Nicely done, Blue Sky folks. Nicely done, indeed!
Since I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the blah-ness of most big budget CG production design, I have to say that Ice Age 2 is a wonderful piece of animation design in action. For my money this is the BEST looking production design in a CG feature film yet. The style is beautiful, it frames the characters great, the shapes are appealing and fun, the colors are imaginative- I just LOVE the look of this thing.
And the animation is just fantastic. I mean really, really sweet. Great timing, really fun poses and patterns, well done gags and the individual personalities of the primary characters show up in the motion. The style of motion maintains that fun cartoony feel that was established in the original Ice Age, but the execution shows an overall maturation of form that’s down right impressive. The animation in Ice Age 2 is easily among the best done in a CG animated film yet. Again, huge congrats to you kids up there in Whiteplains.
Sadly the story is nowhere near the same level of excellence as the artistry and craftsmanship of the production artists. It just didn’t really grab you and move you. The gags carried the film and the use of Scrat as a story mnemonic was wearing a bit thin by the end. As a character Diego felt tacked on, like they didn’t know what to do with him. The original Ice Age had that very touching and heartfelt scene where Manny reminisces about the loss of his family, but nothing in this film had that same level of heart and warmth. It seems like they tried, like they hit all the dots in an effort to make them connect and draw a picture for you, but somehow it just didn’t come together. That’s the one spot where Blue Sky needs to improve the most- overall story. As a studio they’ve made such impressive and great strides in just about every area of execution from their first film, but their stories remain watered down and meandering (pun definitely intended). How much of that is from executive meddling at Fox I can’t be sure.
But hey, who am I to say? I’m just some schmuck with a website and a willingness to stick my foot in my mouth. All the same, to the animators, technicians and artists at Blue Sky I say great job. You guys really nailed this one and you should be very proud.