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