Ice Age – Super Cool Edition
Sound: C+ Extras: B- Feature: C+
You have to give Fox credit. They did not have Pixar and PDI to create a CG animated feature
film, but forged ahead and came up with a moderate hit with Ice Age in
2002. It is a feature that has the
advantage of silent moments that communicate comedy in the best tradition of
animation that is more than just animated radio like so many bad productions. This does not mean it is a masterwork, as it
has some narrative problems and repetition, but it holds up well enough and
continues to be a home video favorite enough for Fox to issue this new Super
Cool Edition set.
The story involves a group of animals trying to survive
literally in the era of the Ice Age.
Faster that you can say evolution, their misadventures do add up to some
amusing moments, but the short 81 minutes as a whole are not used as wisely as
they could be. Still, it is different
and interesting enough to continue to win over young fans and the animation is
not bad. Even when it is not the most
detailed, its style and the idea of depth and distance in the frame set it
apart from the other features produced in CG.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is a little
softer than expected, but besides and limits form the transfer and original
source, even with the style considered, the real culprit in this case is that
like Disney’s recent 2-DVD set of Lady & The Tramp, the widescreen
edition is made to share space on the same DVD with a chopped up pan & scan
edition. Add the audio commentary track
by the directors and a fun feature where you can see deleted scenes when an
acorn pops up on the screen, well, this is going to cut into the fidelity and
performance. When the Blu-ray version
comes out, this will be more apparent.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not as good as this sounded
in the theater and dialogue is too much in the center channel, while surrounds
do not deliver the soundfield they should.
Too bad this is not in DTS, but then so much is on DVD 1, what can you
do. The combination is a bit
disappointing, but playback is still above average overall. DVD 2 has the rest of the extras including
Extreme Cool View version of Ice Age, featuring "Scrat's Frozen Fun
Facts" and behind-the-scenes clips from the Filmmakers and Natural History
Experts, "Sid on Sid" Scene-Specific Commentary by John Leguizamo as
Sid, "Behind the Scenes of Ice Age" HBO special, Gone
Nutty - Scrat's Missing Adventure animated short, award-winning Bunny
(1998) animated short with introduction by director Chris Wedge, 3 Multi-Angle
Animation Progressions, 6 Production Featurettes: Making a character, Art
of Rigging, Animators Acting, Art of Effects, Lighting and
Materials, Sid Voice Development Featurette, Using 2D in a 3D World featurette,
Scrat's Promo Spots, International (Multi-Language) Clip, Design Galleries, Set
Top Games: "Cave In," "Rock, Paper, Scissors,"
"Playing Darwin," "Hide and Eek," "Frozen Pairs"
+ DVD ROM Games: Super Dodo Ball, Sid Shreds + DVD ROM Printables (total of 6):
Snowflake Flurry (Ornaments), Ice Digest (Magazine), 12 Month Migration
Calendar, Hanging with the Herd Mobile, Sub-Zero Heroes Adventure Board game,
Icebox Theater, Trailers for the film and a new Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
trailer. That new film is taking
advantage of advances in CG and could be even more fun.
Finally, points to Fox for a very clever move in
packaging. The DVD case is in a
translucent cool blue plastic that is perfect for this set. I hope we see this kind of thing more often.
- Nicholas Sheffo