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Animadversion: Across continents

July 29, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift delivers an adventure that zooms through perils with an appetite for silliness. The fourth film in the series starts with Scrat (the saber-tooth squirrel) still after his acorn. As usual, his one-sighted pursuit leads to disaster — this time the division of the continents! This sequence sets the pace and the tone for the entire feature — silly, loud and shot to milk 3D in every frame.

The Ice Age gang is still living together with a tiny bit of modification. Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) with wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) is going through the pains of parenthood: daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is at the age when she is attracted to boys. Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) is handed charge of a toothless, kooky granny (Wanda Sykes) by his family. Diego, the sabre-tooth tiger (Denis Leary) is still looking out for the herd and still alone (though not for long).

As the Pangaea landmass crumbles, Manny, Diego and Sid with his granny are separated on a block of ice that drifts away from home. Their adventure starts when they meet a band of pirates ruled by a mean ape named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). Gutt has Shira, a white sabre-tooth tigress (voiced by Jennifer Lopez) as his second and an assortment of furry animals as crew.

Our heroes escape the pirates and fish-like sirens (the ones that lure weary sea travellers to doom) only to meet with gerbil-like creatures that can’t talk in any known modes of communication, but are a furry bundle of cuteness.

Blue Sky Studios (Robots, Horton Hears a Who!, Rio and their breakthrough film Ice Age) has a sure fire earner for themselves and Fox. Though rushed, Ice Age 4 is an all-out summer treat for the young.

Written by Michael Berg and debutant Jason Fuchs and directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!) and Michael Thurmeier (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), the franchise does show stretches and tares with ideas (like the siren bit, especially in the prehistoric era) but it never annoys.

Ice Age: Continental Drift is released by Mandviwalla Entertainment and 20th Century Fox. The movie is rated PG.