Film review: Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift

There may not be humans to rescue, a meltdown of time, or dinosaurs to adopt but Manny, Diego and Sid are back for yet another adventure in the ice age. Ice Age: Continental Drift is the fourth instalment brought out by Twentieth Century Fox, where the animation has improved and evolved beyond the previous entries.

The audience sees the trio embark upon a huge yet predictable voyage as they are separated from the rest of the herd and are swept away on an iceberg-cum-makeshift-ship in the ocean. Stranded, they are soon met by a ragtag group of pirates. This menagerie of riff-raff are led by master of the sea, monkey Captain Gutt, voiced by none other than Peter Dinklage.

Entertaining as this antagonist was, with his rotting gold teeth and swash buckling ways, his menacing demeanour is soon shaken off as he breaks out in a cheerful song awkwardly coupled with lyrics about how deviously scary he is meant to be. Failing somewhat to live up to the self-proclaimed infamy, when he captures and ties up the three amigos, he forces nut-chasing squirrel Scrat to dance next to his friends as punishment in a coconut bra.

The humour of the film is saved by the return of Scrat’s pursuit of the cursed acorn. The chase of his nutty treasure proves to have some world-changing consequences – a continental cataclysm that splits up all the land in the world into, well, continents, thus separating Manny and his friends from their beloved families and forcing them to fight ruthless pirates to find their way home.

Throughout this epic seafaring quest, we are introduced to an unusual concoction of new characters, voiced by stars such as J-Lo, Nicki Minaj, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Patrick Stewart. Wanda Sykes is effortless in her performance as Sid’s cantankerous Grandma who has an imaginary pet whale called Precious.

There may be some plot lines that tinker on unbelievable but the sarcasm from start to finish brings this movie home. It is certainly a far cry from The Land Before Time films where naivety and innocence were the underlying principles parents wanted their children to adhere to. Times have changed, and films (particularly animated) are marketed to adults as much as they are to children. Simple character Sid (John Leguizamo) puts it simply: “It doesn’t make sense but it sure was fun”.

Back in June 2012 I started as a Culture Writer for The Upcoming. I was given the chance to see the new Ice Age film in July 2012.

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