Starting as a single adventure in 2002, the CGI animated movie was a box office hit and expanded into an entire trilogy. It is Blue Sky Studio's first film and their flagship franchise.
In the Ice Age, a clumsy sloth named Sid, a grumpy woolly mammoth named Manny, a saber-toothed cat named Diego and an acorn-
loving-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 Ice Age. The saber-toothed squirrel 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 while everyone else begins the journey to the south. Awaking, he meets Manny, a mammoth who travels 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 drowns, 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.
In the sequel, Manny, Sid and Diego are living in a large valley with an enormously high ice wall filling one end. The trio discover that the ice wall is actually barely holding a massive body of water that would flood the valley to nearly a mile underwater. A vulture tells them that there is a boat at the other end of the valley that may save them all, but they have only three days to make it or die. Manny is having trouble facing the fact that he may be the last mammoth left. Along the way, they meet Ellie, a mammoth who thinks she is a possum, and her possum "brothers", Crash and Eddie.
The third one was released in 2009 and involves a Lost World filled with DINOSAURS! It turns out there is an entire prehistoric world that somehow survived by being located underneath the surface of the Earth. Manny and Ellie are expecting their first child, and Manny becomes compulsively over-protective of her as he tries to be readily prepared for when the time comes. Sid is jealous and raises three abandoned eggs. They turn out to be baby T-rex's, and when their real mother finds out they were stolen, she takes her three babies and Sid underground, and Sid's friends all go to his rescue. There they meet a seasoned, slightly insane adventurer weasel named Buck, who becomes their guide in surviving this new world, and with an agenda of his own.
A fourth movie, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift was released in July 2012.
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 that raises huge Fridge Logic issues just by looking at it.
- Accidental Athlete: In Ice Age, 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!
- Actor Allusion: In Dawn of the Dinosaurs, when the eggs hatch and the hatchlings start playing with Sid, the Was (Not Was) song "Walk the Dinosaur" comes on. The song appeared in John Leguizamo's first movie, Super Mario Bros (even if he probably won't admit it).
- 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...
- All There in the Manual: Background information provided in the books and other websites confirms that Manny's family died in the Troubled Backstory Flashback in the original and corroborates the belief that his first child was a son.
- There is also confirmation for the 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.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The first movie in 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 be because the first movie is Darker and Edgier than the other two.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Friend: Trailers for the Fourth movie show a moment of this between Sid and Diego. Three guesses who the embarrassing one is, and the first two don’t count.
- It looks like Manny might be shaping up to be this in some respects to Peaches
- Anachronism Stew: Crosses over with Misplaced Wildlife and Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: from Surviving Sid onwards.
- Appease the Volcano God: The sloths try to sacrifice Sid for this purpose...even though they understand the science behind volcanic eruptions perfectly.
Sid: You're a very advanced race! Together, we can look for a solution.
Sloth: We have one - sacrifice the fire king.
Sid: Well, that's not very advanced!
Sloth: Worth a shot.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Buck listing the rules for getting his help.
Buck: He who has gas, travels at the back of the pack!
Eddie: Aw...*Hangs head, walks to the back of the pack*
- Art Shift: In the Original Film, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Non Sequitur Scene: Most of Scrat's antics.
- Subverted in the vulture's "Food Glorious Food", for Sid sings it briefly right after, but is never mentioned again after that.
- 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?
- Busby Berkeley Number: Vultures singing "Food Glorious Food" from Oliver!.
- Butt Monkey: Sid. Not even his family wanted him.
- Scrat counts as well.
- Carnivore Confusion: The "predation is a fact of life" approach is taken with the saber-tooths and humans. The Predators Are Mean approach is taken the antagonists of the third film, Mama T. Rex and Rudy.
- Cast Calculus: Changes with each movie.
- Freudian Trio: "Ice Age"
- Five-Man Band: "The Meltdown"
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: "Dawn Of The Dinosaurs"
- Cats Are Snarkers: Diego.
Sid: Hey, my feet are sweating.
Diego: Do we need a news flash every time your body does something?
- Chekhov's Gun: The ominous vibrating icicles.
- Diego's game of Where's the Baby with Roshan during the first half. Watch closely to see how it shows up again later.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ellie being the only tree-climbing mammoth in existence helps her to save one of the dino eggs in the third movie.
- The Chew Toy: Scrat and Sid.
- Chirping Crickets: "We're gonna miss the mi... the mi... gration..."
- Cliff Stack: At least once in the third movie.
- 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 sequel, the third movie comes through with a Call Back to the Original Film. In the scene before Diego leaves Manny to go protect Ellie, he says four 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.
- Cool Old Lady: Looks like Sid’s Granny in the forth film could very well be this.
- 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.
- Crazy Survivalist:
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Scrat and the piranhas. Or Scrat and Sid. "Tae kwon dodos! ATTACK!"
- Dawn Attack:
Diego: We'll teach that human what happens when he messes with sabers.
Soto: Alert the troops. We attack at dawn.
- Dead Little Sister: You can call it dead little son and wife for Manny.
- Deadpan Snarker: Diego and Manny.
- Decoy Protagonist: Scrat.
- Did You Die?: In Dawn of the Dinosaurs, when Buck is telling the story of his encounter with Rudy. "Sadly yes... but I lived!"
- Disney Death: Diego, in the first movie.
- The Ditz: Sid, who is also a Genius Ditz occasionally, especially in the second movie.
- Dynamic Entry: the third movie. "Go Momzilla!"
- Evil Albino: Rudy from Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- 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.
- Eye Awaken:
- In Ice Age 2, one of the unfrozen sea reptiles.
- In Ice Age 3, Rudy does this fairly often.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: (Technically they're sharp icicles, but...)
- 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:
- Follow the Leader: The Original film is often termed so derisively by people who are fans of Shrek and Monsters, Inc., which is unfair. Ice Age is a film that deserves to be considered by itself despite these accusations that it was a "rip-off" of the two aforementioned movies.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Scrat's near-death experience with the giant golden acorn in The Meltdown
- Fluffy the Terrible: Rudy, the fearsome white Baryonyx in Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Lampshaded by Manny:
Manny: Oh, I was thinking it'd be something terrifying, like... Sheldon, or Tim.
- 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!")
- Also Buck mentions that he knew a rainbow-colored butterfly when he was a little caterpillar, "before he came out", and when he turned a T-Rex into a T-Rachel. Also, 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!"
- 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!"
- In the first movie, when Diego meets Manny and Sid with the baby for the first time: "You couldn't have one of your own, so you decided to adopt."
- Also in the first movie:
Manny: [The baby] must be wearing one of those baby things.
Manny: So if he poops, where does it go?
Sid: (beat) Humans are disgusting.
- The Glomp: Sid does this to Diego when the mammoth and the sloth discover to their joy that their tiger friend has survived his apparent death in Ice Age. Diego doesn't really appreciate being Glomped though.
- Go Out with a Smile: Crosses the Line Twice here. The way to the subterranean world goes through a crevasse full of toxic fumes, which is revealed to have very similar properties to Joker's laughing gas.
- Good Lips, Evil Jaws: The good Mommy dinosaur vs the Albino Dino Monster.
- Gory Discretion Shot: the falling icicles in the first film.
- Grumpy Bear: Manny.
- Hartman Hips: Scratte.
- Heel Face Turn: Diego.
- 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.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Nadia, the baby's mother and Manny and Diego, both subverted.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Manny and Diego.
- Manny and Sid and Diego and Sid (more like Heterosexual Life Trio).
- Honorable Elephant: Manny.
- 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.
- 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.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The path to Sid.
- Insistent Terminology: Manny has poofy fur, he's not fat.
- Internet Backdraft: Speculation over the details of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is already beginning to cause some of this at fan forums.
- Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Ellie gives birth in the middle of a raptor fight, screaming and wincing, and Peaches comes out already clean, happy and sleepy. One of the most exaggerated Hollywood births ever.
- Played straight, and averted with Manny at the beginning of the third movie. He appears onscreen by screaming "IT'S HAPPENING!!" and carrying a hollowed out, upside-down turtle shell full of water.
- I Will Find You: Stated word for word by Manny in a trailer for the forth film.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Manny and Diego.
- Last-Minute Baby-Naming: In the third movie, Manny and Ellie have apparently not decided on what to name their child. After the baby mammoth's birth, Manny suggests they name her Ellie, but Ellie decides on the name "Peaches", which had been their code word for Ellie to tell Manny she was going into labor.
- Lighter and Fluffier: The series starts out relatively serious, violent, and realistic, and gets progressively sillier. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- Arguable in the DotD, where Buck turns the action (and obviously the silliness) up to 11.
- 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.
- Mammal-Eating Plant
- Maniac Monkeys: It seems that the main villain in the fourth movie will be a prehistoric ape pirate captain.
- Meaningful Echo: Employed quite effectively in the Original between Manny and Diego in two life-and-death situations.
"That's what you do in a herd."
- Midair Repair: Buck performs mouth-to-mouth on a pterosaur knocked unconscious by a mid-air collision..
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Sid falls through into a cave in the third film because of this.
- Misplaced Wildlife
- Mood Whiplash: The second half of the original 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.
- 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.
- Opposites Attract: Manny and Ellie
- Parental Bonus: From the first film:
Manny: "With a trunk that small, I wouldn't be drawing attention to yourself."
- Parody of Evolution: Seen in the first film 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.
- Plummet Perspective
- Ptero-Soarer: Roger from the third movie.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way", which was used rather prominently in the Original film during the Travel Montage.
- 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.
- Rescue Romance: Scrat and Scratte's relationship really kicks off after he rescues her from death by lava when they are hanging by a thin root on a cliff.
- Red Wire Blue Wire - Hilariously spoofed in the carnivorous-plant action-sequence in Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Scrat and the Acorn.
- Sand in My Eyes: Invoked and subverted by Diego after Peaches is born, as well as Crash and Eddie.
- Sea Monster: Cretaceous and Maelstrom in the second film, a Mosasaurus and an Icthyosaurus. with legs.
- Actually, Cretaceous looks a lot like a Metriorhynchid, a kind of sea-going crocodile from the times of dinosaurs. If this wasn´t the creature used as inspiration by the character designers, then it's an amazing case of convergent evolution...
- Snake Oil Salesman: Fast Tony...
- "Yabba Dabba Doo!" "Don't Ever YabadabaDoo that again!"
- "Food, Glorious Food"
- 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.
- 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.
- When Buck mentions that he calls the dinosaur he fought Rudy, Manny wonders why he didn't call him something more terrible, like Tim.
- Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying: Too much to fit on the main page. See Headscrathers.
- The Speechless: Despite being very noisy, Scrat. Also, the humans of the original movie Ice Age. Cretaceous and Maelstrom in Meltdown. Mama T. Rex and Rudy in Dawn.
- Super-Persistent Predator:
- Rudy. Justified, as Buck took out one of his teeth.
- Cretaceous and Maelstrom.
- Take That: Possibly one against Jurassic Park III in Dawn of the Dinosaurs. In the third JP, a Tyrannosaurus is killed after a brief fight with the Spinosaurus. Well, at the end of the third Ice Age, Mama (a Tyrannosaurus) turns up just at the last moment and attacks Rudy (an overgrown Baryonyx, related to Spinosaurus), effortlessly charging him, slamming him through the jungle and knocking him off a cliff. He doesn't actually die, but it was an incredible asskicking for the supposed Big Bad of all dinosaurs in the series.
- Taking the Kids: The storyline with Sid, Mama Dino and the baby dinos is a parody of this trope, with Sid and Mama Dino playing the divorced parents fighting for custody.
- 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.
- Title Drop: The Original employs this along with This Is Sparta, below. "How do we know it's an Ice Age?"
- Third Is 3D
- This Is Sparta: From the first film; "Because. Of all. The Ice!"
- Well, things just got a little chillier.
- 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."
- Those Two Bad Guys: Carl and Frank.
- Throw It In: John Leguizamo made up Sid's lisp after seeing a model for what he looked like.
- Tongue on the Flagpole
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The Dodos.
- Often (and hilariously) subverted by both Scrat and Sid, often just barely.
- Buck, arguably. Even though he is insane, he does show some sort of intelligence. Sometimes.
- Travel Montage: in the first film, 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.
- 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.
- Troubled Backstory Flashback: Manny's family in the first movie.
- The Vamp - Scratette. Might also count as a squirrel version of Lady in Red.
- Tyrannosaurus Rex: Momma from the third movie.
- Unexplained Recovery: Diego in the first movie.
"Nine lives, baby!"
- 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.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: The ark in The Meltdown.
- What Could Have Been: Don Bluth was offered to make Ice Age as a 2D animated film, but he refused to have any part of Ice Age.
- Verbal Tic: Listening closely to Buck in Dawn of the Dinosaurs reveals that the weasel is somehow prone to neglecting the usage of the letter aitch/H in his speech....
- Villain Protagonist: Diego in the original film, especially after joining Manny and Sid in their quest to return Roshan to his tribe.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Sid is this, to Manny and Diego.
- World of Funny Animals: Averted in the first film, played straight in the sequels.