The original Ice Age (2002) was clever, cute, and above all entertaining. Ice Age: the Meltdown is not as clever, not as cute and, not surprisingly, not as entertaining. As with most sequels, this movie delivers very similar material with a diminished effect. It's not that Meltdown is a bad movie, it's just average.
The problem with animated movies is finding that delicate balance in the audience for crossover appeal. This can be achieved through a number of means but visual style, a good script, and great voice actors are key. Meltdown is visually impressive, although it's nothing more nor less than what we've seen from this and other CG animation studios recently.
The plot is simple: those creatures who survived the ice age are living in a large basin, surrounded by, you guessed it, ice. As the ice begins to melt, the creatures move toward a "boat" perched high atop a rock, a few days away. Along the way, Manny and the "herd" meet a mamoth who, having been raised by possums, believes she is a possum. They quarrel, the herd is separated at various times for various reasons, and we learn a little more about each of the main characters along the way.
There are a few visual gags to be gained from a mamoth clinging to a tree by her tail, but these get old pretty fast, the remaining humour is largely inoffensive. As with the original, Skrat (the prehistoric squirrel) breaks the tension with comic releif in his pursuit of the almighty acorn. There are also two villains in the movie -- underwater prehistoric predators who are just plain mean.
Overall, Meltdown is suitable for kids, especially a younger audience, but may have been more suited for a direct-to-DVD release.
tags: Movie review, Ice Age: Meltdown, Ice Age, animation