Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reactions: Ice Age 2 & The Wild

The Sermon on the Mount says for Ice Age 2, "enh (somewhere between "yea, yea" and "nay, nay") but the kiddos will love it"; for The Wild, "nay, nay." If you need real reviews ask Eric D. Snider.

Have you ever heard, "Let's see if I can tie all this together..."? Folks say this because they're nice and don't want your brain to dissolve--with fair warning you can think about something more interesting. Movies, like Sunday School instructors, should warn us of impending vapidity so we don't try to make a Family Circus dotted-line hold together a pile of unconnected sketches. (Yes. I know these are cartoons for children. I love children. I love cartoons. We must preserve our standards.)

There are two flavors of this problem: (1) the "pieces" aren't interesting together or by themselves, and (2) the pieces are interesting by themselves but trying to unify them is distracting. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown makes the second mistake: it tries to be a story when it is a series of shorts. The pretenses of plot and character detract from what is interesting and funny. They should have skipped directly to the special features DVD. All the funny parts would be isolated sketches--mostly focusing on Scrat (though the possums and dancing sloths are close enough to funny to make it in). Interactive software would let you develop Scrat challenges--you could design climbing surfaces, ice slides, and other landscape features, choreograph fights, and set up rubegoldbergian sequences wherein poor sisyphean Scrat could pursue the acorn on air and land and sea. That would be cool--not for Scrat of course, but s/he's (1) been dead for ages and (2) a cartoon, so I don't feel bad about it.

Anything else...? Yes... the scatology and innuendo were more heavy-handed and less funny than in IA1 and therefore doubly obnoxious.

Tangentially... Last week we took some of the kiddos to a natural science museum. (Unsolicited wisdom: if you want to enjoy a museum, don't bring forty teenagers.) There I encountered for the first time a Megatherium or Giant Sloth. By "giant" we do not mean "substantially larger than the modern cousins" but "mondo-ginormous-huge." Sid is apparently some cladogenetic cousin of both the monster in the foyer and of the mini-Sids in Ice Age 2 (which, relative to Diego and Manny are about modern size). Sid's agent should get a raise for getting him this part despite his being a hundred times too small. Sid the fossil is taller than Manny. He wouldn't be a "nine-ton squirrel," but when you're a five-ton sloth, who cares?

In summary:
--Don't bring piles of kids to a museum if you want to enjoy it
--Cartoons are not necessarily archeologically correct
--"Tying things together" is what Boy Scouts do; story-tellers and sunday school teachers should use natural connections and avoid forcing things into shallow artificial patterns.
--IA2 was enjoyable enough. I laughed several times; so did my date. I'd probably watch it again. I think my younger siblings/nieces/nephews would enjoy it.

Disney's The Wild was a waste of time and treasure. It makes the first mistake mentioned above: no meaningfully coherent whole, no good sketches, no funny one-liners, no delightfully wacky personas. Nada. I did not laugh. I left early. I won't watch it again. There wasn't even any good eye-candy or music. I'm not even sure the kids would like it (in IA2 the kids were laughing; the only audience response we had was a crier).

1 Comments:

At April 23, 2006 7:46 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

The kids just loved IA2, as have audiences. It has been a suprise sleeper hit, so to speak. We took our own kids and friends and had a great time.

I've skipped The Wild.

 

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