Ice Age: Continental Drift

The fourth installment of Ice Age adds some trepidation to the franchise. Not on the part of the films, but on the part of the audience. Is this franchise the new millenium’s Land Before Time?

At least the voice talent’s good, despite the jokes getting old and the stories getting all the more absurd.

Strange that a film that takes place in a frozen place could feel so stale.

Here’s a trailer that makes it looks better than it is:

Now the deets:

Released July 13, 2012

Written by Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs

Directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier

Starring Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Heather Morris, Nicki Minaj, Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Peter Dinklage, Sean William Scott, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Wanda Sykes, Rebel Wilson, Patrick Stewart, and Alan Tudyk.

Rated: PG

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Story

The three pals from the original film, Manny the mammoth (Romano), Diego the Sabertooth Tiger (Leary), and Sid the.. whatever (Leguizamo) return in this fourth installment, accompanied by Manny’s … wife?, Ellie, and his daughter, Peaches. These are played by Queen Latifah and Keke Palmer.

Peaches is a teenage mammoth doing teenage human things.

Surrounding this core crew are plenty of other colorful characters, most important of which is  Scrat, the acorn-obsessed squirrel. Scrat sets off continental drift and our heroes’ home is threatened as earthquakes and geological upheavals approach. The original three get separated from Manny’s family and the rest of the critters that have been adopted into the crew’s herd and they spend the rest of the film trying to get back with the extended herd.

Manny, Diego, and Sid become stranded on an iceberg that’s floating off into the deep blue ocean, whereupon they encounter pirates led by Peter Dinklage’s voice and find an albino female sabertooth tiger named Shira, voiced by Jennifer Lopez. The pirates aren’t very nice, but you know where this is going. Everyone’s glad that Diego gets a love interest.

Toss in some tiny and cute but courageous creatures, some iceberg pirate ships, some artificial conflict, and some teen epiphanies, along with the expected slapstick humor and zingers, and you’ve got an Ice Age film.

Critique

Ice Age: Continental Drift is a fine kids’ film if you have pretty average standards or your family is already fairly invested in this world and these characters. It’s no Wall-E, or Finding Nemo. Heck, it’s not even anywhere near as great as the first one, but it’s entertaining.

What should concern most people is the sheer volume of remarkable actors and performers involved in this project. If you feel like you have to load your animated film so heavily with these names, it’s possible your story has very little to offer. Such is the case with this the fourth Ice Age film.

The fact is that the voice actors, not all of whom are listed above, do a perfectly fine job: they were paid to voice act and they get the job done, earning their paycheck.

But Ice Age: Continental Drift is largely a repetition of the sight gags we’ve seen multiple times and tired jokes that arise from Sid’s cluelessness, Diego’s gruffness, and Manny’s Romano-ness.

All of that said, it’s a fine movie, just smoothed and too rounded– it hits the right bases but in an uninteresting way. It’s lackluster, but easy to watch and ingest and it’s not overtly bad; just plain and an unnecessary money-grab. Plain like a vanilla cookie, really. And wouldn’t you rather have an Oreo, anyway?

Content warnings: Nothing really. It’s too bland for edginess.

Writing: 2.5          Acting (voice): 4.5          Overall: 3.5

You need to share this review now before your continent drifts and you can’t reach your keyboard anymore.

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About jared

Jared Garrett works as a writer, the manager of a program development department in the corporate world, and an instructional designer. He is a family man with an adorable, fun, and way-too-smart wife, six silly kids, a new house with an overgrown back yard, seven fish, and a bunch of chickens. He has written fiction, user manuals, SEO copy, radio scripts and textbooks and has won first place in the Mayhew writing contest at BYU and received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. He lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains and is currently seeking representation for his myriad completed novels.
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