Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Insomniac Movie Review: Ice Age 2

Title: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
MPAA Rating: PG, for some mild language and innuendo (in other words, somebody says "Da-yum!")

So we took my two daughters, ages four and not-quite-two, to see this Monday night. The baby? Didn't care about it. She was not riveted. She was not amazingly silent for previously unheard of lengths of time. She did get excited when the film began to roll, but after a while she got antsy and fussy and had to be walked around. So to those of you parents who have a child this age: take the child to the theater well before bedtime, or you will have an upleasant experience.

Gina, on the other hand, was very interested. She was able to discern what was going on some of the time, and tell us about it. Trouble is, she wanted to tell us while the movie was still playing, so we had to shush her. Not a big deal, but then when the audience started laughing at something, she turned around and started shushing all of them. "You need to be quiet, peoples."

There were enough jokes in there to tickle the adults. Bizarro Dad has been repeating them ever since. So you won't be bored, Mom and Dad. Unless you're already boring, in which case, liven up a little!

This movie is worth taking your kids to. Now, if you don't want to be spoiled or read about the controversy that has started around this movie, read no further.

Still with me? Great!

There have been some who object to the death of an animal being shown on screen in this movie. Actually, that's probably not quite how they phrased it, which is good, because that's not quite what happened on the screen, either.

An animal did in fact die. It was eaten. It was not, however, shown being eaten. Here is the scene: Surface of the water is on screen. Turtle is in the water. Turtle is suddenly dragged down, but camera stays with surface of water. A few seconds pass. Turtle shell comes back up. There is no turtle in the turtle shell. There is no blood. There are no bones (unless you count the shell). You don't see ANYTHING. You just know that the turtle was eaten by the two crocodile-like reptiles released into the water a few scenes earlier in the movie.

People are objecting to this! They're pitching fits! My thinking is, any kid who watches Animal Planet or a nature show on PBS has already seen the real thing, and I can guarantee that they saw blood, guts, and very sharp teeth. And if my four-year-old, who is highly sensitive, didn't care, it probably won't be much of a problem for your four-year-old, either. Furthermore, do you really want your kid to see a movie where crocs DON'T eat an animal, but leave it alone because it's all cute? That's fine for puppets, but what happens when you take your kid to the zoo and they think it'll be okay if they climb the fence into the crocodile enclosure? Don't worry, Mommy, it won't get me because I'm cute! Whatever.

Even from a storytelling perspective, it is important that the audience be shown that the reptiles in question are in fact dangerous. Why leave it to the last two scenes to show that they mean business? That's not how you create suspence. That's not how you set up a good story.

Now, the Scrat. This is my only complaint about the movie, really: too much Scrat. I know, he proves to be important, but the thing is, if you don't know that, it just seems like the director used a bunch of Scrat scenes as filler. Most of the time, it seems to halt the rest of the story.

Conclusion: Take the kids, you'll have some fun right along with them.

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