Ice Age is a 2002 American computer-animated buddy comedy-drama film directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha from a story by Michael J. Wilson. Produced by Blue Sky Studios as its first feature film, it was released by 20th Century Fox on March 15, 2002. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary. Set during the days of the ice age, the film centers around three main characters- Manny (Romano), a no-nonsense woolly mammoth; Sid (Leguizamo), a loudmouthed ground sloth; and Diego (Leary), a saber-tooth tiger- who come across a human baby and work together to return a human baby to its tribe. Additionally, the film occasionally follows Scrat, a speechless “saber-toothed squirrel” voiced by Wedge who is perpetually searching for a place in the ground to bury his acorn.
A saber-toothed squirrel known as Scrat attempts to find a place to store his single acorn. Eventually, as he tries to stomp it into the ground, he causes a large crack in the ground that extends for miles before setting off a large avalanche which nearly crushes him. He barely escapes, but finds himself stepped on by a herd of prehistoric animals migrating south in order to escape the forthcoming ice age. Sid, a clumsy ground sloth, is left behind by his family and decides to move on by himself but is attacked by two prehistoric rhinos whom he angered by ruining their meal. Sid is soon saved by Manny, an agitated woolly mammoth heading north, who fights the rhinos off and continues his path. Not wanting to be alone and unprotected, Sid follows Manny. Meanwhile, Soto, the leader of a pack of saber-toothed tigers, wants revenge on a group of humans for killing half of his pack, by eating the chief’s infant son, alive. Soto leads a raid on the human camp, during which the baby’s mother is separated from everyone else and jumps down a waterfall upon being cornered by Soto’s lieutenant, Diego. As punishment for his failure, Diego is sent to find and retrieve the baby.
Later, Sid and Manny spot the baby and his mother near the lake, having survived her plunge. The mother only has enough strength to entrust her baby to Manny before she disappears into the water. After much persuasion by Sid, they decide to return the baby, but when they reach the human settlement, they find it deserted. They meet up with Diego, who convinces the pair to let him help by tracking the humans. The four travel on, with Diego secretly leading them to half-peak where his pack is waiting to ambush them.
After encountering several misadventures on their way, they reach a cave with several cave paintings made by humans. There Sid and Diego learn about Manny’s past and his previous interactions with the human hunters, in which his wife and child were killed, leaving Manny a loner. Later, Manny, Sid, Diego and the baby almost reach their destination, Half-Peak, only to encounter a river of lava. Manny and Sid, along with the baby, make it across safely, but Diego freezes, about to fall into the lava. Manny saves him, narrowly missing certain death by falling into the lava himself. The herd takes a break for the night, and the baby takes his first walking steps towards Diego, who starts to change his mind about his mission.
The next day, the herd approaches the ambush, causing Diego, now full of respect for Manny for saving his life to change his mind and confess to Manny and Sid about the ambush. As the pair turn hostile towards him, Diego asks for their trust, and tries to foil the attack. The herd battles Soto’s pack, but despite their efforts, Soto’s associates manage to corner Manny. As Soto closes in for the kill on Manny, Diego sacrifices himself by jumping in the way and is injured as a result. Manny then knocks a distracted Soto into a rock wall, causing several sharp icicles to fall onto Soto, killing him. Horrified, the rest of the pack retreat. Manny and Sid mourn for Diego’s injury, which they believe is fatal, and continue their journey without him. The two manage to successfully return the baby to his tribe, and to their surprise, Diego manages to rejoin them, in time to see the baby leave. The group then begin to head off to warmer climates.
20,000 years later, Scrat, frozen in a block of ice, ends up on the shores of a tropical island. As the ice slowly melts, an acorn that was also frozen in the same ice block is washed away. Scrat then finds a coconut and tries stomp it into the ground, only to mistakenly trigger a volcanic eruption.