"Ice Age: Continental Drift" Movie Review -- How Many Kisses Do Manny the Mammoth Guy and Friends Get?
Our favorite sub-zero heroes return for “Ice Age: Continental Drift,’ the fourth installment of the popular franchise. This time, the gang is faced with global disaster involving random unfunny lines and half-baked storytelling.
Directed by Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier, this new “Ice Age” cements the fact that the series is not aging gracefully. Many of the actors are just going through the motion, reading lines as if they’re by-the-numbers. But thank heaven for Scrat! The sabre-tooth squirrel who’s nuts for nuts saves the day.
Manny the Mammoth Guy (Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) now have a teenage daughter named Peaches (Keke Palmer) who is experiencing the growing pains of falling in love. Meanwhile, Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) reunites with his cantankerous grandmother voiced by Wanda Sykes.
The key ingredient of the popularity of the “Ice Age” franchise is its focus on family. Diego, the sabre-toothed tiger voiced by Dennis Leary, says it best. When asked the difference between a pack and family, Diego sums it up by saying “We have each other’s backs.”
Having each other’s backs is what our heroes are good at even if faced with continental cataclysm that threatens to break their family apart. Scrat’s nearly deranged pursuit of the cursed acorn is to be blamed. His quest triggers world-changing consequences that catapult Manny and his crew into a whole new adventure.
One of the problems of the film is its overcrowded cast. Martino and company decide to add new characters that really did not contribute to the film’s narrative. Some of the new cast members work like Jennifer Lopez’s Shira, the sabre-toothed cat who falls in love with Diego. But some fail miserably like Sykes’ uninspired Granny.
The script by Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs offers few expositions and fewer laughs. This fourth film is unsuccessful in meeting the expectations set by the first “Ice Age” movie which is still the best of the bunch.
Borrowing a page from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, the main villain of the film is a pirate named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). He’s a prehistoric ape out to get Manny and friends. And just like the recent “Pirates” movie, mermaids make an appearance.
While “Ice Age: Continental Drift” is lacking in the storytelling department, the film provides ample visual splendor to almost forget its shortcoming. The movie uses a beautiful palette to tell the story.
If this is the last film of the franchise, then it is a good ending to a successful run. But the fourth movie offers a twist at the end that may signal a new beginning. Don’t worry, it still features our favorite Scrat.
RATING: “ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT” GETS 2 ½ KISSES
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