|“||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!||„|
|~ Soto ordering Diego to bring him the baby when the pack attacks the tribe.|
Soto is the main antagonist of the defunct Blue Sky Studios' 1st animated feature film Ice Age, the first installment of the Ice Age film series.
He is the deadly and dangerous leader of his pack that was made up of Zeke, Oscar, Lenny, and Diego. Soto was infatuated with revenge and planned on taking out a group of Neanderthal tribesmen and eating Roshan, their youngest child, in vengeance for the murders of his fellow pack members, done by the hands of the humans.
Soto is a manipulative and aggressive predator who feels no regret or guilt for killing both prey and human, most likely turned cold due to his other members of his pack being murdered at the hands of the humans, which started his extreme hatred for them. Driven by poetic justice for his fallen comrades, he is dedicated to stalking out his victims and striking against them in revenge for those who had wronged him. Soto seems to show no care or thought for anyone but himself and his fellow pack members (likely due to not wanting to lose any more of them the way he had lost many others, which could be his one redeeming quality), but he is not above flying into a rage if his pack fails their tasks. He also will not hesitate to use deadly force against those who defy him, as shown by his battle with Diego at the climax of the movie.
Due to his immense strength, Soto was the leader of his pack, leading his pack in hunts for food. After several of his fellow pack members were murdered by a tribe of humans, he was taken over by the temptations of revenge, acting out on a perverted vision of justice, choosing to go after the humans instead of migrating down south like all the other animals.
Executing the Plan
Soto declared that they would kill off the humans' youngest, a baby named Roshan, as an act of revenge to strike back at the humans. Soto and his most trusted assistant, Diego, plan an attack on the human camp, so that while he and three other sabers would attack the humans as a distraction, Diego would slip in, stealthily, and take Roshan without being noticed, as a chance to put their plans into motion. Soto then ordered Diego to alert the others for an attack at dawn.
The very next morning, Soto and his pack ambushed the camp, taking attention away from the tent in which Roshan was located in, and as planned, Diego took advantage of this and slipped in, undetected, to take Roshan, until the baby's mother Nadia hurried in and snatched him up before Diego could do so. Diego catches up to the woman, eventually cornering her at the edge of a cliff overlooking a huge waterfall. The woman grabs her baby and leaps into the raging river several meters below before Diego could attack. Thus, the plan failed and the pack is forced to retreat. Soto is angry at Diego's failure, but gives him another chance. He told the rest of his pack that they will go to Half Peak and orders Diego to meet them there with the baby, adding that the baby had better be alive or else.
|“||Oscar: Soto's getting tired of waiting.
Zeke: Yeah, yeah. He said "come back with the baby... or don't come back at all!"
|~ Oscar and Zeke telling Diego to come back with the baby or don't come back.|
On the way to Half Peak, the pack stopped for the night, and Soto sent out two from the pack, Oscar and Zeke, to deliver a message to Diego, who was accompanied by Manny and Sid. Soto told his two pack members to deliver a message to Diego, informing him to either come back with Roshan or to not come back at all. Diego, in response, told them to inform Soto that he'd bring back the baby, along with a mammoth. He did, however, tell Oscar and Zeke to inform Soto and the rest of the group about the mammoth, and to get everybody else ready.
After getting closer to Half Peak with the mammoth, sloth and baby, Diego once again rejoined with his pack and met with Soto, who was beginning to get anxious about Diego, but expressed his approval at Diego's efforts. Unbeknownst to Soto, however, Diego had joined forces with Manny and Sid, in his own plan to save Roshan and escape unharmed. He had already admitted to his initial plans, and the three of them had come up with an alternative plan to overcome Soto and the other sabers.
The pack had lain in wait at Soto's orders, as they were ordered not to move until they saw the mammoth. Sid came into view first, carrying what the pack presumed to be Roshan. Diego, who was trying to sabotage the attack, convinced Zeke to jump out of hiding too early, essentially blowing the group's cover. Outraged by the group's disobedience, Soto got angry and chased after them, which caught Sid's attention. Sid, however, knew it would happen and sped away with a bundle in his paws on a pair of skis fashioned from two large pieces of bark, to be chased by Soto and the others until he lost his footing and dropped the bundle of clothing, which Soto pawed at, only to find that it was a decoy made of snow. Soto angrily ordered his pack to capture Sid instead. Lenny and Oscar indeed chased the sloth, only to get ambushed by Manny, who clobbered both of them with a log.
Soto then found Diego and Manny and invited Diego to help bring the mammoth down, only to find out about Diego's betrayal. Enraged, Soto fought with Diego while Lenny and Oscar cornered Manny. The fight between the two was evenly matched until Soto threw Diego into a rock, knocking him unconscious. With Diego out of the way, Soto turned his attention over to Manny.
Soto prepares to leap in for the kill on Manny, but Diego stands in the way by protecting Manny and refuses to let Soto harm the mammoth. Without any second thought or regrets, Soto strikes down and slashes Diego, severely wounding him. Before he can strike down Diego, Soto then hears Roshan's cries and notices Sid with the baby and, with an evil grin, closes in for the kill to have his revenge. However, Manny shoves Soto aside with his tusks, flinging him into a stone wall, the impact causing several sharp icicles from the top of the wall to fall onto the evil saber, impaling and instantly killing him. After Soto's death, the rest of his pack, now leaderless, flee in terror, never to return again.
|“||Look at that beautiful baby, Diego. Isn't it nice that he'll be joining us for breakfast? (Diego: It wouldn't be breakfast without him.) Especially since his Daddy wiped out half our pack, and wears our skin to keep warm. An eye for an eye, don't you think? (Diego: Let's show that human what happens when he messes with sabers.)||„|
|~ Soto and Diego planning to attack the humans at their camp.|
|“||Where's the baby? (Diego: I lost it over the falls.) YOU LOST IT?! (the humans throw spears at the pack, forcing them to flee) I want that baby, Diego! (Diego: I'll get it!) You'd better! Unless you wanna serve yourself as a replacement. We'll go up to Half Peak. Meet us there. It'd better be alive!||„|
|~ Soto ordering Diego to meet him and the others at Half Peak and bring Roshan alive with him there.|
|“||WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! (Diego: Leave... the mammoth... alone.) Fine. I'll take you down first.||„|
|~ Soto's last words.|
- Despite being the main antagonist, Soto has a relatively small amount of screentime due to the film mostly focusing on Manny, Sid, and Diego's journey to protect the child.
- Soto and Gutt are the only villains in the Ice Age franchise to be betrayed by their right-hand minions, Diego to Soto and Shira to Gutt. Both traitors then became anti-heroes in the next films, and also Sabretooths interestingly.
- Before both of their deaths (though Gutt could be alive), they get thrown by Manny. Manny tossed Soto to the wall where the icicles impaled him to death while Manny hits Gutt with a stick where he lands into the sea where he gets eaten alive by the sirens.
- In the Game Boy Advance game, he has black stripes, unlike the original film.
- Christopher Walken, Chazz Palminteri, the late Alan Rickman, Michael Wincott, and the late James Gandolfini were all considered for the role of Soto before Goran Višnjić was cast. Wincott was the voice of Scroop in Treasure Planet.
- Goran Višnjić was considered for the role of Hopper in the animated Pixar film A Bug's Life, an animated movie that also starred Denis Leary.
- Soto has the distinction of being the first Blue Sky Studios main antagonist.