'Ice Age' sequel hopes to be even cooler this time
The heat is on in "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," the March 31 follow-up to 2002's surprise computer-animated hit that scooped up $176.4 million at the box office.
The story: A global thaw threatens to turn the prehistoric world of Manfred the morose woolly mammoth (voice of Ray Romano), Sid the lisping sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the snappish saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) into a soggy mess. Our fur-bearing heroes must warn their fellow creatures of the imminent peril.
They also are dealing with personal issues, such as possible extinction.
"Manny believes he's the last woolly mammoth on Earth, and the other animals pitch in to help him find another one," says Carlos Saldanha, who co-directed "Ice Age" and solos on the sequel.
A potential mate for Manny is discovered: Ellie, voiced by Queen Latifah. As the hip-hop royal herself puts it, "She's my kind of girl, thick and full-bodied."
Fast Tony is a shady armadillo whose patter is supplied by Jay Leno.
"He's like a used-car salesman who takes advantage of the coming crisis, like selling reeds to use to breathe underwater," the director says.
Never fear, Scrat fans. The jittery squirrel-rat will be back, too, chasing that elusive nut.
As for those doomed dodos, "they have a surprise cameo," the director said.