Ice Age

Unlikely heroes Manfred, Sid, Diego, and Scrat join together to return an infant boy to his father before the coming ice age dooms them all. These brave souls, however, are not human. Manny is a wooly mammoth, Sid is a sloth, Diego is a saber-toothed tiger, and Scrat—one of the funniest creatures ever created—is a tiny saber-toothed squirrel who just wants to protect his precious acorn.

The voice talents of Ray Romano (Manfred), Dennis Leary (Diego), and John Leguizamo (Sid) really make this film work. The friendship that develops between these three characters is genuine, and the protective bond they create with the baby is priceless.

Ice Age presents an enjoyable image on Blu-ray. With a 1080p AVC encode, the disc boasts excellent colors and, for much of the film, a three-dimensional look. Unfortunately, some softness creeps in on a few occasions, compromising the fine detail, and the black levels are slightly elevated, especially in darker scenes. I compared a couple of scenes against the DVD version and there was no doubt that the Blu-ray edition is a vast improvement, specifically in the textures of the characters' fur and how realistic their eyes look.

The 5.1-channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is phenomenal with its foundation-rocking bass and immersive surround-sound experience (even listening only to the lossy DTS "core" data as I had to do from the PS3). There are many demo-worthy moments, ranging from the opening sequence with our beloved Scrat to the boys having a little fun on the "ice slide." The Dolby Digital soundtrack on the DVD is very good, but the mix on Blu-ray takes it up a notch or two. If you are looking for a disc to impress friends with your system's prowess, Ice Age will deliver a jaw-dropping experience.

The bonus features are ported from the 2006 DVD release and include a commentary by director Chris Wedge and co-director Carlos Saldanha as well as deleted scenes with optional director/co-director commentary. The best feature of the bunch is "Gone Nutty: Scrat's Missing Adventure," an animated short that is very funny, although I wish it was high-def. The features are rounded out with three Ice Age trailers presented in HD as well as some trailers for other Fox films.

Ice Age is a movie that has grown on me over the years. When I sat down to watch this one on Blu-ray, I wasn't prepared for how much better the experience would be in high definition, and I was simply blown away by the reference-quality audio. For this reason alone I can recommend this disc, even if you already own it on DVD.

Film: 8 out of 10
Picture: 8.5 out of 10
Sound: 10 out of 10

Review System

Sony PlayStation 3

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Share | |
Michael's picture

How did you test the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack if your source was a PS3?

David Vaughn's picture

Michael, The PS3 will extract the lossy core from the DTS-MA track, which is the only way I was able to review the disc at this time. It should be noted that the lossy core is a 1.5 Mbps stream, which still sounded phenomenal, even though it is lossy in nature. I plan on upgrading my Blu-ray player to either a Panasonic BD30 or the Denon DVD 2500BTCI within the next couple of months, but I need to wait for an approval from "she who must be kept happy!" I apologize for not being as clear as I could have been in the review. Thanks for noticing though! David

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Yes, good catch! The text has been updated to include the fact that David was listening to the DTS core, which makes the sound quality that much more impressive.

Michael's picture

No problem, I was hoping I missed out on a firmware update for the PS3. I wish!

David Vaughn's picture

Michael, I'm with you on that wish! I also wish they would slow the fan speed down a bit. The last firmware made the fan noticeably louder for some reason. David

Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.