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Fame snowballs for 'Ice Age's' Scrat on new DVD

The hapless furry creature has its own five-minute animated adventure short.

November 25, 2002|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

The most popular character to emerge from the computer-animated film "Ice Age," was Scrat, the little rat-squirrel creature whose dash to store an acorn in the frozen ground accidentally starts the Ice Age. So on the DVD of "Ice Age" (Fox, $30), which arrives in stores Tuesday, the hapless rodent headlines his own five-minute animated short, "Scrat's Missing Adventure."

In this computer-animated outing, Scrat finds a nut behind a patch of grass and scrambles up a tree, where he has neatly arranged thousands of nuts.

There is just one spot remaining for the new acorn, and as he struggles to fit it in, the ground shifts....

Studios are always looking for "added value" elements for their DVDs; creating new shorts seems to be the latest trend. Disney's disc for "Monsters, Inc." has one called "Mike's New Car," and on the DVD of DreamWorks' "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," viewers can create their own "Spirit" short film.

It wasn't difficult to come up with the plot for "Missing Adventure," says Chris Wedge, who directed "Ice Age" and is executive producer of the short.

"During 'Ice Age,' we had a lot of Scrat ideas that never made it into the film," he says. "At one point [during production], we were just trying to come up with gags for Scrat because everybody was enjoying it so much. So we had a lot of gags sitting around."

Incredibly, Scrat was never in the script of "Ice Age." But, Wedge says, "I wanted to come up with an opening for the movie that was a bit more comical and thematically involved with the title, because the movie starts in autumn, so everyone's migrating and you don't see any snow until the third reel. So I thought, let's start up in the mountains and come down. A glacier should chase somebody down and who could it be? The smallest guy we can find so it can be pretty funny."

Fox executives loved the sequence so much, says Wedge, that they used it as a teaser trailer nine months before the movie was released in the spring.

Wedge says they have more ideas for other Scrat shorts and he will be featured prominently in the "Ice Age" sequel, which is in the planning stages.

"He is just after one thing," Wedge says. "He wants to be one with his nut and he can't quite get it. For me, it was all very metaphoric."

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