Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006)

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Released 20-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Short Film-"No Time For Nuts"
Audio Commentary-Director - Carlos Saldanha
Featurette-Cool Stuff-Crash & Eddy Stunts, Meets Crash & Eddy, Meet Ell
Outtakes-Prank
Featurette-Silly Sid With John Leguizamo, Sloth Dancing To Sid's Sing-a
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Meet The Modeler
Music Video-"Real Love" Lee Ryan
Featurette-Smackdown Sound Effects Lab, Breaking Story, News Report
Featurette-Lost Historical Films, Scrat: From Head To Toe
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Fox Music Channel Presents "Making A Scene"
Audio Commentary-Technical Crew
Web Links
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 86:52 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (43:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Carlos Saldanha
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Ray Romano
Andrew Bowen
Grey DeLisle
Jess Harnell
Queen Latifah
Denis Leary
John Leguizamo
Jay Leno
Case ?
RPI $34.00 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Making a sequel to a big hit film seems like a great idea from a money making perspective. Actually, it's generally an excellent idea from that perspective. Unfortunately, not all sequels are up to their predecessors from a quality perspective. Some are better (although very few), most are weaker but still decent and some are simply diabolical. This one falls into the middle category, weaker but still a decent film. This one is really missing the freshness of the original and the plot is not as interesting or well developed. Despite that it still has some great ingredients including the cast of wonderful characters from the first film, some amusing new ones, excellent animation and some good jokes. Of course, two of our favourite ingredients from the first film, Scrat and his acorn, are back. If you wish to refer back to reviews of the previous film, here is the original review and my review of the Extreme Cool Edition.  

    This time around our band of intrepid friends Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Sabre Toothed Tiger and Sid the Sloth have settled into living in a valley surrounded by huge ice walls. It soon becomes evident that their relaxed life cannot continue as the end of the ice age is upon them and the ice is starting to melt. Their valley will be flooded soon and they head off with the other residents of the valley towards a boat which they have been told can be found at the other end of the valley. Along the way they have various adventures and meet a family of possums, Crash & Eddie and their sister Ellie. The strange thing about Ellie is that she is not really a possum but thinks she is. She is actually a female mammoth but was brought up by a family of possums. Manny has little patience for her antics but Sid decides to invite her and her brothers to travel with them as Sid is concerned that Manny doesn't have a family.

    This film features more of Scrat than the first one did and he is more closely related to the story. He is always entertaining although I think it highlights how light the plot is. The story here is a little darker than the first film and a couple of points in the film may scare younger viewers as evidenced by my 3 and a half year old running screaming from the room at one point. This film does not have quite the same quality of great jokes and set pieces which were included in the first film. It certainly does not contain anything nearing the quality of the sequence involving the dodos from Ice Age. They are some comments in the commentaries about this film being done on a very accelerated timeframe which I think may have lead to this drop in quality.

    On a  more positive note, the possum brothers are quite amusing in a Jackass sort of way and another new character, Fast Tony (Jay Leno), is also a good addition. Interestingly, there are a couple of big song and dance numbers included in this film with one of the highlights being a song involving vultures. From a technical perspective the animation here is quite stunning. Despite the fact that the fur and feathers in the previous film were incredibly detailed for the time, a huge leap forward has been made here with all the characters looking even better than before. One thing which I did find slightly off-putting was that Diego seems to have changed colour somewhat.

    Overall, this is not a bad film but it is a little disappointing when compared to the original Ice Age.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very sharp and clear with the detail in fur and feathers being quite amazing. There was no evidence of low level noise. I did notice some very minor macro-blocking in the sky at 48:40 but this is a very minor issue.

    The colour is excellent, bright and very vivid.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. They were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word. However, they were positioned a little too high on the picture and tended to get in the way of the action.

    The layer change occurs at 43:51 and was not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Some dialogue was a little quiet and was sometimes overwhelmed by other sounds.

    The score by John Powell is very good but perhaps a little over the top for the target audience. The scarier sequences in this film were accompanied by music which evoked very effective fear and dread causing my three year old to run out of the room before anything even happened. This heightened the darker nature of the film compared to the first.

    The surround speakers were well used throughout for sounds of ice cracking and falling, the song and dance numbers and lots of atmosphere and some other surround effects.

     The subwoofer was also well used for mammoth footfalls, cracking and falling ice and other thumps and bumps plus the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A big collection of extras are included.

Menu

    The menu was preceded by an anti-piracy warning (skippable thankfully) and a few trailers for other kids films. Once you get to the menu it's a pretty flashy affair with lots of motion, sound effects, dialogue and a cool design.

No Time for Nuts (6:52)

    This is an animated short featuring Scrat which is amusing and an excellent extra. He finds a time machine and then travels through time chasing his acorn. Great stuff.

Commentary - Director Carlos Saldanha

    A reasonably interesting commentary in which he discusses the development process, the short timelines, re-furring of the characters, art direction, the characters themselves, technical challenges, the villains, physical comedy, story elements, music and other topics. He sometimes spends a bit too long describing what's going on in the scene but he has some worthwhile things to say.

Commentary - Technical Crew

    This commentary includes a cast of thousands including the producer & people from art direction, materials, production supervision, effects, lighting, animation and story. This is another decent quality commentary which obviously has more of a technical focus however they also find time to point out logic gaps in the story and problems with physics which can be quite amusing. Worth listening to.

Crash & Eddie Stunts (1:01)

    Extra scenes of Crash & Eddie doing stunts which are quite amusing and worth watching. They are 16x9 enhanced. The three scenes are Lava Leap, Dungball Dribble & Peace Out Duel.

Meet Crash & Eddie (2:04)

    Promo style featurette which introduces the characters and features interviews with the crew.

Meet Ellie (2:06)

    As above but for the new Mammoth.

Outtake Prank (0:17)

    Another funny Crash & Eddie piece. Non 16x9 enhanced.

Silly Sid with John Leguizamo (6:57)

    Featurette about how the character is drawn with the animator and then a section about John Leguizamo's voiceover work. Not bad.

Sloth Dancing to Sid's Sing-a-long (4:26)

    John Leguizamo teaches us how to do Sid's dance sequence from the movie. Fun for the kiddies.

Meet the Modeler (7:50)

    Featurette about making the models upon which the animated characters are based. OK.

Music Video : Lee Ryan 'Real Love' (3:15)

    Not my cup of tea. Very pop. Non 16x9 enhanced.

Smackdown Sound Effects Lab

    The sub-menu features one sequence from the film with five sets of sound effects to show what effect they have. The sequence involves Scrat fighting fish for his acorn. Fun stuff. The different versions are

Breaking Story (1:50)

    Joke trailer involving Scrat and a bogus news story. Non 16x9 enhanced.

News Report (2:30)

    Same idea as above but longer. Non 16x9 enhanced.

Lost Historical Films

    Short black & white films about the actual animals which are included in the film. They includes scenes from the film and some facts. OK but nothing special. Included are

Scrat from Head to Toe (8:24)

    Featurette on Scrat including how to draw him with the animator, how he was animated, the research into the animal and his voice.

Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene (9:21)

    4x3. Making of featurette for the scene involving Scrat fighting off the fish. Not bad.

Trailer

    Garfield 2

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Region 4 release (when compared to Region 1) misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    These extras differences probably even out when compared and I would probably go for the local release but it's too tight to call. The local extras are probably better for older kids and adults but the Region 1 extras, especially the games, are probably better for the little kids. There is also a Blu-Ray version available in the US.

Summary

    A slightly disappointing follow-up to the first Ice Age.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A large array of extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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