Ice Age: The Meltdown (Carlos Saldanha). Opens Friday (March 31). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NNN
Ice Age worked in large part because of its canny use of John Leguizamo and Denis Leary as rowdy low comics.
Ice Age: The Meltdown shifts its focus. As its unlikely trio of animal heroes tries to flee the impending floods, we spend a lot more time listening to Ray Romano 's passive-aggressive whine as Manny the Mammoth. Note to director Carlos Saldanha : not everybody loves Raymond.
The sequel is all about Manny's attempt to hook up with Ellie ( Queen Latifah ), a mammoth who thinks she's a possum, in order to perpetuate the species.
The animation is pretty good, and, fortunately, the animators have a feel for the curvilinear forms of ice.
The kids in the theatre got restless whenever the awkward romance was the focus but had much more fun with the two noisy possums and the continuing side adventures of the original film's squirrel and his acorn. It's not a good sign when a film has to keep trying to recapture its audience as it unreels.