Although hardly a great sequel even when compared with the others, Ice Age: Continental Drift overcomes any problems with a thin plot with at least a modestly fun adventure with likeable characters and jokes which mostly hit the mark. No, it’s not remotely close to anything Pixar has put out or even DreamWorks Animation for that matter, but since it only clocks in at 88-minutes, it’s a breezy flick to watch on a slow afternoon which the entire family can enjoy.
Genre(s): Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Fox | PG – 88 min. – $49.99 | December 11, 2012
Directed by: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Writer(s): Michael Berg & Lori Forte (story), Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs (screenplay)
Voice Cast: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage, Keke Palmer, Wanda Sykes, Seann William Scott, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Drake, Patrick Stewart
Theatrical Release Date: July 13, 2012
Features: Interactive Viewing Mode, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Sing-Along, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Astoundingly the fourth in the internationally popular series, Ice Age: Continental Drift continues the adventures a mammoth, his tiger friend and a sloth. This addition wasn’t very well received and it’s easy to see why but I found that while the plot was thin, it was still engaging and for the most part, the jokes landed.
The plot this go around opens like the previous three with our favorite something-or-other getting into mischievous situations while trying to take hold and keep his precious acorn. His latest antics has him causing a ripple that goes to Earth’s core and causes the continents to split and separate leading to what we see today. However, the ripple effect is widespread and reaches Manny (RAY ROMANO), wife Ellie (QUEEN LATIFAH) and daughter Peaches (KEKE PALMER) who is not entering her teen years and that awkward stage especially with a mad crush on a popular mammoth, Ethan (DRAKE), in the area.
We are also re-introduced to Manny’s best pals Diego (DENIS LEARY) and Sid (JOHN LEGUIZAMO) as well as get a new character in the form of Sid’s apparently senile grandmother, well, Granny (WANDA SYKES) who was dropped off by Sid’s family who had themselves abandoned him in the first movie.
So with the continental drift happening, it causes a split which separates Manny, Diego, Sid and Granny (who was sleeping in a hollowed out tree) from the mainland and sailing off on a large piece of ice. While Ellie, Peaches and others on the land try to make it to the other side before a continental wall forces them off, Manny and company try desperately to find a way back. They then encounter a band of pirates on an icy ship, captained by Gutt (PETER DINKLAGE), tigress Shira (JENNIFER LOPEZ) serves as First Mate and scrappy rabbit Squint (AZIZ ANSARI) is next in line.
Gutt offers Manny to join their crew or else everyone will walk the plank but Manny declines but manages to get free and the fight for survival is on. They manage to get away and in the melee, sink the ship but Gutt leaves Shira to fight for herself. Before it was too late, Diego saves her and on a small piece of ice, find land only to discover later that Gutt and his crew made it to the other side and were working on forging another ship. A light bulb goes off that they could use this ship, and the current that would lead back to the mainland, to get back home.
Oh and there’s another side story going on as Manny’s family fight to get to the other side and encounter their own obstacles while Peaches experiences the teenage years as well as the meaning of friendship.
Ice Age: Continental Drift was helmed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier both of whom worked on two “Scrat” shorts while Martino directed Horton Hears a Who and Thermeier co-directed the last Ice Age installment, Age of the Dinosaur. This go around even though the plot was pretty thin, predictable and even tattered despite being simple, and something more worthy of a Disney direct-to-video sequel release, I felt the movie still was fun to sit through. Unlike a good number of the Pixar movies and even a few of DreamWorks Animation releases, this Twentieth Century Fox Animation release is not going to challenge the mind or present anything new or astounding which is probably why the studio consistently remains in third place amongst the major animation companies.
The voice casting still is top notch, though not exactly on par with its Pixar/DreamWorks brethren. Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo (the original from the first movie) still share some decent chemistry; Queen Latifah has seemingly minimal presence as the drift away plotline has more screen time, Peter Dinklage is a surprisingly effective addition as the film’s primary villain, albeit it’s still a weak one (originally Jeremy Renner was to voice the part but unsurprisingly he had a scheduling conflict); Jennifer Lopez has a nice role as the love interest for Diego; and then there’s a slew of others who have bit parts like Seann William Scott, Aziz Ansari (playing the scruffy/scrappy rabbit who will no doubt get his own short film), Nick Frost, Nicki Minaj playing a sassy teenage mammoth, and Patrick Stewart in a funny cameo voice role.
So while this was a weak and perhaps lazy sequel in a series that probably has run its course now four movies in, I still enjoyed Ice Age: Continental Drift for what it is: a fun movie for the entire family and a way to kill less than 90-minutes. The one thing this movie does is prove that 20th Century Fox Animation is a long way’s off from its competitors…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a glossy and reflective slip cover. Inside are the 3D Blu-ray (sitting on the front panel with inserts covering it), 2D Blu-ray and a DVD/Digital Copy combo disc. You can use it for either the standard DC (via iTunes) or with UltraViolet.
Party with a Pirate Mode is an enhanced viewing experience where Squint pops up and talks throughout the film providing little anecdotes, though it’s all unsurprisingly superficial and sparse.
Ice Age: The Story So Far (9:29; HD) – This shows scenes from the previous movies to show what’s happened thus far in the series. I guess this is useful if you haven’t seen the other films or it’s been a while.
Missing Links (1:46) are two discarded scenes which never got into the animation stage.
Through a Pirate’s Spyglass (25:57; HD) contain two featurettes under this heading focuses on the new villain for Continental Drift starting with the voice casting and the second delves into the character designs.
Granny and the Stink of the Sloths (9:12; HD) primarily covers the other new and eccentric character voiced not subtly by Wanda Sykes and also the others in Sid’s family.
Whale of a Tale: Drifts, Rifts, Beasties and Myths (24:05; HD) goes into the making-of the movie and how the story was based loosely in reality/science but, well, stretching things out. There’s also a history lesson in these on what actually occurred with the continental drift.
Scrat Got Your Tongue? (7:04; HD) is focused on the side, but still important, character to the franchise.
The Scratist (2:11; HD) is a spoof on The Artist but with that adorable made-up creature as he pines for the acorn. Basically, it’s scenes from the other Ice Age movies but put in black and white.
Shimmy Shake Music Section (TRT 10:53; HD) contains: Gutt’s Sing-Along, “We Are” Extended Music Video, “Chasing the Sun” Music Video and The Sid Shuffle.
Lastly there are 2 Theatrical Trailers (TRT 4:44; HD) and a Live Extras portal.
Sign Along is an interpretation by deaf actors while the film plays.
Previews – Epic, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Twentieth Century Fox releases Ice Age 4 onto Blu-ray with a clean looking, bright and eye-popping 1080p high-definition transfer. The movie, presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio, has great detail levels and is free of artifacting – not too surprising for an animated flick – but I also didn’t notice any banding which happens many times in animation. Also impressive are the black levels, though limited, which are stark. The 3D version is also fantastic showing off some nice depth throughout but also keeps the colorful array that the 2D version has. Obviously there are benefits with 3D on animated movies but even so, these are excellent transfers be it 2D or 3D.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The disc contains a rapturous 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track showcasing both the action elements as well as the score from veteran composer John Powell (the first three Bourne movies). This is a lossless track that might not “wow” you per se but it’s a solid and remarkable track.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, although hardly a great sequel even when compared with the others, Ice Age: Continental Drift overcomes any problems with a thin plot with at least a modestly fun adventure with likeable characters and jokes which mostly hit the mark. No, it’s not remotely close to anything Pixar has put out or even DreamWorks Animation for that matter, but since it only clocks in at 88-minutes, it’s a breezy flick to watch on a slow afternoon which the entire family can enjoy.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.