with a whole new slate of special features.
This new DVD release of "Ice Age" has been dubbed the "Super-Cool Edition," and for the most part it lives up to that title.
"Ice Age" hit the screens in 2002 when CGI animated movies were still taking hold and hadn't quite replaced traditional cell animation. It was a cute film in its own right, and the character that is most to thank for this is the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat that most of us remember from the previews.
Starring Ray Romano as a mammoth, John Leguizamo as a sloth and Denis Leary as a saber-toothed cat, the film held strong the kids-movie traditions of talking animals. The story follows Manny the mammoth and Sid the sloth as they try to return a baby human to its family. Along for the ride is Diego the saber-toothed cat, who actually had a hand in the kid's separation.
Diego tries to lure them to an ambush where his pride can take the child and eat the mammoth. However, as the trio travel south to escape the impending ice age, Diego finds his new friends are more loyal than those in his original pack.
Like many animated films, the voice cast fits the characters perfectly. Romano's droll delivery seems custom-fit for a mammoth, and Leary's snarky attitude fits perfectly into the role of a distressed cat.
Even Leguizamo, who chose a less-obvious alternative for Sid's voice, fits very well into the mix.
The story is touching and has plenty in it for both adults and children to like. There are tender moments, especially when Manny recalls the reasons he is wandering alone. There are also intense moments, often featuring the villainous pack of saber-toothed cats.
This original movie has a much stronger plot than its sequel, which is currently out in the theaters. It also displays some slick choices in animation, often moving to a more stylized angular look rather than the expected photorealistic look. It wouldn't work in all movies, but it does well here.
The new DVD contains both the widescreen and fullscreen version of the film on the first disc. There's also feature-length commentary by director Chris Wedge and (uncredited) co-director Carlos Saldanha. The neatest feature on the first disc is the "Nutty Movie Mode," which allows you to jump into deleted scenes while watching the movie.
This technique is something I've always liked on a DVD because it allows you to see the scenes in the full context of the film. If you want further insight, you can watch them separately with commentary by Chris Wedge.
The second disc contains a glut of special features and behind-the-scenes action. In addition to the original trailers (and a new one for "Ice Age 2"), there's an extra Scrat adventure along with promo spots with the scene-stealing squirrel.
Leguizamo lends his voice to in-character scene-specific commentary and also is the subject of a featurette showing how he developed Sid's voice.
Other features include six interactive games, an HBO special, 3-angle animation studies, six promotional featurettes, a multi-language clip demonstrating international release, DVD-ROM activities and more.
However, the best part of disc two is the "Extreme Cool View" of the film. This is a segmented journey through the film as it plays in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
Along with the film, trivia notes appear on the bottom left while filmmaker interview play in the bottom right. It's not the way to watch the movie for the first time, but it provides a fresh perspective to the film with additional information and a nice alternative to the standard commentary.
If you (or your kids) just saw the new film in the theaters and want to relive the first movie, "Ice Age: Super-Cool Edition" is a good bet. And, because it's a new release of an older film, you can usually find a pretty good deal on it.
Specifications: Dolby Digital Sound. Fullscreen (1.33:1) and widescreen (1.85:1) versions. French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.
Kevin Carr is an independent writer, journalist and filmmaker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.