While younger kids will likely find some amusement in the fourth instalment of the highly successful Ice Age franchise, the ship has sailed when it comes to pleasing the adults in the audience. It’s easily the dullest in the franchise, feeling slapped together almost at random, and with very little to keep parents engaged.
Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the Sabertooth Tiger (Denis Leary) find themselves in the midst of a new adventure when the continents begin to drift, separating them from friends and family and setting them out to sea on an ice floe where they are constantly thwarted in their efforts to get home by a gang of animal pirates looking to kill and eat our heroes.
The additions of some new voice talent – including Jennifer Lopez as a love interest for Leary’s Tiger, Wanda Sykes as Sid’s unhinged grandmother, Peter Dinklage as the bloodthirsty baboon pirate captain, and particularly Nick Frost as a dimwitted seal and Aziz Ansari as a psychotic bunny – add a little bit and the interplay between the leads is still as effortless as ever, but the jokes are uninspired aside from a few chuckle worthy moments and the story is beyond weak.
Now that the franchise enters its fourth film and every character arc is pretty much fleshed out, the fact that they all have their own flimsy storyline on top of the film’s bigger and tired storyline about pirates (another filmmaking trend that seems to have run its course) makes it hard to start caring about what’s happening. We know the characters and like them because of what we’ve seen previously, but they never have that much to do here.
Kids will probably gravitate towards the tightly paced 3D action sequences here, but since most of the film takes place in open water there aren’t even many good backgrounds to look at. It feels kind of cheap.
Preceding the film, however, is a Maggie Simpson short that should satisfy the older crowd. It doesn’t feature any voice talents when showing Maggie attempting to protect a butterfly from getting squashed by the evil looking unibrow baby, but it showcases just how well The Simpsons has endured with visual gags alone. That’s something the guys behind Ice Age: Continental Drift should have take note of.
Cast: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary
Directed by: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
Top image: A scene from Ice Age: Continental Drift. Courtesy 20th Century Fox.