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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ice Age:The Meltdown is a sequel to Ice Age. Because of global warming, the heroes are in peril from rising waters and they are stalked by somewhat scary-looking underwater creatures. There is comic slapstick violence (the acorn-chasing muskrat is squashed, splatted, attacked by a vulture, etc.), a sad memory of a mother's death, and a flood, and the tiger's fear of water is rendered in a couple of "nightmare" images (his point of view underwater, with big music). The film includes some very mild language ("crap," "ass," "pervert").
What's the story?
In ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, the multi-species family -- fretful woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), aggressive sabertooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary), and friendly, lispy sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) -- are on the move due to global warming. Warned by a sideshow barker turtle, Fast Tony (Jay Leno), who predicts floods and devastation, they seek a legendary big-bark-boat large enough to handle hundreds of post-prehistoric creatures. Each animal has his own special role on the journey: Diego's afraid of water, Sid's trying to keep everyone's spirits up, and Manny worries he's the last of his kind. As they begin to philosophize about extinction, they meet Ellie (Queen Latifah), a pert green-eyed mammoth who thinks she's a possum. Between Ellie's delusion and various predators, Sid has his work cut out for him.
Is it any good?
Like the original film, this Ice Age sequel features appealing characters in recognizable, particularly familial situations. When Ice Age: The Meltdown runs low on plot, it cuts away to Scrat, the acorn-doting muskrat who keeps cracking ice walls and starting leaks in order to get at his prize, big eyes bulging and Wile E. Coyote-style limbs stretching. This bit was charming once and in a small dose, but might seem tedious after twice and three and four times.
For all mixing of fun and menace, the film is really about sincere, sometimes affecting, and decidedly alternative family connections.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the alternative family (here called a "herd") developed by the plucky heroes in Ice Age:The Meltdown . How do their different talents and interests help them to survive? How do they learn to support one another rather than argue or compete?
How does Sid, who shows a persistent faith in everyone's worth, become the "glue" that holds them all together?
How does the introduction of new members (Ellie and her possum brothers) temporarily disrupt the dynamic, as characters are jealous or afraid of being abandoned?
How does this movie compare to others in the series?
- In theaters: March 31, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: November 21, 2006
- Cast: Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Ray Romano
- Director: Carlos Saldanha
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Wild animals
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for some mild language and innuendo
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