20 Years Later: Ice Age

Words: Kieran Burt
Monday 21 March 2022
reading time: min, words

Two decades later, has Ice Age aged well? Absolutely...


Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary
Running time: 81 minutes

Before Disney took over and shut down Blue Sky Studios, they were the true rival to Pixar, and a great film to demonstrate this point is the first Ice Age - with its heart and humour, it appeals to both adults and children alike, becoming an iconic flick in the process.  

The relatability of Ice Age’s characters is what continues to make it appealing to all generations. Many adults will no doubt identify with Manny (Ray Romano), the mammoth with a tough exterior who wants to finish the job so he will be left alone - but someone who learns the value of friendship after spending time with Denis Leary’s Diego and John Leguizamo’s Sid. 

The latter serves as the child’s viewpoint, becoming the character they will most likely identify with. While undoubtedly irritating at times, Sid does also have some funny moments, and provides the easy, slapstick humour that every kid is bound to enjoy. Diego, on the other hand, has a surprisingly strong character arc, learning the difference between a pack (merely a group of animals staying together) and a herd (a group of animals looking out for one another and working together).

Even twenty years later, this remains fun, sweet, and definitely worth a watch

There is also a sweet but subtle romance hidden in the film - between the adorable Scrat and his unattainable acorn. In hilarious interludes spread throughout the movie, the squirrel shows just how far he is willing to go to be with his precious nut, and his antics are still hysterical all these years later. 

While the plot isn’t anything complicated or revolutionary, it does pack a decent amount of the aforementioned heart. It also benefits from the fact there wasn’t an oversaturated market for this type of film back in 2002. The animation remains pleasant to look at even two decades later, and even surpasses the animation style in the recent Disney Ice Age film - which is mind-boggling. While the sequels would go on to introduce new characters and whole new worlds to explore, the simplicity of this one is easier to appreciate. 

Overall, Ice Age sits up there with Toy Story, Shrek, WALL-E and a select few other kids’ films that break through their primary audience of youngsters and appeal to the adults who put it on to keep their children entertained. Even twenty years later, it remains fun, sweet, and definitely worth a watch. 

Did you know? All the actors were encouraged to improvise as much as possible to help keep the animation spontaneous.

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