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Movie Review: Ice Age — Continental Drift


Prehistoric trio Manny, Diego and Sid embark upon their greatest adventure after cataclysm sets an entire continent adrift. — Courtesy Photo

Lost at sea, Manny and Co.'s odds are quite "earth-shattering" (pun intended).

The problem with 3D movies is that its actors – most of the times, self-evidently animated (human or CG) – try to accentuate the "whoosh" of 3D.

In "Ice Age: Continental Drift" the fourth continuation in the kiddie-friendly series, 3D translate into characters jumping out of screen-depth, a baboon flashing his claws, a raggedy-rabbit flinging crude prehistoric knives, and the camera swinging to impossible highs (and low's) anchored on someone's shoulders. James Cameron, the chieftain of today’s 3D generation, would not be proud ); but then he only makes one movie a decade.

The 3D in today’s movies is an apparent member of the film’s cast, even if we’re seeing it in 2D.The obviousness of "Continental Drift’s"3D begins with the film — and Scrat’s projected nose, not so much sniffing the earth, as it sniff’s us.

Scrat is the saber-toothed squirrel and franchise mascot, and his Sisyphean pursuit of a hard-as-earth Acorn cracks-up the earth – quite literally.

Although one would question the science (and logic) behind the continental crack-up, it only accentuates one important aesthetic that differentiates Blue Sky studios from DreamWorks or Pixar (not Illumination Entertainment, makers of "Despicable Me"): their films are cartoons – and I mean that in the most exemplary way possible.

"Continental Drift" wrestles hard to stick to the idea of making a "cartoon" movie, and not an "animated feature".

A "cartoon" would have impossible use of "squash-and-stretch" – as Scrat's body in action dictates here:

It would also feature an orthodox villain – here, a pirate Gigantopithecus — without a motive to be evil. And most importantly, there would be a lot of noise that wouldn't look alien. Besides, if you're at a movie featuring wooly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, sloths and continental break-up, you'd be subconsciously channeling out audio flare-ups.

But coming back to the point: "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is probably the most enjoyable film in this mundane franchise. It looks clean and refined and by now we've grown accustomed to the odd-couple family mix they have going here.

For anyone still interested in the plot: Manny (Ray Romano), who is worry-stricken over his teenage daughter's (KekePalmer) budding interest in the other sex (voiced by Drake), gets separated from his family when the Pangaea-wide break-up leaves him sea-bound with Sid (John Leguizamo), his Granny (Wanda Sykes) and Diego (Denis Leary) on a slab of ice.

After suffering the wrath of the sea, their "ship" is taken-over by the primate Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his pirate crew, which includes Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a female Smilodon and Diego's love interest.

Manny and Co., with pirates behind, try to find their way back to family, and as you can guess their luck is better than what we humans have. But I guess that has more to do with their limited life-spans, than anything else. 94 minutes of running time leaves no time for normal life’s monotony; in this duration a cartoon can only afford its franticness.

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