Western Animation: Ice Age

The Ice Age is coming.

"I don't know about you guys, but we are the weirdest herd I've ever seen."

The 2002 CGI animated movie was a box office hit and expanded into an entire quadrilogy. It is Blue Sky Studios' first film and their flagship franchise so far.

It consists of:

In the Ice Age, a clumsy sloth named Sid, a depressed woolly mammoth named Manny, a saber-toothed cat named Diego and an acorn-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel named Scrat are forced to become unlikely heroes. The first three reluctantly come together and brave the deadly elements of the impending big freeze. Scrat has his own parallel Story Arc. He tries to bury his beloved acorn, but he only manages to create mayhem around him.

In the first Ice Age film, Sid is left behind sleeping when the rest of his family and all the other prehistoric mammals begin the journey to the south. Awaking, he meets Manfred, a mammoth who is resolutely travelling to the north, and decides to follow him. When a human camp is attacked by a pack of vengeful sabers, a woman takes her baby and jumps in a river. Before she dies from her trauma, Manny and Sid rescue the baby. The two animals decide to search for the father and return the baby to him. Diego, one of the tigers that attacked the humans, comes also claiming the baby. Diego starts to work as a double agent, but along the journey he is befriended by Manny and Sid and finally joins them.

Also spawned three short films that are on the DVDs: Gone Nutty and No Time for Nuts, both short adventures starring Scrat, and Surviving Sid, obviously centered around Sid. And there's "A Mammoth Christmas", a Christmas Special. Finally, it has a healthy series of tie-in games.

A fifth film (and most likely the final chapter) "Ice Age: Collision Course'' is stated for July 7, 2016.

The films provide examples of:

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    The series as a whole 
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Background information provided in the books and other websites confirms that Manny's family died in the Troubled Back Story Flashback in the original and corroborates the belief that his first child was a son.
    • There is also confirmation for the human baby's name, which is Roshan. His parents are called Runar and Nadia.
    • The names of the two aquatic antagonists in the second film: Cretaceous and Maelstrom.
  • Anachronism Stew: Crosses over with Misplaced Wildlife and Artistic License – Paleontology. The fourth film lampshades it, with Sid outright stating near the start that their fight against dinosaurs from the third film made no sense whatsoever.
    • Also, Pangaea? In the Ice Age?!
    • Or Stonehenge, for that matter.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: from Surviving Sid onwards. Though the main villains of the second and third films were actually more animalistic than the cast.
  • Animation Bump / Art Evolution: Actually, it both evolves and devolves as the series progresses. While the overall animation does improve with each sequel, due mostly to advances in CGI animation technology, the character designs (mostly for the minor characters) becomes increasingly simplistic; for example, take a look at how more accurate the glyptodons look in the first movie, compared to how silly and cartoony they look afterwards.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Scrat the saber-toothed squirrel. Real rodents lack canines, and at no point in history did they ever have.
    • The aardvarks are also shown having their mouth at the base of their snout and an elephant-like trunk, instead of a small mouth at the end of the long snout.
    • The dinosaurs in Ice Age 3, if compared to a mammoth, are far bigger than they were in real life, with Mama Rex topping 70 feet and Rudy a whopping 120 feet (real T. rex was a much smaller 25 feet and Baryonyx was actually smaller.)
    • Captain Gutt, an ape, ought to have human-like fingernails rather than pointed claws.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Josh Peck was a fan of Ice Age before being cast as Eddie in the sequel. He was very excited to be a part of the saga. Queen Latifah was also a fan of the original film before she was cast as Ellie in the same film.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Sid a couple of times through the series...
    Sid: We're gonna LIVE!
    *Everybody sees the water rising rapidly*
    Sid: We're gonna DIE!
  • Big Bad: Soto in the first movie, and he is a very, very effective one, especially if one watches and is aware that he is setting up a gambit for Diego's death at the same time Diego is machinating the demise of Manny and Roshan, and Sid.
    • Arguably, Cretaceous and Maelstrom in the second movie.
    • Rudy probably counts in the third movie.
    • Captain Gutt in the fourth. Noticeably the first main antagonist since the first film to be truly malevolent, as the Big Bads of the last two movies were predatory animals who, while persistent, were merely acting on instinct, while both Soto and Gutt were acting on personal motives.
  • Badass: Buck the Weasel of Dawn of the Dinosaurs, who is the most badass character ever to be featured in a children's film.
    • Diego also counts, especially in the Original film.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Manny and Ellie in the second movie, Diego and Shira in the fourth.
  • Book Ends: the first movie opens with Scrat somehow causing an ever-growing crack with the acorn. It ends with one too. And so does the third movie.
  • Breakout Character: Scrat appears in more advertisement and has more shorts than any other character in this film series, and he's not even a main character!
  • Brick Joke: In the second movie, Scrat's vision of Fluffy Cloud Heaven includes rows of dodos welcoming him - could they be the same ones that essentially extincted themselves in the first movie?
    • In the third film, while Ellie is pregnant, she challenges Manny, "Let's see how you handle the teen years." In the fourth film... it's not easy.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Sid. Not even his family wanted him. The majority of his problems are self-imposed, either through not being properly careful, or through having delusions of grandeur.
    • But the award goes to Scrat. Nothing ever goes the poor guy's way. He exists only for the purpose of being a butt-monkey — er, squirrel. Thing. Butt-Saber-Toothed-Squirrel.
    • Louis.
    • Considering every movie in the series are slapstick comedies, almost everyone gets their turn at being The Butt Monkey, but Sid and Scrat definitely get it the worst!
  • Call Back:
    • The game Sid plays with the baby dinosaurs in the third movie is the same one he and Diego did with Roshan in the first movie.
    • Buck's knife in the fourth film.
    • The 4th movie shows Sid's family that abandoned him in the first...for one short scene.
    • Manny saying "Get off my face!" to Uncle Fungus in four mirrors a similar situation from the original.
    • When Scrat falls to the center of the earth in the fourth movie, he passes Buck riding Rudy from the third movie.
      • Speaking of the third movie, Buck commandeering a pterodactyl like an aircraft is mirrored in the fourth movie by Granny commandeering her pet whale like a submarine.
    • Scrat proves Above the Influence when the sirens taunt him with Scratte - because he learned his lesson in the third movie!
  • Carnivore Confusion: The "predation is a fact of life" approach is taken with the saber-tooths, humans, and tyrannosaurs. The Predators Are Mean approach is taken by the antagonists Cretaceous and Malestrom from The Meltdown and Rudy from Dawn Of The Dinosaurs. Not to mention the fish from the second.
  • Cast Calculus: Changes with each movie.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Diego.
    Sid: Hey, my feet are sweating.
    Diego: Do we need a news flash every time your body does something?
    Manny: He's just doing it for attention, just ignore him.
  • Central Theme: Friendship, forgiveness, redemption, and how the actions of one innocent person, kidnapped for the slaughter, can transform a trio of misfits into a true family. Love and forgiveness can create harmony in spaces where sin has crept in. Love is shown through acts of sacrifice/sacrificial love.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ellie being the only tree-climbing mammoth until Continental Drift helps her to save one of the dino eggs in Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
    • Possibly Diego's forcing panicked Manny to flee towards the giant raft in Meltdown qualifies, as the other tigers' plan to ambush the mammoth in the first film involved driving him to his death. Presumably Diego knows how to do that too.
      • Actually this probably comes with the territory of being a pack hunter. Any pack hunting species will know how to herd their prey to where other members of the pack need them to be.
    • Peaches's tree-swinging abilities and Louis's tunneling in the 4th movie.
    • In the original, Sid's proficiency at wintertime athletics.
  • The Chew Toy: Scrat and Sid.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Ellie, until she realizes she's all mammoth in the third.
    • The Dodos.
    • Buck the Weasel
    • Sid's Granny (played by Wanda Sykes) is the 4th movie's “Buck” in some respects.
  • Comic-Book Time: The animal characters never seem to age, even though by rights Crash and Eddie should be old now. Which leads to the puzzling thought about how old the characters actually are...
  • Completely Missing the Point: The dodos in the first movie. Sid continually.
  • Continuity Nod: Whereas this was ignored in The Meltdown, the third movie comes through with a Callback to the Original Film. In the scene before Diego leaves Manny to go protect Ellie, he says five words that Manny knows very well from some years earlier: "You have to trust me." And the poignant expression in Manny's eyes seals the deal as you clearly can see that he is remembering that event all over again, and thus why he lets Diego go protect his mate.
    • Also the opening of the fourth movie. As Scrat falls into the chasm in the opening, we can see a glimpse of Buck and Rudy. And in the siren's nest, Scrat momentarily sees Scratte, before he shakes it away.
    • Earlier on in the fourth film, Diego briefly brings up his old pack.
  • Crazy Survivalist:
    • Buck the Weasel, the delightfully deranged Rambo/Ahab Expy.
    • The dodos are preparing for living billions of years underground with a stockpile of... three watermelons! They failed.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Scrat and the piranhas. Or Scrat and Sid. "Tae kwon dodos! ATTACK!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Diego and Manny, and Shira in the fourth film.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Scrat.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Shira is eventually worn down over the course of the fourth film, just as Diego was in the first film, and like him, she ultimately joins the group for good at the end.
  • The Ditz: Sid, who is also a Genius Ditz occasionally, especially in the second movie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: See Adult Fear. Humans do not have a role in the story after the first film at all.
  • Expy: Buck the Weasel in Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a clear allusion to John Rambo, another traumatized jungle warrior. His maddened quest to take down a giant white beast that took a part off of him makes him an Captain Ahab expy as well. He also seems to be channeling Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • On the fourth movie, Captain Gutt seems to be styled after Blackbeard, being a fearsome pirate with a giant ego and horrible treating of his own crew, the way his fur is organized also strongly resembles POTC Blackbeard's trenchcoat, they have a similar unkempt and grey-ish beard, as well. They even both wear a similar tricorn hat.
    • Scrat is basically the franchise's equivalent of Wile E. Coyote.
  • Eye Awaken:
    • In Ice Age 2, one of the unfrozen sea reptiles.
    • In Ice Age 3, Rudy does this fairly often, even when knocked down.
  • Eye Scream: Narrowly averted in the fourth film where Gutt swings his sword at Manny, which sweeps inches from his eye..
    • Played straight in the third film when Buck gets his eye ripped out by Rudy the Baryonyx.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Soto is killed by falling icicles, complete with stabbing sounds and winces from the other sabres. Also, Gutt from the fourth film is eaten alive by Sirens.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Manny and Diego, especially in the original film, where their friendship is put to the test - and once tested, remains strong - out of the herd in the newer movies, Diego and Manny's bond is the deepest.
  • Five-Bad Band: The pack of saber-toothed tigers in the first film:
  • Foreshadowing: In Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ellie reacts to Manny's overprotectiveness of their unborn child by saying "Can't wait to see how you handle the teen years."
  • Fresh Clue: When the trio of Sid, Manfred and Diego arrive at the human camp in the first film, Diego remarks upon a piece of kindling: "It's still green. They broke camp less than two hours ago."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Pulled off twice in Dawn of the Dinosaurs; first when Sid tries to milk a "Cow" ( "I thought you were a female!") and at the end when Ellie's daughter is born ("Oh look, it's a boy!" - "That's her tail, Sid." - "It's a girl!")
    • When Diego and Manny are pressed up against each other:
    Diego: "I feel...tingly!"
    Manny: "Don't say that when you're pressed up against me!"
    Diego: "Not that kind of tingly!"
    • And again with "You know the old saying, an eye for a tooth, a nose for a chin, a butt for a... well it's an old saying. It's not a good saying."
    • It's virtually impossible not to at least raise an eyebrow after hearing Buck say this: "What does that mean, 'I got your back'? I'd rather they covered the front. That's where all the good stuff is!"
    • Also in the first movie:
    Manny: [The baby] must be wearing one of those baby things.
    Sid: So?
    Manny: So if he poops, where does it go?
    Sid: (beat) Humans are disgusting.
    • This little gem:
    Buck: "And now let me tell you about the time I used a sharpened clamshell to turn a T-Rex...into a T-Rachel!"
    Manny: "That's enough fairy tales for one night."
    • Sid and Diego kiss in the fourth movie.
    Diego: Why are we kissing?
    Sid: Um... 'cause cruises are romantic?
    • Diego's comment in the first movie, when Sid tells him that the baby belongs to Manfred and him.
    • In Manny's first scene when he is heading in the opposite direction of the migration a tapir yells at him to "MOVE YOUR ISSUES OFF THE ROAD!" to which Manny responds, "If my trunk was that small, I wouldn't draw attention to myself, pal!"
  • Graceful in Their Element: Sid is graceful on snow and ice, unlike Manny and Diego, but is awkward on earth. Even becomes a plot point towards the end of the first movie.
  • Grumpy Bear: Manny.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Diego in the first film, Shira in the fourth.
  • Held Gaze: The platonic version of this trope occurs in Ice Age after Manny has just rescued Diego from death at the lava fields.
    • This happens again during a tense situation between the mammoth and the tiger in the third film, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs when Diego is attempting to convince Manny to let him go protect Ellie.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Manny and Diego.
    • Manny and Sid and Diego and Sid (more like Heterosexual Life Trio).
  • Homoerotic Subtext: We certainly get some moments with three male animals taking care of one baby. The two Held Gaze moments between Manny and Diego. When Diego meets Manny and Sid for the first time, he comments, "I see. Can't have one of your own, so you want to adopt". Also, in the third film when Diego and Manny are pressed up against each other, Diego says, "I feel all tingly!" Manny says, "Don't say that when you're pressed up against me!" "Not that kind of tingly!"
    • In the 4th Sid and Diego ''kiss''. Sirens Made Them Do It It should be noted that Diego reacts very negatively to the "kiss" and seems rather disgusted by it. Keep in mind that they see each other as brothers and it becomes Squick in hindsight.
  • Honorable Elephant: Manny, who chooses to spare Diego's life after learning about his ambush plan.
  • Humble Goal: Scrat wants nothing more than to enjoy his acorn in peace.
  • I Am Big Boned: Manny. He's not fat, it's all that fur. It makes him look...poofy.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Elle, Crash, and Eddie were all introduced in the second movie, and have been part of the herd ever since.
  • Insistent Terminology: Manny has poofy fur, he's not fat.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Scrat and Scratte. Scrat is a ground squirrel and Scratte is a flying squirrel...
      • Given that Scratlantis shows creatures that resemble both Scrat and Scratte, one could argue that it's a case of Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism, but who knows.
    • Peaches the mammoth and Louis the molehog.
  • Jerkass: Sid can come off like sometimes, most notably in the third movie where he doesn't even give his friends one word of thanks for embarking on that perilous journey to save him, and instead complains about how hard watching his kids were - for one day!
    • Manny was this in the first film, but goes through character development and becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold once he opens up to Sid and Diego.
    • Fast Tony from the second film. Let's put it this way: upon learning his best friend is probably dead, the first thing he does is try to make a buck selling his now empty shell.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Manny, Diego, and sometimes Sid.
  • Mama Bear: "Momma" in the third. Helps that she's a T-Rex.
    • Also Roshan's mother in the first film. She leaped over a waterfall to protect her son from the sabers.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Many animals, depending on where the films are set. Most notably the dodos, native to Mauritius, far away from areas affected by the Ice Age.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Hammerhead sloths. Yeah.
    • Also, aardvarks with giant anteater-like snouts and tails.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The piranhas in Ice Age 2; the sirens in Ice Age 4. Sid's Granny too, once she gets shark-teeth dentures.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted in No Time for Nuts when Scrat ends up meeting himself via use of the time machine. Hilarity Ensues when both Scrats start craving the time traveling one's acorn.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sid occasionally, most notably in Ice Age: The Meltdown.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Ellie in the second movie; the baby dinos in the third (but justified by imprinting.)
  • Oblivious to Love: Manny. Sid has to even point it out to him in The Meltdown that he clearly likes Ellie, since Manny just doesn't realize it.
    • Then, in the 4th film, Sid and Manny do the same to Diego after his first run-in with Shira; though the two are clearly laughing it up as much as they can, while Diego stubbornly denies it...although he probably realizes his attraction, at the very least at a subconscious level, if the "siren"'s taking the shape of Shira to lure him in is any indication. It works wonderfully well, until Manny wakes up from his own illusion.
    Manny: Denial is the clincher! You're in love, pussycat!
  • Plummet Perspective: Happens in the first three movies, but shown only a few times in the fourth.
  • Predators Are Mean: Only one of the Big Bads has not been a predatory animal.
    • Ultimately though, it's subverted. Just look at Diego, Mamma Rex, and the humans. They are all carnivores but are not malicious, at least not inherently.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Abruptly ending Scrat's stay in his Fluffy Cloud Heaven at the end of the second movie. Again, in the begin sequence of Dawn of the Dinosaurs, ending the first encounter of Scrat and Scratte.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Scrat and the Acorn.
  • Running Gag: Manny's not fat, it's his fur. It makes him look poofy.
  • Sabre-tooth Squirrel of Doom: Scrat
  • Sea Monster: Cretaceous and Maelstrom in the second film, a Globidens and Metriorhynchus. Both are wildly inaccurate. In reality, Globidens had a long tail and fed on clams, and Metriorhynchus had smooth skin, no fin on its back, and a fish-like tail.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A lot of the background species are real animals that are fairly obscure to anyone but a paleontologist, and the fourth film features a hyrax, a rarely seen creature alive today.
    • And humans, for that matter, as they're only seen in the first movie and gone for the rest.
    • The third film has Harpactognathus and Pterodactylus as the token pterosaurs, instead of the usual Pteranodon or Rhamphorhynchus.
  • Series Mascot: Scrat.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first film, the alien ship seen in the cave is a reference to Star Trek. The baby even does the Vulcan salute as they pass by it.
    • Towards the beginning, a group of little anteaters are stuck in a mud hole, referencing the Rite of Spring segment from Fantasia.
    • "Food, Glorious Food"
    • "I Believe I Can Fly"
    • Scrat's "death" in the second film is reminiscent of King Kong.
    • Moby Dick=Rudy and Buck.
    • Also, in the third movie, when they inhale the gas, Crash and Eddie try to sing like the Chipmunks ... or at least a Chipmunk song.
    • "Yabba Dabba Doo!" "Don't Ever YabadabaDoo that again!"
    • When Buck mentions that he calls the dinosaur he fought Rudy, Manny wonders why he didn't call him something more terrible, like Tim.
    • Buck's analysis of the "crime scene" always ending with "leaving... a vegetable!"
      • This scene is also quite similar to the scene in Shaun of the Dead when Simon Pegg's (who voiced Buck) character is trying to make a plan upon realizing there's a zombie outbreak, with each proposition ending with "and wait for all of this to blow over". Could also double as Actor Allusion.
    • The leader of the hyrax army in the fourth film paints half his face blue, a clear reference to William Wallace in Braveheart. The army as a whole, with their Zerg Rush against the pirates and Sid's communication with them by dance, channels the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi
  • Shown Their Work: While they may not be anatomically or historically accurate, the obscurity of the animals in the series is outstanding. Some of which don't even appear in documetaries that much.
    • When Sid threw the Archaeopteryx off the cliff expecting it to fly off, it instead dropped like a stone. Real Archaeopteryx probably couldn't fly like they are usually depicted (though they could have glided).
    • The Pterodactylus are crested, rather than smooth headed like in old portraits.
    • Gutt the Gigantopithecus is designed after an orangutan, which is the closest relative of Gigantopithecus. Also Raz resembles a genuine Procoptodon, even having a single hoof-like toe on each foot.
  • The Speechless: Despite being very noisy, Scrat. Also, the humans of the original movie Ice Age Mama T. Rex in Dawn.
  • Super-Persistent Predator:
    • Rudy. Justified, as Buck took out one of his teeth.
    • Cretaceous and Maelstrom.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Scratte appears to be wearing blue eye shadow, but makeup won't exist for millions of years, so it's probably natural coloring. In other words, you could say it's all down to her biological makeup.
    • An extreme one with Diego and Shira, where Diego (and all sabers seen beforehand) are orange, while Shira is grey with black stripes.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Happens twice times in the film series. First, in the third film, the possums begin singing Christmas Don't Be Late after swallowing poison gas that makes them sound like chipmunks. Then, in the fourth film, Manny sang "The Candyman Can" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when trying to ignore the illusions that turn out to be piranhas.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The Dodos.
    • Often (and hilariously) subverted by both Scrat and Sid, often just barely.
      • One particular example involving Scrat is when he tries to bury his acorn at the top of a hollow tree...during a thunderstorm! Predictably, he gets zapped by lightning, leaving him smoked and covered in ashes.''
    • Buck, arguably. Even though he is insane, he does show some sort of intelligence. Sometimes.
  • True Companions: The term "Herd" is used to describe the characters, and contrary to popular belief (ie Sid's) the sloth is not the to first to call them that, Manny termed them thus in the original movie after his rescue of Diego.
  • Unusual Animal Alliance
  • Wasn't That Fun?: In the first movie, after the animals all go hurtling through an Ice Helter Skelter and slam into a wall, Diego punches the air and asks who wants to go do it again.
    • Also in the third movie, when the herd is leaving the underground world, Buck states that they should have that adventure full of mortal peril again.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Almost all of the villains can apply. Things are usually fairly nice seeming and happy until one of the baddies shows up. For example almost all the jokes stop during the duel with Soto in the first film. In the second film the opossum brothers' cavorting on ice is abruptly interrupted by Maelstrom exploding through it, cracking open the river's surface and instigating a tense and frightening chase scene that ends with Manny, Cretaceous and Maelstrom sharing Death Glares with dark and foreboding music playing, with not a single humorous moment in the scene. The final battle with Rudy in the third film has only a single quick funny moment with Sid tying the vines. Hell, Rudy is so scary he comes off more like an Eldritch Abomination rather than just a dinosaur like all the others, with every scene he's in being ominous and scary. And in Continental Drift, while his crew has their quirks and funny times, Gutt himself is a very cruel and vicious ape. And he holds a grudge against Manny'; a grudge so powerful, that Gutt eventually resorts to trying to kill Manny's family just to get back at him.
    Manny: Alright, Let them go!
    Gutt(chuckles darkly): I don't think so. You destroyed everything I had! I'm just returning the favor.
  • Villain Song: The vultures from the second movie use Food Glorious Food, from Oliver the musical as theirs, and Captain Gutt from the fourth has his own sea shanty entitled "Master of the Seas".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sid is this, to Manny and Diego.

    Ice Age 
  • Accidental Athlete: Sid makes a touchdown during a game of football against dodos, ice-skates better than his other traveling companions, and is successfully able to create the first skiing and snowboarding events in history!
  • Adult Fears: The first film is more serious than the sequels, with human beings slaughtering mammoths, tigers slaughtering human beings, multiple characters with dead family members, parents trying and failing to protect their children, somebody's mom practically dying on screen...
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has a surprisingly melancholy theme song for a family comedy. It's called "Hitoshizuku" which translates to "A Single Drop of Tears". This could reflect the first movie's Darker and Edgier tone compared to the sequels.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The Dodos are in fact extinct, but they didn't die out during the Ice Age. They were wiped out by man very quickly after discovering the remote island of Mauritius were they used to live. Not mainly for food (they tasted awful), but simply as some sort of sport... They were in no way "too dumb to live" as portayed in the movie, but just evolutionary unfit for the challenge by naked monkeys who, after a long sea travel, would see clubbing fat flightless birds as appropriate entertainment.
  • Art Shift: During the sequence where the "herd" happens upon the cave paintings, which fade into traditional animation to reveal Manfred's tragic loss and explain the reason why he is so moody - he is still grieving.
  • The Atoner: Diego becomes this as the film progresses, even after revealing that he was setting them up for an ambush.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Anyone who's been in Tae Kwon Do would find the "multi-language" feature on the first film's DVD amusing, as the selected scene (the trio poop checking) ends with Manny shouting "ENOUGH!" in Korean. The word is Romanized as "ku mahn", and is a common phrase used in TKD class when the instructor wants you to finish an exercise.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ominous vibrating icicles in the final battle.
    • Diego's game of Where's the Baby with Roshan during the first half. Watch closely to see how it shows up again later.
  • Chirping Crickets: "We're gonna miss the mi... the mi... gration..."
  • Convection Schmonvection: You'd think the ice would melt a hell of a lot faster with all that lava underneath it.
  • A Crack in the Ice: The herd is walking on an ice field when a lava flow opens up beneath them, leaving only a thin bridge getting thinner by the minute.
  • Crusading Widower: Manny. It's revealed his wife and son were killed prior to the film.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: For Manny, it was the death of his wife and child.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first film is this in comparison to the sequels, with a sombre colour palette, constant references to death and/or dying, Adult Fear, and a serious depiction of life during the Ice Age and the fight for survival between humans and animals. And let's not forget that Soto is a Magnificent Bastard who is setting up his own second-in-command throughout the entire film whilst Diego does the same with Manny, Roshan, and Sid....
  • Dawn Attack:
    Diego: We'll teach that human what happens when he messes with sabers.
    Soto: Alert the troops. We attack at dawn. And Diego, bring me that baby,alive. If I'm gonna enjoy my revenge, I want it to be fresh.
  • Disney Death: Diego. (The commentary by the directors confirms it as a real death, saying that he actually died, just as a reference. In that scene, he is actually dying. Sure, he comes back later, but in that scene, they do confirm that he does actually die in that scene.)
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Tae-Kwan-Dodos: "Doom on you! Doom on you! Doom on you!"
  • Dramedy: The first film is this, balancing comedic moments between Mood Whiplash such as The Reveal that Manny's family was killed and the mentions of death and Adult Fear make the Original stand out even more from the comedy-based sequels in that the Original has a potent blend of drama and comedy that really works.
  • Falling Icicles Of Doom: Soto's death.
  • Family of Choice: The "herd" by the end of the movie, largely thanks to the involvement of Roshan bringing them all together.
  • Fantastic Racism: Even if they did so for good reason, Manny and Sid were wary of Diego at first mostly because he was just a saber-toothed tiger.
  • The Glomp: Sid does this to Diego when the tiger returns from his Disney Death. Diego doesn't really appreciate being Glomped though.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Soto being impaled by the falling icicles.
  • Heel Realization: Diego after seeing Manny taking care of the baby even after remembering that he lost his family to them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nadia, the baby's mother and Manny and Diego, done for each other, and both times they nearly die.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with: humans kill mammoths and have caused real heartbreak for Manny, but at this stage of human development they aren't really worse than other predatory species like saber-tooths.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Manny and Sid receive baby Roshan from his mother Nadia in this way, seconds before she succumbs to her injuries.
  • Manly Tears: All of the three main (animal) male characters cry at some parts of the movie. When Diego cries, it shows his heart beginning to soften and him starting to question his motives; Sid is in general very emotionally prone to outbursts such as crying, whilst Manny's tears give way to truly forgiving the humans for the wrong and loss they've caused him.
  • Meaningful Echo: Employed quite effectively between Manny and Diego in two life-and-death situations.
    "That's what you do in a herd."
  • Meaningful Name: Several of the characters have meaningful names that reflect the depth of the movie's writing. Manfred means "Man of Peace" and his character arc has him show he stands for justice and forgiveness and like a man of peace, he brokers reconciliation between himself and his human enemies. Diego is the Spanish form of the name Jacob, which means "Deceiver, or, He Deceives" and within the plot of the film Diego is a Double Agent, glibly lying to Manny and Sid and setting them up. However, like the original Jacob of the Bible, Diego gets redemption as well, though from an unlikely source: the baby - and Manny. Roshan, the name of the baby, is Hindi and means "Light" or "Light at Dawn" and he is the peace child who brings light into the midst of three lonely souls and makes them a family.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second half of the film whips you through hilarity, and then sorrow, and then funniness again, and then back to close-to-tears-ness with the showdown with the sabres and Diego's Disney Death (though the filmmakers confirm in the commentary that it's actually a real death, which, depending on your affection for Diego, might make that moment worse).
  • Parental Bonus:
    Manny: "With a trunk that small, I wouldn't be drawing attention to yourself."
  • Parody of Evolution: Seen in the ice caves.
  • Pick Up Babes With Babes: Sid the Sloth tries to use this... and it actually DOES seem to be working, until Manny the Mammoth steps in. A cut-out scene shows Sid attempting to complete the 'score' after Manny's taken away their youthful charge, and predictably it ends badly.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Because. Of all. The Ice!"
    • Manny after Sid tells him to help him returning the baby to its herd. He even mimics the "lip movements" with his trunk: "I. Am. Not. Going."
    • This statement from Diego at the end: "Leave. The. Mammoth. Alone." He directs it at Soto.
    • Sid has his moment, too, during the same scene: "Survival! Of the! Fittest! I don't think so."
    • Earlier, when Manny wants nothing to do with Sid accompanying him, he says to him, "Stop. Following. Me."
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way", which was used rather prominently in the film during the Travel Montage.
  • Recycled In Space: 3 Godfathers...with prehistoric animals!
  • Retcon: The ending sequence of Scrat waking up 20,000 years later in the volcanic age was more or less ignored to create sequels. Following the ending would have also meant the lack of Manny, Sid and Diego in future installments.
    • It's possible that Scrat hasn't gotten to the event that froze him yet.
  • Taking the Bullet: How Diego saves Manny from Soto during the climatic battle at the end after Soto's discovered their infiltration gambit.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Carl and Frank.
  • Threatening Mediator: When Sid and the baby start fighting, Manny warns that "I don't care who started it, I'll finish it."
  • Title Drop: The film employs this along with Punctuated! For! Emphasis!, below. "How do we know it's an Ice Age?"
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Well, on an icy ground to be exact - it happens to Sid while they travel through an icy cave.
  • Travel Montage: Accompanied by Rusted Root's ''Send Me on My Way'' as the characters experience Old Faithful, brave a blizzard, and attempt to walk on ice.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: How Manny lost his family to hunters.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Diego's Disney Death. It's explained in the DVD Commentary that it was originally planned for him to die, but the filmmakers ultimately went against it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Diego, especially after joining Manny and Sid in their quest to return Roshan to his tribe.
  • Xenofiction