Ice Age—20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
Fox has had this one on the back burner for quite some time now. Ice Age was originally announced for release last year and was held back during the prolonged "time out" that Fox took from the format. Judging from the packaging on this one I'd say it has been waiting around patiently for a new date. This has always been a fun film and it literally saved the animation side of Fox from extinction. Fans of the film will probably be happy to hear that the third film in the franchise was just announced for next summer in 3-D.
Looking at the back of the case reveals a slightly lower average bitrate than normal for Fox. Animation like this doesn't require healthy bitrates typically but judging from the picture I definitely think there is room for improvement. Banding was quite evident throughout a lot of the film, especially in the sky, and I even saw some noise in the image from time to time. The animation isn't quite as impressive as the sequel but it still holds up well. Fine object detail is usually excellent, but some of the characters aren't as finely detailed as they looked on the Blu-ray of the second film. Color rendition is excellent though with great saturation. Contrast is good but could be slightly better. Some of the darker scenes looked a tad flatter than most of the animation we see today. While not disappointing overall, I was hoping for a bit more from this one.
The lossless audio presentation is as fun as ever and still has some great sequences for demos. The opening sequence has always been a lot of fun for demonstrations and this new lossless mix doesn't disappoint. Bass response is about average for this type of film but I thought the spatial quality of the mix was great. Surrounds are used quite a bit throughout the mix and add a lot to the excitement of the film and the balance of atmosphere and action. The voice work blends in great with the animation and tonal balance with the rest of the track is dead on. While the sound design may not be as exciting as some other animated features, this is still a great soundtrack.
I will state straight out that I was REALLY disappointed that the included animated short was not in HD. Why in the world did Fox not master this in HD and DTS-HD sound? Gone Nutty has always been a great short and another perfect piece for demonstrations and I was really hoping it would get the same treatment as the film. Unfortunately that is just not the case. The other features include a feature commentary and some deleted scenes. The trailers for the film are included in HD though.
This has always been a fun film and I'm glad it finally made its way to Blu-ray. I was hoping for it back when the sequel was released. The video presentation could definitely be a bit better, but it isn't too disappointing. Fans of the film may want to give it a rental before purchase though, especially with the high sticker price.