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The One-Line Summary: In prehistoric times, as an ice age begins to settle in, a massive migration of animals travel south, including Manfred (voiced by Ray Romano), a giant Wooly Mammoth and Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) a fast talking klutzy sloth who come upon a human woman who is clinging for life at the edge of a lake and has just enough strength to lift her baby up to Manny before disappearing in the water, leaving he, Sid and an unexpected ally in Diego (voiced by Denis Leary), a saber-toothed tiger who was meant to kill the child, to find the boy’s family and survive the coming cold.
The Two-Line Blurb: Produced by 2oth Century Fox and kick-starting a franchise that is still going strong, Ice Age is perhaps best known for the introduction of Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge), a pernicious saber-toothed squirrel who causes untold damage as he desperately tries to gather a single acorn always just out of his reach, though there is a lot more to like about this unexpectedly charming and even touching family film. The relationships between the three leads are wonderfully written and well-animated with some truly funny moments by all, though Sid is a scene stealer (and clearly inspiration for Olaf in Disney’s, 2013) while Diego has the biggest and most memorable character arch.
The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is about family and accepting one’s role in that bond and begins with Manny and Sid carrying the baby to the human settlement and finding it deserted. Diego arrives and slyly convinces the mammoth and the sloth that he is on their side and will track the humans for them, though he is actually setting them on a path to an ambush where his pride’s leader, Soto (voiced by Goran Visnjic) wants to take revenge on the humans by eating the baby. Naturally, as Diego spends more time with the misfits, and is rescued from a terrible fall and slips under the spell of the little boy’s love, things begin to change.
The Four-Line Moment: As they approach the ambush. Diego finally confesses to his new friends the trap that is set, but tells them to trust him, which doesn’t go over well. But then, when Soto and his two fellow tigers are ready to pounce, Diego attacks his own pride and a short fight leaves him wounded. Soto’s gang turn back to Manny, looking to attack, and Soto begins his strike, Diego leaps between him and Manny, sacrificing himself, and giving the mammoth time to defeat Soto. When it’s over and Diego lies gasping for life in the snow, Manny, Sid, and the baby loom in shock and sadness, and then admiration when Diego tells them he did what he did because that’s what you do in a herd, echoing a sentiment he learned from his friends back when it was his turn to be saved.
The Five-Word Review: The best in the series.