We live in the age, where there are plethora of animated movies released on almost a monthly basis, and because of giants like Pixar, DreamWorks etc., there is so much content (and usually really great content), that constantly, when there are discussions about the best animated movies, Ice Age gets often forgotten. To a certain extent, I do see why, as every single Ice Age movie after this one is really aimed towards kids, so it’s playing for the laughs. With that, people frequently forget that the very first Ice Age movie was and still is a different film all together.
I’ve recently re-watched it and was pleasantly surprised how well this holds up, story wise. Even the animation isn’t bad, even though at certain scenes you can tell this was done some time ago (which is crazy, as it’s “only” been 18 years, to see how CGI has evolved since then). But the story elements is where the cookie crumbles and that is why, no other movie from this franchise compared to this one, and there have been a lot of those, can hold a candle to the original.
The main reason for its brilliance is quite simple – the movie is not afraid to have quiet moments. Ever since I’ve seen this film for the very first time, when I was much younger, there was something odd about this movie that struck me every single time, but I could never put my finger on what it was, until I’ve re-watched it now. It’s those quiet moments. Nowadays, we are so used to everything (animated movies especially) being quick, fast-paced, witty, snappy, that we often forget to take a moment. This is what Ice Age does really well – it takes a moment here and there for audience to breathe. It does not feel the need to shove “a funny joke” down our throats every 10 seconds, it has a simple, human story in the middle that captures you and you can’t help but root for all of our main characters.
One fact I’ve realised while re-watching Ice Age, it was a very different movie, not just for its time, but overall, at least when comes to animated films. Because it’s not really funny. Don’t get me wrong, there are laughs and especially children will have a great time with this movie, but it’s nowhere near almost every single animated movie ever made, that’s usually filled in with jokes. This film is more focused on the story of pack of animals trying to get a human baby back to “the people” before it’s too late. The jokes are almost extra, a delicious side with your main course.
It’s pretty strange for me to comprehend how all sequels that followed kind of lost touch with what made this film so different. Maybe it was one of those cases, where the filmmakers thought “our movie was successful because of this, this and that, therefore we need to repeat that” and they misinterpreted what made the original movie standout. Because it wasn’t just Scrat the squirrel, chasing the corn, or Sid, the dumb, yet lovable sloth. No, it was all of them together, but most importantly in a story that made sense. The sequels had to raise the stakes, but unfortunately, they (unintentionally) lowered the quality bar, because the main reason the first film works as well, it almost plays as a decent drama. Whereas higher stakes in a kids movie usually equals more comedy, because we can’t have the movie to be dark.
I would highly recommend re-watching Ice Age, especially if it’s been couple of years since you last seen the first one, and all you can remember are the other ones, that are… honestly fine. But they are heavily aimed at children, kind of like the Minions (2015), where the adults won’t get much out of those movies. But I have feeling if you were to re-watch this one, you would get a bit more from it than you think.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,