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Movie Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift

July 13, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift – A 20th Century Release

http://www.iceagemovie.com/

Release Date: July 13th, 2012

Rated PG for some scary scenes and animated action

Running time: 87 minutes

Steve Martino (dir.)

Mike Thurmeier (dir.)

Michael Berg (screenplay)

Jason Fuchs (screenplay)

John Powell (music)

Ray Romano as Manny (voice)

Queen Latifah as Ellie (voice)

Denis Leary as Diego (voice)

John Leguizamo as Sid (voice)

Keke Palmer as Peaches (voice)

Seann William Scott as Crash (voice)

Josh Peck as Eddie (voice)

Chris Wedge as Scrat (voice)

Josh Gad as Louis (voice)

Peter Dinklage as Captain Gutt (voice)

Jennifer Lopez as Shira (voice)

Wanda Sykes as Granny (voice)

 

©20th Century Fox.  All Rights Reserved.

Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), Sid (John Leguizamo), Granny (Wanda Sykes) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) try to escape a band of pirates in Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Our reviews below:

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Ice Age: Continental Drift Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

The fourth in the popular and easily enjoyable Ice Age series from Blue Sky Studios, Continental Drift is an efficiently produced animated film that plays well to its target audience of kids who likely weren’t even born yet when the superior first one was released back in 2002.  Everyone else will find a harmless diversion that has enough clever gags and appealing characters to keep it going for the brief running time of 87 minutes.

Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie’s (Queen Latifah) mammoth daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is now a teenager, being raised with the mixed influences of her family of sorts which includes endearingly simple sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) and the gentle sabre toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary).  But the three guys and Sid’s elderly Granny (Wanda Sykes) are separated when a chunk of ice drifts off from the mainland, and they find themselves battling a group of pirates run by the fierce Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and white sabre tooth Shira (Jennifer Lopez), in order to safely get back to their family and friends.

The story is simple and often predictable, but the messages about the importance of helping your friends and family ring true loud and clear for even the youngest members of the audience.  The animation and voice acting by the large ensemble cast are consistently good, and there are also plenty of clever gags of both the verbal and visual variety.  The loveable Scrat once again steals the show on his quest for his precious acorn, including some brilliant set pieces at the beginning and end of the film.

I enjoyed the first three Ice Age films, and Continental Drift provides more of the same with the pleasantly diverting characters.  Kids will love the movie for all of the energy on display, and adults certainly won’t mind going to the theatre, where they will be pleasantly surprised by the funny little Simpsons short The Longest Daycare that precedes the film.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

The fourth in the series of films, Ice Age: Continental Drift again stars familiar characters Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary), as three in a ragtag herd that are just trying to survive the tumultuous times of the ice age.  Meanwhile, Scrat is still after that acorn – which sets into motion the whole plot after he accidentally sets the continents adrift to the positions they are in today.  (The opening of the film is akin to the short film we got a few years back that featured Scrat.)

When Manny gets stranded with Diego and Sid on a newly formed iceberg, he will stop at nothing to get back to his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah), and daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) who are still on the mainland (an interesting note is that Latifah and Palmer also played mother and daughter in this year’s Joyful Noise).  Meanwhile, adrift in the Atlantic, they get captured by a band of pirates led by ape Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his crew of misfits, one of which is another saber tooth named Shira (Jennifer Lopez).  Along with all of the new characters, all of the old familiar ones are back too, even if only briefly.

The Ice Age movies have always been very busy visually with tons happening in the background and bright colours.  Coupling this with plots that are fairly simple featuring relatable storylines about family and working together, makes these films perfect for the younger ones in the audience.  Parents won’t mind coming along for the ride too, but most adults won’t be buying a ticket necessarily on their own.  Still for those that do come along, there is fun voice work, good animation to look at, and a pleasant score by John Powell.

Personally, I have been amused by all of the Ice Age films, and while they won’t be making Best Animated of the Year lists, they are still light fun entertainment for the summer months.  Before the film we are also treated to a Simpsons short film.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Ice Age gang is back.  Beginning with the short film Continental Crack-Up in which one of Scrat’s acorn mishaps causes Pangea to break into the seven continents we know today, Continental Drift follows the aftershocks of the crack-up.  When Manny (Ray Romano) gets separated from his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) after an argument over a boy mammoth, she blames herself for the earthquake and sets off with mom Ellie (Queen Latifah) to find Manny.

Manny, along with Diego the sabre tooth tiger (Denis Leary), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Sid’s eccentric Granny (Wanda Sykes) get caught on a pirate ice floe captained by an evil monkey named Gutt (Peter Dinklage).  His crew includes a bad bunny, a kangaroo, several lemming slaves, a blue footed booby and a pretty girl sabre tooth named Shira (Jennifer Lopez).

Continental Drift is fun for kids and watchable for adults.  While the storyline, character development and animation is nowhere near as good as the Madagascar films, Ice Age is still entertaining.  The voice cast is good and there is nothing in the way of objectionable material.  This is a movie for the whole family.

As the first Simpsons short film, The Longest Daycare takes a critical look at the modern education system.  After undergoing a robotic IQ test, Maggie is placed with the “nothing special” average tots.  Winding up as “playmate” to a mean kid who kills butterflies, Maggie rescues a caterpillar in order to allow it to grow up safely out of the mean kid’s reach.  Told silently with only a musical score and animation, The Longest Daycare is an intelligent film that respects its young audience.  

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Ice Age: Continental Drift Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Scrat, the acorn obsessed rodent is back and this time in Ice Age: Continental Drift, his antics lead to a whole lot of trouble for the rest of the Ice Age regulars.  Scrat remains the high point in the animated franchise, but if you liked the main prehistoric characters in the previous three films, you’ll like them here.

The only real change is that little Peaches (Keke Palmer) is now a teenager driving poor dad Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano) and mom Ellie (Queen Latifah) crazy with her crush on the local mammoth cutie Ethan (Drake).  When the Earth literally starts to break apart, Peaches and Ellie are stranded on land while Manny, Diego the sabre tooth tiger (Denis Leary), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and his annoying Granny (Wanda Sykes) are set adrift on an ice floe.

The scary (for really little kids) adventure begins when Manny and the other ice floe travellers encounter a mean band of pirates on an iceberg ship led by ape-pirate Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his first mate Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a white coated sabre toothed tiger.  The pirate crew are a little scary looking but end up being no match for Manny and gang, especially when Sid enlists the help of some island guinea pigs and Granny calls on her imaginary pet Precious.

All ends well for the mammoth family and their friends, this is after all a family friendly film just like the first three films.  This fourth Ice Age is predictable fun for kids and watchable entertainment for grown ups.  The animation and voice acting are consistently good throughout the franchise, though by now the whole concept doesn’t feel as fresh as it did the first time around.

Still, anyone looking to entertain a youngster for an hour and a half in an air conditioned theatre with lots of popcorn and pop will find Ice Age: Continental Drift to be a safe choice.  As always, stay through the end credits for a fun musical number with the talented voice cast.  Also make sure to arrive early to see the brilliantly cynical and humorous short film The Longest Daycare.  Using only music and animation, Simpsons creator Matt Groening gives kids and adults alike an interesting and amusing take on early childhood education.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Ice Age: Continental Drift is the fourth animated Ice Age film bringing back the familiar original characters Manny the mammoth (Roy Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the sabre-tooth tiger (Denis Leary). Manny’s mate Ellie (Queen Latifah) returns along with new characters including their teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), her suitor Ethan (Drake), Sid’s granny (Wanda Sykes), pirate tiger Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and the fierce pirate ape Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). As always, the film is bookended by scenes of the squirrel Scrat chasing acorns, this time setting off the splitting of continents that separates Manny from his family, leading to an iceberg odyssey to reunite with them, challenged by pirates.

The Ice Age franchise is aimed toward kids, and this film is no exception. The beautifully rendered non-stop cartoon action is amusing enough for adults, but without strong plot lines to go along with it I have always had trouble staying awake through the constant barrage of busy images, even in 2D.

The voice cast is first rate, with numerous celebrities in addition to those mentioned above, and the musical score by John Powell is excellent, particularly during the Scrat sequences mashing up themes from Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The closing credits feature a pleasant music video showing the main voice actors alongside their characters. Finally to their credit, Blue Sky Studios, like Pixar (unlike Dreamworks and others), has kept most production in house, as seen in credits without hundreds of scrolling names from India, Korea or other outsourced countries.

In summary young Ice Age fans will not be disappointed. Even if it is missed in theatres, like the previous three films the home version will guarantee hours of entertainment once it comes out. By the way, adults are sure to be amused by the five minute Matt Groening Simpsons short preceding the film.

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Consensus: The fourth film in the popular Ice Age series, Continental Drift provides plenty of harmless animated entertainment for kids, with enough clever gags and likeable characters to keep adults watching.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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