After enjoying the first Ice Age, accepting the second and Ice Age: Continental Drift is actually an entertaining animated feature. It seems far more thought out than the last iteration, which is even thrown a slight jab early on for making no sense, just as this one doesn’t considering the Earth took shape long before any of these creatures existed.
With hardly any further acknowledgment the third installment even existed, Continental Drift begins as the continents begin to break apart and the faithful franchise trio — Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego (voiced by Denis Leary) and Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) — are separated from their herd and washed out to sea aboard a piece of ice.
While their families on land must avoid the looming landmass threatening to push them all into the sea without stable land in sight, Manny, Diego and Sid are forced to do battle with a group of pirates, led by a gorilla named Gutt (voiced by Peter Dinklage) and a crew made up of a bunch of misfits which includes a potential love interest for Diego, a female saber-tooth named Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez).
While trying to get home, battle pirates and protect Sid’s stowaway grandmother (voiced by Wanda Sykes), the group will befriend an island of chipmunk-looking animals that immediately conjure memories of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, do what they can to divert eye contact from an island of sirens and get home safely to their families.
Throughout all of this there are laughs along with moral lessons on what it means to be a good friend and a good parent. Scrat, the acorn-loving rodent, gets into a bit of trouble here and it all moves along in preparation for what will surely be an Ice Age 5.
What else is there to say? I looked at my notes from the screening and all I wrote down was “Ewoks”. There isn’t much else to tell. We’re not talking about high art here. This is simply a decent, family-friendly animated feature that safely keeps the franchise running and assures itself of massive domestic and international box-office. The fact it doesn’t rely on fart jokes and plays a lot like guess what cinematic trope we’re mining now — Star Wars and Homer’s “Odyssey” being the obvious ones — is enough for me to call it a decent enough way to spend 87 minutes, though parents that decide to shell out extra cash for 3-D ticket prices may not be so accepting.
On a side note, before the film begins you’re greeted with an excellent “The Simpsons” short film in which Maggie the baby does what she can to protect a caterpillar from being killed by a hammer-happy day care playmat. The toon is 100% silent and, in all honesty, the best part of the whole experience.