Trailer Time: Ice Age 4: Continental Drift – Teaser

Hi again…

Some days you just need a little Scrat time. That’s right, the prehistoric saber-toothed squirrel is back providing a glimpse of the next Ice Age movie from Blue Sky Studios. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is slated to hit theaters in July 2012. It’ll be a long eighteen months!

Scrat is after his favorite thing in the whole world – the acorn – once again. And this time he goes all the way to the center of the Earth! Of course that can’t go well!

Here’s the teaser… Enjoy!

–Fitz

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DVD Review: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs + the Scrat Pack

Hi there!

The Ice Age movie series started back in 2002 with the first movie by Blue Sky Studios. It featured Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the Sabertooth Tiger (Denis Leary) trying to survive and evade the coming ice age. As Sid is often fond of saying, they are the world’s weirdest herd. Also included were the continuing misadventures of Scrat, a sabertoothed squirrel, and his attempts to find all the acorns.

In 2006, the series continued with Ice Age: The Meltdown. The herd continues to get weirder as they encounter Ellie (Queen Latifah), another mammoth, and her two “brothers” – opossums Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck). Ellie was adopted by the opossums and just came to believe she was one, as she had never encountered another mammoth before meeting Manny. Sid meanwhile is kidnapped by a tribe of mini-sloths who believe him to be a god, which doesn’t turn out well. And we discover that Diego is afraid of water. Scrat makes another appearance in The Meltdown, chasing down his acorn, fighting off giant piranha, and generally having a miserable time.

And in the summer of 2009, we saw the third sequel called Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Now Ellie and Manny are a couple expecting a baby mammoth any day now and Diego and Sid are wondering where they fit into the equation. Scrat is back as well, but he finds a new challenger who wants his acorn – Scratte. Who wins that battle? The acorn of course!

In Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Sid discovers three eggs he finds in a cave. He calls them Eggbert, Shelly, and Yoko and draws a face on each. Though told to put them back by Manny, Sid keeps them and they hatch the next morning into baby Tyrannosaurus who think Sid is their mother. Unfortunately, the babies’ real mother goes looking for her eggs and herds her new hatchlings and Sid down into a huge underground world filled with prehistoric beasties.

Manny, the pregnant Ellie, Diego, Crash, and Eddie all head into the caves to find and rescue Sid. Once in the dinosaur paradise, they’re helped by Buck (Simon Pegg), a one-eyed weasel living a life of adventure in this hidden prehistoric world. Buck is a bit off his rocker, but knows his way around many of the dangers facing Sid’s would-be-rescuers and proves very resourceful despite his obvious lunatic nature.

Honestly, when we saw Dawn of the Dinosaurs in the theater I was sure that I liked this movie better than The Meltdown. There’s a magical spark when you see these characters fighting to stay a family amidst all odds. And after seeing the film again on DVD, I still think this was better than the second sequel. The perils faced by the “herd” led each character to face their own fears and triumph to save their friends. I can hardly think of a better message than that for the young audiences the movie was meant for.

The “Scrat Pack” also included a second DVD with 11 short features about Scrat and a few DVD-ROM activities.

As huge fans of Scrat, we really were looking forward to the features we hadn’t seen. The two Scrat short films – “Gone Nutty – Scrat’s Missing Adventure” and “No Time For Nuts” were both hilarious, pitting the insane prehistoric rodent against his nemesis, the ever-present acorn. In “Gone Nutty,” we see what happens when Scrat has too much of a good thing and loses his acorn supply. The freefall segment with Scrat and the falling acorns is just brilliant. And in “No Time for Nuts,” Scrat and the acorn go on an adventure through time and space with a device resembling something from a Jules Verne novel. As always, things don’t go well for Scrat as he bounces through various periods in history.

We also liked “Falling for Scratte,” which focused on the development of the Scatte character and how they found the voice among the talent in their own crew. The interview with Pegg about Buck, “Buck: From Easel to Weasel,” was also entertaining as they discussed how they ended up with Buck as a character. And learning how to draw Scrat in “Scrat: From Head to Toe” was great. I’m sure my eldest daughter, an aspiring artist, will be drawing the little nutty critter in no time.

Some of the rest of the Scrat shorts on the DVD however fell a bit flat. But the fake news reports like “Scrat: Breaking Story” and “Scrat: News Report” tried very hard to be funny. Scrat just doesn’t really belong in newsreel-type footage.

All in all, I have to say I really enjoyed Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and I hope that Manny, Sid, and Diego come back for future episodes of their continuing saga. Who knows? Maybe Diego or Sid will find love in the next movie? Be sure to look for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The Scrat Pack at your favorite retailer today!

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other Ice Age movies below!

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The Blue Elephant is Coming to DVD on September 2!

Hi all!

Before I get into this review, I have to start with a little story. Once upon a time, there was a boy who believed that Jim Henson was a god among men. He had the Midas touch combining storytelling with lovable puppets. And things were good. The Muppets were amazing and still have the magic Henson gave them at birth. The Dark Crystal was a movie that would affect me as a child and stay with me as an adult. My two girls still love Sesame Street and are in love with Elmo. And things are good.

So keep that in mind when I say that to see the Jim Henson name on this movie kind of makes me cringe.

[rating:2/4]

With all of the great animated films that have come out in the last few years, including Horton Hears a Who and Wall-E, you’d think that the people controlling the Jim Henson name would at least want the brand to appear on a great product. Wouldn’t you think that was the case?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be.

The only thing I can say that worked for the film was the story. Khan is a young elephant who goes on a quest to find his father, gets lost, and has an adventure with some new friends while learning some important lessons about family, love, and courage.

The cast includes voices from Carl Reiner, Martin Short, and Miranda Cosgrove. Martin Short does a fun job as the messenger bird who is Khan’s friend. And in typical Martin Short fashion, he was a bit over the top in a fun way. 🙂

So what didn’t work? The animation. With all the amazing animated features coming out these days from Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Horton Hears a Who?, Robots), Pixar (Wall-E, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo), and others, I was kind of shocked by the so-so CGI animation.


And beyond the animation there were the transitions. Or rather the lack thereof. We went from one scene to a black screen and then to the next scene. Not the worst transitions, but I’ve seen better.

Did I hate this film? No. My girls (ages 3 and 7) really seemed to enjoy it. But I don’t look forward to any of the other titles arriving from this joint Jim Henson Company and Weinstein Company combination. (One of them was an update of the Tortoise and the Hare. The trailer didn’t do much for me.)

Am I being hard on this film? Maybe. In an era of Veggie Tales, Backyardigans, and Bob the Builder, I’d expect more from the Jim Henson Company.

If you have young children, it’s probably worth renting when it becomes available on September 2nd. But I’d rent it before you bought it.

This gets a 2/4. Not much to make it stand out from the back of the crowd unfortunately.

So until next time, go see a movie!

–Fitz

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