Ice Age: Continential Drift Review
Blue Sky Studios has always been under the shadow of Pixar and DreamWorks, but the “Ice Age” series has been popular with families the world over, and so the fourth movie of this lucrative franchise has arrived in the form of Ice Age: Continental Drift
After another misadventure with his nut, Scrat falls to the center of the Earth (without the pressure and heat killing him) and accidentally breaks the world into the continents we know today, which ends up affecting our main protagonists. Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) is now an over-protective father to his teenage daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer) who has fallen for a boy, Ethan (Drake). Sid’s (John Leguizamo) family also returns just so they can dump his insane grandmother, Granny (Wanda Sykes) on him, and Diego the Sabre-toothed Cat (Denis Leary) is involved because, eh … because.
When the continents split Manny, Sid, Diego and Granny are trapped on an iceberg and end up crossing the vicious pirate Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his motley crew. While at home, Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Peaches have to lead the animals to safety as Manny tries to make his way back.
The “Ice Age” series has always been a safe series; it offers nothing groundbreaking, and “Continental Drift” continues down this route. “Continental Drift” is formulaic and predictable and you can see how plot points will play out from a mile off. But this movie will not make children dumber and they are not talked down to. There are worse family movies and children are smart enough to know the “Ice Age” series is not a science or history lesson.
The jokes throughout are hit and miss, some working better then others. Being kid friendly, the humor is mostly physical, namely slapstick, and occasionally there are witty lines, mainly from Leary and Romano. Scrat still provides a lot of silent humor and he is a loveable, old-fashioned cartoon character.
There are plenty of new additions who would properly return for sequels such as Peaches, Shira (another saber-toothed cat voiced by Jennifer Lopez) and Granny, but the main characters sometimes felt underused in the franchise they helped build. Diego is given a romantic sub-plot but generally does not do much in the proceedings. Sid too was overshadowed because of the huge amount of comic relief characters, and his material was not funny enough. Dinklage of Game of Thrones
fame was a stand-out performer, playing a straight pirate with a lot menace, while Nick Frost was very funny as an extremely stupid elephant seal.
“Continental Drift” is a movie filled with an all star cast, which raises the questions, were they all needed? Was Heather Morris from Glee
really offering anything as a teenage mammoth in a really tiny role, or Seann William Scott and Josh Peck used to their fullest?
“Continental Drift” is also a movie overloaded with plots. There is Manny and co. trying to get back to their herd while being chased by Captain Gutt, Diego’s love-hate relationship with Shira, and Ellie leading the herd as a awkward, geeky teenager trying to impress a boy and his “cool” friends in a clichéd story. And there is the overarching story of a father having to accept his daughter is growing up, a story we have all seen in many forms before. The combination of all these characters and story elements is too much for one movie when previous entries were much simpler.
“Continental Drift” is a unremarkable, non-memorable movie, but it is harmless enough and it does have some humorous moments. Without question, worse movies have been made for children.