Ice Age: Continental Drift

Cast:
Ray Romano as Manny (voice)
John Leguizamo as Sid (voice)
Denis Leary as Diego (voice)
Queen Latifah as Ellie (voice)
Peter Dinklage as Captain Gutt (voice)
Jennifer Lopez as Shira (voice)
Wanda Sykes as Granny (voice)
Keke Palmer as Peaches (voice)
Aziz Ansari as Squint (voice)
Joy Behar as Eunice (voice)
Nick Frost as Flynn (voice)
Josh Gad as Louis (voice)
Ben Gleib as Marshall (voice)
Nicki Minaj as Steffie (voice)
Heather Morris as Katie (voice)
Kunal Nayyar as Gupta (voice)
Josh Peck as Eddie (voice)
Seann William Scott as Crash (voice)
Alan Tudyk as Milton / Hunky Siren (voice)
Chris Wedge as Scrat (voice)

Directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier

Summary:
The “Ice Age” franchise finally runs out of steam with this mediocre entry into the series. While it may entertain younger fans, adults will likely be bored by it.

Story:
As Sid, Manny, and Diego take care of their herd family, they find all sorts of new problems to deal with. Sid’s long lost family dumps his senile grandmother in his lap and then disappears. Diego deals with being a lone Saber-toothed tiger among a family of other species. And Manny discovers one of the joys of parenthood – dealing with a teenager. His daughter Peaches is starting to get boy crazy and pushes him farther away the more he tries to control her. As if things weren’t difficult enough, the continents start breaking apart.

Amid the violent shift in the land masses, Manny, Sid, Diego, and Granny find themselves adrift in the ocean on an iceberg. It’s there that they encounter a gang of ruthless pirates led by the simian Captain Gutt. How will Manny and his friends make it home as they face peril on the high seas?

“Ice Age: Continental Drift” is rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril.

What Worked:
With each “Ice Age” sequel, a few more characters are added to the lineup. This time around, it’s Peter Dinklage as Captain Gutt. I didn’t realize Dinklage was the voice of the character until the credits of the film rolled, so I was definitely impressed. Looking back at his filmography, this is the first time he has done voice work for animation and he has a knack for it. He menaces our heroes, he brings life to the seagoing simian, and he even sings. Dinklage is a good example for any aspiring actor on how to diversify your filmography and not be typecast.

Dinklage is also the lead singer of a musical number about Captain Gutt, and it’s one of the few moments where the movie starts treading new territory – that of a musical. And as much as anyone is loathe to see them fall into the Disney animation formula, it’s one of the few times in “Ice Age: Continental Drift” where everything is actually clicking. The song is funny, the characters are comically dancing, and it’s something you haven’t seen the characters do in the previous three movies. It works and they probably could have used more of it.

What Didn’t Work:
I can’t say I was eager for another “Ice Age” sequel. The previous films were entertaining, but they didn’t leave me wanting more. But I said the same thing about “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. So I went into “Ice Age: Continental Drift” with an open mind. In the end, I found it to be simply average. There wasn’t anything to really hate, but there wasn’t anything to really love either.

The previous “Ice Age” sequel shook things up by introducing dinosaurs into the mix. This gave the opportunity to add new environments, new creatures, and new designs that kept things interesting. This film tries to do that again by throwing things into the pirate genre. After all, it worked for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” it should work here, too, right? Eh… kind of. You see the “Ice Age” version of ships, cannons, and weapons but that’s it. It’s not enough to really grab you. And unfortunately a large part of the movie is spent on the tired theme of the controlling parent butting heads with the rebellious teenager. It treads the familiar story we’ve seen a million times… just without mammoths. We know how the story will play out before it begins, so it really drags the movie down.

The addition of talents like Aziz Ansari, Nick Frost, Joy Behar, Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Lopez, and Alan Tudyk is pretty great on paper, but unfortunately none of them are given great material to work with. It’s just… .average. The jokes are not bad, not good, but mildly amusing.

Scrat has always been the highlight of any “Ice Age” film, and that remains the case here. He’s like a Looney Tunes throwback that consistently entertains. However, most of the Scrat scenes in this movie have been previously seen as “Ice Age” shorts in front of other Fox family movies. You see him chasing the acorn and breaking up the continents. You see him diving underwater and finding the treasure map. Very few of his scenes in this film are new, so it’s a bit of a disappointment that so much footage was recycled.

As the movie concludes, we’re treated to live footage of the voice actors singing with their animated counterparts. While Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, and Keke Palmer are great singers, few things are as awkward as seeing Ray Romano and Denis Leary sing. Leary looks like he’s moments away from snapping and punching the cameraman.

After we saw this movie, I asked my kids what they thought of it. The answer was, ‘It was OK.” They were a little more generous than I was. It wasn’t bad, but I was still checking my watch and wondering when it would be over.

The Bottom Line:
If you have to entertain some children 10 and under this summer, this may be worth a theatrical viewing, but I’d recommend it more as a renter instead.

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