Cert: U Runtime: 88 mins Director: Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Nick Frost, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez and Keke Palmer
Two Sloths, a mammoth and a saber? You guys are like the start of a bad joke!
There is a reason I’m not in the stock market, I’m not sure why some movies continue to get sequels, I never figured they would try to turn Ice Age into a franchise of some sort. The first Ice Age was very cute, nothing special, but enjoyable to watch. The sequels are pretty decent over all, but I never found myself watching them twice. But I guess they were popular enough to spawn another sequel called Continental Drift.So the basic plot Scrat’s hunt for acorns triggers the break-up of the Pangaea landmass into the continents as we know them today. In the meantime, Manny (Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) deal with their teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer). Sid’s (John Leguizam0) family, appear to have been looking for him, but it is revealed that they only want to leave Sid’s annoying Granny with him and leave him again. When Manny catches Peaches hanging with friends after he told her not to, Manny and Peaches have a falling out. Soon after, the breakup of the continent separates Manny from his family. Manny gets stuck on a floating ice raft with Sid, Diego (Denis Leary) and Granny. A large moving landmass drives Ellie, Peaches, and a herd of other animals towards a land bridge, where Manny had told them to go. Manny promises to come back to them, but may have some trouble getting back.
It’s by far their most action-packed adventure yet- even more so than their previous encounter with the dinosaurs- and therefore fully poised to exploit the possibilities offered by 3D. Indeed those hesitant at shelling out the extra bucks for the additional dimension will find this a worthy investment, as directors Martino and Thurmeier are not shy to turn their adventure into a glorified roller-coaster ride- especially in the numerous POV shots when one character or another slides across the ice, glides down the glaciers and flies through the air. Scoff at the cheap thrills if you must, but there’s no denying that it makes for great fun particularly for the kids. To get into action mode, recurrent series writer Michael Berg and his newbie partner Jason Fuchs (working from a story by Berg and Lori Forte) create an irascible villain in the form of mangy ape Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage)- the leader of a motley band of pirates including an elephant seal named Mr Flynn (Nick Frost) and a white sabre-toothed tiger named Shira (Jennifer Lopez). While Diego gets a love interest in Shira, Manny gets to show off his masculine side with a mano-a-mano fight against Gutt, whose paths he inadvertently cross when he destroys the latter’s ship-berg (that’s the best name we could come up with for their icebergs turned ships) and then makes off with the latter’s replacement.
Alongside the main act of Manny and Gutt, other characters also get their own stories- Sid is visited by his cantankerous granny (Wanda Sykes) similarly abandoned by his family; and Peaches distances herself from her best friend Louis (Josh Gad) in an attempt to keep up with the in-crowd (voiced in celebrity cameos by Drake, Nicki Minaj and Glee cheerleader Heather Morris) while going against the expressed wishes of her overprotective father Manny. It all comes to a neat closure of course, and even though none of these story arcs are inventive, they at least succeed in keeping the comic energy up throughout the movie. And certainly, both Martino and Thurmeier deserve credit for sustaining a brisk snappy pace all the way, avoiding the stretches of dull that plagued the first two ‘Ice Age’ films. More than any of the previous instalments, this fourth entry confidently rests on the charms of its lead characters Manny, Sid and Diego and less on the zaniness of Scrat. It’s a surest sign yet that the franchise is truly coming into its own, further exemplified by the leaps and bounds by which Fox’s Blue Sky Studios has improved its technical standards, and you can bet that as formulaic as it is, this franchise isn’t quite going the way of the ice age anytime soon.