Ice Age: Continental Drift
- Released: Thursday, 28 June 2012
- Runtime: 92 mins.
- Distributor: 20th Century Fox.
Also known simply as “Ice Age 4”, and following the release of the first Ice Age film, ten years ago, this is the fourth animated film in the Ice Age series, and probably not the last.
The film uses a process first used in “Avatar” (2009). It is geared optimally to 3-D release (although the film is also released in 2-D format), and is the first of the series to show a change in Director(s). As for animated movies in a popular series, it has already spawned two Ice Age video games, and a Christmas special (2011) on TV. The last in the series was “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (2009), and it made more than $US887 mil. at the box office. Living on the reputation of a very successful series, each Ice Age movie that has been made has brought in more money than the one before.
The plot is familiar. This movie is about a group of animals trying to survive the Palaeolithic ice age. A cataclysmic event sets the entire continent adrift, and Manny, a woolly Mammoth (Ray Romano), Diego, a sabre-toothed cat (Denis Leary), and Sid, a giant ground-sloth (John Leguizamo), get separated from the rest of the herd, and grab an iceberg to stay afloat. They use the iceberg as a make-shift ship, and battle sea creatures and ruthless pirates on the journey back home. The reunion of Scrat, a sabre-toothed squirrel (Chris Wedge) with his fateful nut takes him (and the group) to places none of them have been before. Scrat, who is in eternal pursuit of his beloved acorn, is never far behind Manny, Sid and Diego, and they all embark on a wild adventure.
Sid reunites with his long-lost family. Along the way, they come across a group of pirates led by Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage), a prehistoric orang-utan, who is intent on stopping them from returning home. Queen Latifah (who has been in the series from Ice Age 2) voices the role of Ellie, a mammoth, who is Manny’s partner.
This film focuses more heavily than the previous ones on the character of Diego, who has emerged through time as the most popular character in the Ice Age series. Possibly pandering to popular expectation, Diego falls in love with another sabre-tooted cat, Shira (Jennifer Lopez), who is a member of Captain Gutt’s crew, and this throws the focus a little away from the entertainment value of the series’ most likeable individual character. In any “Ice Age 5”, though, one hopes that the villainous Captain Gutt will find his way back to give us more of his great comedy routines.
The animation in the movie is excellent, and the technology used in the film takes the movie to new heights of computer-generated animation, and levels of large-screen enjoyment. The movie is very family-friendly. There are the expected messages of family values, loyalty and friendship, but they are only conveyed superficially. Familiar characters are voiced by familiar people, though new characters are introduced to maintain some degree of novelty.The sirens that attempt to sing Manny and his group to their doom are a nice, inventive touch, as also Scrat finding acorn heaven (before he wrecks it) to the sounds of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
This is a good movie in the series, which still has teenage - as well as child-appeal. Its impact is due heavily to the innovative technology that it has adopted. Soon, the group of mammoths will run out of plots, but for the time being “Ice Age 4” guarantees that a highly successful franchise is being maintained, and it will take its audience along with it.