If there’s something you can always count on with the Ice Age franchise it’s that there will always be an abundance of ice and that Scrat’s hunt for his elusive acorn will always end in pain. Expanding the franchise to its fourth film, Ice Age: Continental Drift continues from where Dawn of the Dinosaurs left off with Manny and Ellie raising their daughter, Peaches, and living peacefully with the rest of the heard. That all changes when Scrat screws everything up and causes the formation of the continents which creates a vast ocean that separates Manny, Diego, and Sid from the rest of the pack. The ocean is no place for a mammoth, saber-toothed cat, and sloth, especially when there’s a dangerous pirate ape roaming the high seas.
There’s more of a cohesive story this time around with Manny attempting to reunite with his family after being separated by the shifts in the Earth. Surprisingly, dinosaurs are completely absent from the film. Maybe Buck forced them all into hiding after the last film, I don’t know. Things are complicated when a great pirate ape eyes Manny and his “crew.” This isn’t some kind Noah’s Ark looking to save the world’s population, though, as this ape has it out for himself.
Continental Drift introduces some of the most diverse and interesting characters to the franchise. There’s the ruthless Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage), a massive ape who rules the seas aboard his ice ship with a surly crew of outcasts. His second in command is Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a female saber-toothed cat who Diego takes a liking to. We’re also introduced to Granny (Wanda Sykes), Sid’s 80-year-old grandmother who proves that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. It’s a good mix of characters, with Gutt being the most impressive with his boisterous attitude. The fact that he’s voiced by the award-winning Peter Dinklage should be reason enough to see this movie.
As with the previous films in the franchise, Continental Drift is primarily for the kids. There’s nothing too complex about the story and the humor won’t ruffle any feathers. There’s even an impromptu song and dance number in the middle of the film for no apparent reason. It’s this kind of stuff that will keep the kids entertained for an hour and a half. If you’re looking for the next Brave or The Lorax it’s better to keep searching, though.
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