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'Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas'

Prehistoric Santa Claus? You Bet.

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas

Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas

FOX
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas is much slicker than A Charlie Brown Christmas, the holiday special to which all others will be compared. Certainly it has the feeling of a movie franchise behind it; I can practically see a crowd of writers huddled in an office banging out the jokes. However, the cartoon special fulfills its purpose. Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas is a heartfelt, funny story with a "we are the world" message at the end.

Synopsis

In Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, the arctic herd is busy decorating for the holiday season. In his rush to help, Sid (John Leguizamo) destroys Manny's (Ray Romano) favorite decoration, the Christmas rock from his mammoth-hood. Manny is so upset he convinces Sid he is now on Santa's naughty list. Sid, Crash (Seann William Scott), Eddie (Josh Peck) and Peaches (Ciara Bravo) take off for the North Pole to plead their case to Santa (Billy Gardell).

Meanwhile, Manny, Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Diego (Denis Leary) worry over Peaches' safety and race to find her.

Back at the North Pole, Sid and his crew accidentally destroy Santa's Workshop on Christmas Eve in a stand-off with the "Santa-rage," and it's up to these newfound friends to orchestrate a Christmas miracle.

My Two Cents

Scrat - Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas

Scrat - Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas

FOX

First, let me say that T. J. Miller is my new favorite voice-over actor. His monotone, slightly scratchy and very deadpan voice is perfectly matched to his cocky character, Prancer, in Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. Combine this performance with his cynical delivery as Tuffnut in Gift of the Night Fury and I'm busting a gut.

Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) is also a fresh and funny voice to hear as the head of the "Santa-rage" (sounds like entourage).

The crux of the plot is that these prehistoric animals originate the Christmas traditions we hold dear now: the Christmas tree, Santa's naughty and nice lists, kissing under the mistletoe, Santa's elves and his flying reindeer that pull the sleigh. Playing with such steadfast stories of Santa Claus is clever, much like how Prep & Landing tweaks the business of Santa's deliveries.

But where Gift of the Night Fury, another movie franchise Christmas special, makes the story and the message prominent, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas relies on prat falls and derisive comedy. However, that is also the difference between the movies. How to Train Your Dragon was set in its own time and place, earning laughs and tears that were organic from its story, whereas Ice Age movies use current pop culture references and humor to grab laughs.

Happily, Sid is the focus of most of the story, with the other characters essentially facilitating his antics and jokes. (Watch out for yellow snow, Sid.)

The action is broken up with interludes starring that lovable squirrel Scrat, his acorn chase set to Tchaikovsky.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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