Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
How do you think it feels to be walking back into the theatre to watch Ice Age 4: Continental Drift? Its hard to believe but its now 10 years since Blue Sky Studios introduced us to “Team Ice”. With Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) have time and time again escaped the perils of an icy world crumbling around them. Along the way we’ve added to the crew particularly with Manny’s love interest Ellie (played by Queen Latifah). I can tell you it feels comfortable. Whether it’s the promotional shorts we’ve been used to with ‘Scratch’ the prehistoric squirrel still battling for acorn supremacy or just that we can’t get enough of Sid and his bungling ways heading to this latest edition of this prehistoric trek felt like a sure thing.
The backdrop of this story seems to come back to our cute little squirrel friend as the protagonist. It’s a lesson to us all to know when the acorn is just out of reach and probably should be left there. For ‘Scratch’ its too irresistible and his chase rocks the earth’s mantle creating continents and drawing boundaries that define new homelands. The result pushes Manny’s tribe and family apart on breaking ice flows and so a new journey begins as the family strive against the moving earth and mountains to be reunited. The journey also begins with a challenge to our values of family when Sid’s family drop off ‘Grandma’ and run for the hills. Its disturbing how Grandma is treated but also redeeming how Sid and the rest of the team validate Grandma’s quirky ways and see her play a pivotal role at the end of the movie. Wanda Sykes is delightful in the role of the geriatric sloth and gives new dimension to the story.
One of the great things about the Ice Age series is they often teach and challenge us the value of friends and family. In this edition we’re introduced to the challenge of parenting through some teenage angst. A mullet headed young man takes the eye of Manny’s daughter ‘Peaches’ and this forces her to explore her own boundaries with friends and parents. One lesson we can all learn is that loyalty comes in small packages. Thanks to Louis the hedghog we can all learn some loyalty in theface of good looking mulletted mammoths.
To challenge Manny’s journey we see a pirate band of misfits that would bring a glint of joy to Captain Barbossa’s eye. Played by Peter Dinklage, Captain Gutt the primate with attitude leads his crew to run interference with Manny, Sid and Diego’s journey. An eclectic bunch of crew in the form of rabbits, warthogs and a raccoon with a fur conveniently styled in the design of a Jolly Roger flag makes for a comical bunch of pirates. A nice connection to ‘down-under’ was the character of ‘Raz’ played by Australian comedienne, Rebel Wilson as a prehistoric kangaroo. A new stylish member of Gutt’s crew is Shira (played by Jennifer Lopez). Her snow tiger character connects with the sabre toothed Diego and all the girls in the audience go ‘Aaah’. Actually it’s the guinea pigs who make you go ‘Aaah’ but that’s another story you’ll have to see the movie to enjoy.
The director on this journey is Steve Martino and with involvement in a number of Scratch’s previous journey’s it was nice to see a more integrated approach to the Scratch character who makes more appearances through the movie. One of the classic aspects of the story was integrating both the legends of the sirens that woo sailors on to the rocks as well as the origin of the legend of Atlantis as told through Scratch’s eyes. One interesting aspect of Ice Age 4 is that it is beautifully done in 3D. In many places it enjoys the opportunity to have characters up large on screen. As always a pirate scene is too tantalizing an opportunity to push swords into the faces of a setup audience. Sometimes its too much but I couldn’t help but feel that the comedy of Ice Age actually kept you begging for more.
See if you can spot Patrick Stewart amongst the action. Its certainly a talented cast of voice talent but as always a great story spiced with humour keeps Ice Age lining up for another trek. I like consistency and Ice Age has stuck to an old tried and true family recipe resulting in a great experience.
Reviewed by: Andrew Pitchford