Taking the Chill Off – 2012: Ice Age Reviewed

22 Mar
Mashup Poster

This is what DirecTV thought the movie was…

In another situation I might not have done this review. I’ve seen plenty of b-movies that I just watch, but DirecTV triggered my OCD-driven need to review it when they mislabeled this a few weeks back. I thought it was weird that in the middle of a disaster movie marathon SyFy would show the animated Ice Age (you know, the one with Ray Romano as a mammoth and Denis Leary as a saber-tooth?), but who was I to question them? Realizing that I had missed seeing this made me track it down (yay NetFlix!), and once I put in that effort a review became inevitable.

The disaster catalyst in 2012: Ice Age is immediate – some Greenland volcanoes go off. Actually, all of them go off. And they dislodge the entire ice sheet in the process, completely intact. This oddly hardy chunk of Greenland ice thus begins its journey toward the US coast.

Our main character, Bill – played by Jag’s Patrick Labyorteaux – is (presumably) a scientist in Maine who is dropping his daughter Julia off at the airport when this all starts. Finally, a movie with a scientist lead without the requisite classroom intro! That scores one for the movie early on – an encouraging sign. Sadly, that turns out to be one of the few high points.

Soon enough, he’s told by a coworker to take his family south to Florida before the glacier hits. Florida. Not west. Just how big do they think this glacier could possibly be?

Ah, that explains it. The glacier is a million square miles (1000 miles by 1000 miles) in area. I’d go on about the improbability of the entire ice sheet coming off – intact – and heading for our coast, but I’m all for stretching credulity in the name of a good story. Or even a mediocre one.

Bill and his special-needs son (at least, I hope for the actor and writer’s sake the character was supposed to sound like a special needs child) rush to get the matriarch, Teri (Julie McCullough) – an aide for a senator we won’t hear from again. Teri satisfies the “useless nag” void that had so far been left unfilled by the film.

Together, they start a road trip south – to New York – to pick up their daughter before the glacier wipes her out. Along with everyone on the east coast.

The rest of the movie alternates between their obstacle-laden journey, their daughter’s cougar adventure escaping Manhattan, and random scenes of nameless military people trying to blow up the glacier in various ways. All the while places get pelted with boulder-sized ice chunks and then flattened by an absurd-looking glacier. When and where this happens seems apparently determined at random.

The movie runs along at a decent clip, which is an accomplishment considering the plot points. The effects are goofy, the acting is not so great (especially the son, who is jarringly bad), and there are all the typical plot and continuity inconsistencies that we have all grown to know and love in this genre.

Giant blocks of ice thudding into the ground and randomly appearing to flatten people are capable of producing some chuckles, but overall the movie takes itself a little too seriously for my taste. Given the premise, playing up the humor would have helped tremendously.

At the very least they could have gotten Ray Romano to do a cameo…

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