As my odds-on favorite to win Best Animated Film at this years Academy Awards, Ice Age combines a wonderful mix of breathtaking digital animation, and a wonderful story full of entertaining characters. Fox, with this film, has jumped into the upper echelon of digital animation studios, along with Disney and Dreamworks.
”Twenty thousand years ago, the Earth was being overrun by glaciers, and creatures everywhere were fleeing the onslaught of the new ICE AGE. In this time of peril, we meet the…weirdest herd of any Age: a fast-talking but dim sloth named Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo); a moody woolly mammoth named Manny (voiced by Ray Romano); a devilish saber-toothed tiger named Diego (Denis Leary); and an acorn-crazy saber-toothed squirrel known as Scrat. This quartet of misfits unexpectedly, and reluctantly, comes together in a quest to return a human infant to his father. Braving boiling lava pits, treacherous ice caves, freezing temperatures and a secret, evil plot, these “sub-zeroes” become the world’s first heroes!“ – Fox
Another Digitally Animated film… another Amazing Digital-to-Digital Transfer! Fox has come through with a wonderful 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (and 1.33:1 fullscreen) transfer. The image is pristine… with amazing use of color, no print damage, and minimal digital artifacts. It is this type of video quality that makes me salivate over the thought of High Definition DVD!
This could be the best sounding animated DVD yet! The Dolby Digital soundtrack is extremely active right from the film’s start. The soundstage is filled with sound from all angles… and the sound is nicely positioned, creating an exciting and involving surround mix. The dialog is sharp and powerful, and the bass is substantial. This is a very fun audio track!
If you like a plethora of special features, you have come to the right place. This 2-disc set is jam-packed with extras… most of which are quite valuable and entertaining. This set also includes some of the best animated menus which you should get a kick out of.
Disc one includes a feature-length audio commentary by director Chris Wedge and co-director Carlos Saldanha. The directing duo bring a lot of insight to the table. Their discussion focuses on the filmmaking techniques used, the story & characters, and why things were done the way they were. This commentary is worth a listen if you are looking to learn more about the film. Also located on the first disc is a collection of three interactive games – “Hide and Eek”, “Frozen Pairs”, and “Playing Darwin”. These games are pretty lame, but they may keep the children occupied for a few minutes.
Disc two includes a total of Six production featurettes, including topics such as: The making of Ice Age, Storyboards, Sid’s Voice Development, Developing in 3D, Character Development, Animating the Actors, Art of Effects, and more. These featurettes are very informative, and they allow you to learn everything you could ever want to know about Ice Age.
Also included are Six Deleted scenes, all of which are pretty good, but none of which will be missed in the final cut; as well as animation progression with multi-angles for three scenes, which let you see where a concept originated from, and how it was finally executed.
The two headliners of the supplements are Scrat’s Missing Adventure, and the Blue Sky Studio’ Oscar-winning animated film Bunny. Scrat’s Missing Adventure is just that… a new adventure featuring the loveable Scrat, that was not found in the film. This short is very funny, and is even presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Bunny is a more sobering animated short, but it is still very good. The animation is wonderful, the story is interesting, and the Audio & Video are very good.
Lastly, this disc contains a selection of smaller, more basic features such as Scrat’s promo slots, an international clip that showcases a medley of dubbing, trailers, teasers, design galleries, and DVD-ROM content.
This DVD is a must own! Fox has put together an amazing disc here… with outstanding video & audio, along with a mounting of extras. This film is entertaining for all ages, and this DVD will be enjoyed by all.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Three Interactive Games
- Six Featurettes
- Multi-angle animation progression
- Oscar-winning animated film Bunny
- New animated short “Scrat’s Missing Adventure”
- Scrat’s promo slots
- Design Galleries