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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ice Age is an animated feature aimed at young children that seems to have more than its share of scary scenes and frightening creatures. A mother drowns while trying to save her infant. Fang-toothed tigers are continually shown in close-up while on the attack. Murderous rhinos chase the earth’s most vulnerable beings. Nature’s calamities (avalanches, erupting volcanoes) are overpowering and threaten everything in their paths. Animals are depicted as killers simply for the sake of evil, rather than as a means of survival.The human tribes featured are powerless in the face of a dangerous natural world.
What's the story?
ICE AGE is a clever, funny, and touching story of an unlikely trio of animals who band together to return a human baby to his family. The story is set when glaciers covered much of the earth, 20,000 years ago. As all of the other animals migrate south in search of food, three characters are moving in the opposite direction. They are a wooly mammoth named Manny (voice of Ray Romano), a sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo), and a saber tooth tiger named Diego (Denis Leary). In classic road movie fashion, they don't like or trust each other very much at the beginning and the journey becomes a psychological one as they share experiences and confidences that make them see each other and themselves very differently.
Is it any good?
This movie is a solid choice for kids old enough to handle the cartoonish violence. It doesn't reach the level of Shrek for wit, there is no romance to keep the grown-ups happy, and the plot has no surprises. But it's told with terrific energy, imagination, visual invention, and humor and it moves along very quickly. Interestingly, the three lead voices are provided by performers who began as stand-up comics rather than actors. Their voices are edgy and distinctive, perfectly matched with their characters.
The computer animation in Ice Age is truly magnificent, from the majestic ice-covered mountains to the texture of the fur and feathers, the glint of the sun on ice, and soft sparkle of the snowflakes falling at night. The pristine settings convey a sense of vastness and promise that will make grown-up viewers pause to think about whether civilization has been all that civilized. All ages will enjoy the facial expressions, body language and -- I have to say it -- performances of the ice age mammals, so vivid and so true that you may forget that they are pixels, not people.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Manny says about members of a herd being willing to risk their lives for each other in Ice Age. Why was it so important for Manny to return the baby, even though the humans had hunted his herd? How did that help to heal some of Manny's sadness?
Why did Diego change his mind about Manny? Why did Manny change his mind about Sid? Was it because of something Sid did or because of something Manny learned about himself, or both?
What is different about the way that Diego and Manny react to human attacks?
- In theaters: March 15, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: November 26, 2002
- Cast: Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano
- Director: Chris Wedge
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: peril and mild potty humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.