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Ice Age (2002 film)

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Ice Age
Ice Age (2002 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Wedge
Produced by Lori Forte
Screenplay by Michael Berg
Michael J. Wilson
Peter Ackerman
Story by Michael J. Wilson
Starring Ray Romano
John Leguizamo
Denis Leary
Music by David Newman
Edited by John Carnochan
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 15, 2002 (2002-03-15)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $59 million[1]
Box office $383.3 million

Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated buddy comedy-drama road film directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha from a story by Michael J. Wilson. Produced by Blue Sky Studios as its first feature film, it was released by 20th Century Fox on March 15, 2002. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Chris Wedge.

The film is set during the days of the ice age; animals begin migrating south to escape the winters. Once Manny, a no-nonsense wooly mammoth meets Sid, a loudmouthed ground sloth and the two find a human baby, they set out to return the baby. Joining them is a saber-tooth tiger named Diego, who is commanded by his pack leader to bring the baby to him to enact revenge against the humans.

This film was met with mostly positive reviews and was nominated at the 75th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. It was a box office success by grossing over $383 million, starting the Ice Age franchise. It was followed by four sequels, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009, Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012, and Ice Age: Collision Course in 2016.

Plot

A saber-toothed squirrel (known as Scrat) is trying to find a place to store his prized acorn. Eventually, as he tries to stomp it into the ground, he causes a large crack in the ground that extends for miles and miles and sets off a large avalanche. He barely escapes, but finds himself stepped on by a herd of prehistoric animals. The animals are trying to avoid the ice age by migrating south. Sid, a clumsy ground sloth left behind by his family, decides to move on by himself but is attacked by two Brontops whom he angered by ruining their meal. Sid is soon saved by Manfred "Manny", an agitated woolly mammoth who fights them off and is heading north. Not wanting to be alone and unprotected, Sid follows Manny. Meanwhile, Soto, the leader of a saber-toothed cat pack, wants revenge on a group of humans for killing half of his pack, by eating the chief's baby son, Roshan,[2] alive. Soto leads a raid on the human camp, during which Roshan's mother is separated from the rest and jumps down a waterfall when cornered by Soto's lieutenant, Diego. For his failure, Diego is sent to find and retrieve the baby.

Later, Sid and Manny spot Roshan and his mother near the lake, having survived her plunge. The mother only has enough strength to entrust her baby to Manny before she disappears into the water. After much persuasion by Sid, they decide to return Roshan, but when they reach the human settlement, they find it deserted. They meet up with Diego, who convinces the pair to let him help by tracking the humans. The four travel on, with Diego secretly leading them to his pack for an ambush.

After encountering several misadventures on their way, they reach a cave with several cave paintings made by humans. There Sid and Diego learn about Manny's past and his previous interactions with the human hunters, in which his wife and child were killed, leaving Manny a depressed loner. Later, Manny, Sid, Diego and Roshan almost reach their destination—Half-Peak, but encounter a river of lava. Manny and Sid, along with Roshan, make it across safely, but Diego freezes, about to fall into the lava. Manny saves him, narrowly missing certain death by falling into the lava himself. The herd takes a break for the night, and Roshan takes his first walking steps towards Diego, who starts to change his mind about his mission.

The next day, the herd approaches the ambush, causing Diego—now full of respect for Manny for saving his life—to change his mind and confess to Manny and Sid about the ambush. As the pair turn hostile towards him, Diego asks for their trust, and tries to foil the attack. The herd battles Soto's pack, but despite their efforts, Soto's associates manage to corner Manny. As Soto closes in for the kill on Manny, Diego sacrifices himself by jumping in the way and is injured as a result. Manny then knocks a distracted Soto into a rock wall, causing several sharp icicles to fall onto Soto, killing him. Horrified, the rest of the pack retreat. Manny and Sid mourn for Diego's injury, which they believe is fatal, and continue their journey without him.

Soon, Manny and Sid manage to return Roshan to his tribe, and to their surprise, Diego manages to rejoin them, in time to see the baby leave. The group then begin to head off to warmer climates.

20,000 years later, Scrat, frozen in ice, ends up on the shores of a tropical island. As the ice slowly melts, the acorn is washed away. Scrat then finds a coconut and tries stomp it into the ground, only to mistakenly trigger a volcanic eruption.

Cast

The characters are all prehistoric animals. The animals can talk to and understand each other and are voiced by a variety of famous actors. Like many films of prehistoric life, the rules of time periods apply very loosely, as many of the species shown in the film never actually lived in the same time periods or the same geographic regions.

Production

Development

Ice Age was originally created and developed by writer Michael J. Wilson. He took the package unsolicited to 20th Century Fox where he became the first of several screenwriters on the project.[3] Blue Sky Studios got the opportunity with the Ice Age script to turn it into a computer animated film. Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha took over as the directors. The drama was also dropped from the film because Fox would only accept it as a comedy. However, the drama was kept in a notable element, making the film more as a dramedy.[4]

For research, the film's development team took several trips to the Museum of Natural History early on in production in order to make sure that the film authentically felt like the Ice Age.[5] Ultimately, the team translated the information that they had compiled in their research by stylizing it in order to fit with the film's story.[6]

Writing and character development

Michael J. Wilson stated on his blog that his daughter Flora came up with the idea for an animal that was a mixture of both squirrel and rat, naming it Scrat, and that the animal was obsessed with pursuing his acorn.[7] The plan to have Scrat talk was quickly dropped, as he worked better as a silent character for comedic effect. The name 'Scrat' is a combination of the words 'squirrel' and 'rat', as Scrat has characteristics of both species; Wedge has also called him "saber-toothed squirrel." Scrat's opening adventure was inserted because, without it, the first real snow and ice sequence wouldn't take place until about 37 minutes into the film. This was the only role intended for Scrat, but he proved to be such a popular character with test audiences that he was given more scenes. The filmmakers made it so that many of the scenes with Scrat appear directly after dramatic moments in the film.

In a 2012 interview with Jay Leno, Denis Leary revealed that his character, Diego the Sabertooth Tiger, originally died near the end of the film. However, it was reported that kids in the test audience bursted into tears when his death was shown. Leary himself warned the producers that something like this would happen. When it was proven true, the scene was re-written to ensure Diego survived.

Originally, Sid the sloth was supposed to be a con-artist and a hustler, and there was even finished scene of the character conning some aardvark kids. His character was later changed to a talkative-clumsy sloth because the team felt the audience would have hated him. There was also an alternate scene of Sid in the hottub with the ladies which shows him saying to them "Let's jump in the gene pool and see what happens." One of the female sloths then kicks him in the groin. This was cut because it was not suitable for children and may have gotten the film a PG-13 rating. Other innuendos with Sid were also cut from the film. Sid was also supposed to have a female sloth named Sylvia (voiced by Kristen Johnston) chasing after him, whom he despised and kept ditching. All the removed scenes can be seen on the DVD.

The fat saber-tooth cat named Lenny was actually described as a scimitar cat in the film's Essential Guide book.

Voice casting

The voice talents in Ice Age were encouraged to make up their own dialogue during recording. Several lines in the film were improvised by the actors.[8]

For Manny the Mammoth, the studio was initially looking at people with big voices.[9] James Earl Jones and Ving Rhames were considered, but they sounded too obvious and Wedge wanted more comedy.[10][11] Instead, the role was given to Ray Romano because they thought his voice sounded very elephant-like. Wedge described Romano's voice as "deep and his delivery is kind of slow, but he's also got a sarcastic wit behind it."[11]

John Leguizamo, who provided the voice for Sid the Sloth, experimented with over 40 voices for the character, including a slower-sounding voice to fit with the lazy nature of a giant sloth. Leguizamo came up with the final voice for the character after watching footage of sloths and learning that they store food in the pockets of their mouths which ferments over time.[12]

Music

The official CD soundtrack to Ice Age was released on May 14, 2002. The soundtrack consists of the original musical score composed for the film by David Newman and performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony. The song "Send Me On My Way" and the ending credits are absent from the album.[13]

Tracks
  • Opening Travel Music (1:17)
  • Angered Rhinos (2:14)
  • Humans/Diego (1:43)
  • Tigers Going for Baby (3:12)
  • Dodos (0:42)
  • Fighting Over the Melons (2:01)
  • Walking Through (1:25)
  • Baby's Wild Ride (1:56)
  • Checking Out the Cave (3:43)
  • Running from the Lava (2:27)
  • Baby Walks (1:34)
  • Tigers Try to Get Baby (5:41)
  • Giving Back the Baby (6:26)

Reception

Box office

Ice Age was released on March 15, 2002, and had a $46.3 million opening weekend, a large number not usually seen until the summer season, and way ahead of Fox's most optimistic projection of about $30 million. Ice Age broke the record for a March opening (later surpassed in 2006 by its sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown) and at the time was the third-best opening ever for an animated feature—after Monsters, Inc. ($62.6 million) and Toy Story 2 ($57.4 million).[14] Ice Age finished its domestic box office run with $176,387,405 and grossed $383,257,136 worldwide, being the 9th highest gross of 2002 in North America and the 8th best worldwide at the time.[15]

Critical reaction

Ice Age was met with generally positive reviews from critics (making it the best reviewed film of its later existing franchise); Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 77% approval rating, based on 164 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own."[16] Similar site Metacritic had a score of 60% out of 31 reviews.[17] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and wrote "I came to scoff and stayed to smile". Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times called the film a "blandly likeable computeranimation extravaganza", comparing the film's plot to the Western film 3 Godfathers.[18]

CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Ice Age an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[19]

Accolades

Ice Age was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Spirited Away.[20]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home media

The initial home video release for Ice Age was accompanied by an $85 million marketing campaign involving promotional partnerships with 14 different companies,[22] including Microsoft, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr., Dole, Langer’s, Valpak, Cold Stone Creamery, and the National Hockey League.[23] The movie was released on 2-disc DVD, VHS and D-Theater[24] on November 26, 2002. Both releases included a short film Gone Nutty, featuring Scrat from the film.[25] Another single disc release was released February 5th, 2005,[26] and the next year a new 2 disc release with extra features on March 14th, 2006.[27] The film was released on Blu-ray on March 4, 2008, and beside Gone Nutty, it included 9 minutes of deleted scenes.[28]

Video game

A video game tie-in was published by Ubisoft for the Game Boy Advance, and received poor reviews.[29][30]

Sequels

Ice Age later received four sequels:

  • The first sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown was released on March 31, 2006. The film focuses on the melting of a dam (due to, as Sid puts it at the end of the first film, global warming) and the impending flood.
  • The second sequel, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was released on July 1, 2009. The film focuses on the herd finding dinosaurs being discovered underground.
  • The third sequel, Ice Age: Continental Drift was released on July 13, 2012. The film focuses on the continental drift on Earth.
  • The fourth sequel, Ice Age: Collision Course was released on July 22, 2016.[31] The film focuses on a very deadly meteor coming to Earth.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ice Age (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  2. ^ a b Tara Strong. "Tara Strong official website". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  3. ^ "20th Century Fox Press Kit - Ice Age". 
  4. ^ Donkin, John C. (March 12, 2002). "Coming Out of the Ice Age". Animation World Network. Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ The Making of Ice Age: (Video) (DVD). 20th Century Fox. November 26, 2002. Event occurs at 0:35. At the very beginning, I wanted for at least the look of the film to be as authentic as it could, so we did a lot of research early on and we took trips to the Museum of Natural History. 
  6. ^ The Making of Ice Age: (Video) (DVD). 20th Century Fox. November 26, 2002. Event occurs at 1:00. What we ended up doing was stylizing quite a bit- we took what we had learned in our research, and we just kinda styled it up to suit our story. 
  7. ^ Ice Age: The Story Behind the Story (from the writer Michael J. Wilson), News from the Soo Theatre, Inc. Retrieved April 2nd, 2017.
  8. ^ The Making of Ice Age: Acting in Animation (Video) (DVD). 20th Century Fox. November 26, 2002. Event occurs at 6:03. Our actors were encouraged to do as much writing as they wanted to- a lot of that stuff is in the movie. 
  9. ^ Fine, Marshall (March 20, 2002). "Animation star of 'Ice Age,' Romano says". Gannett News Service. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (March 9, 2002). "'Ice Age" natural". The Morning Call. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (May 15, 2002). "Ice Age's Ray of Light". TV Guide. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ https://movieweb.com/john-leguizamo-talks-ice-age-the-meltdown/
  13. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/ice-age-original-motion-picture-soundtrack-mw0000659818
  14. ^ "Ice Age enjoys mammoth opening weekend". Entertainment Weekly. 2002-03-18. 
  15. ^ "Ice Age (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  16. ^ "Ice Age (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Ice Age". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  18. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (March 15, 2002). "Movie Review; Woolly Mammoths and Tigers and Sloths, Oh My!". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  19. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ "The 75th Academy Awards (2003) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. March 23, 2003. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  22. ^ Cella, Catherine (August 24, 2002). "Kid Vid (& DVD): Santa Wraps Dolls And Monsters, Dogs And Rugrats And Beastly Gifts". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved January 6, 2018. 
  23. ^ Villa, Joan (October 10, 2002). "Ice Age Chisels Mammoth Campaign in Q4". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  24. ^ Netherby, Jennifer (November 3, 2002). "High def, Spanish vids set to heat up 'Ice Age'". Variety. Archived from the original on January 14, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2017. 
  25. ^ Fretts, Bruce (November 29, 2002). "Ice Age Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ Saldanha, Carlos; Wedge, Chris (2005-02-08), Ice Age, 20th Century Fox, retrieved 2017-12-07 
  27. ^ Saldanha, Carlos; Wedge, Chris (2006-03-14), Ice Age - Super Cool Edition, 20th Century Fox, retrieved 2017-12-07 
  28. ^ "Ice Age (Blu-ray)". High-Def Digest. March 14, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Ice Age (gba) reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  30. ^ "Ice Age for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  31. ^ "Ice Age 5 Set for July 15, 2016, Anubis Moves to 2018". ComingSoon.net. December 20, 2013. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 

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