Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (2012)

When they are separated from their herd by a sudden tectonic movement, Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) watch helplessly as they are swept out to sea on board a wayward iceberg. After discovering Sid’s grandmother (Wanda Sykes) in a hollow tree, their plans to get back to the shore are dashed by a motley crew of pirates let by a Gigantopithecus named Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his first mate, Shira (Jennifer Lopez). Escaping to an island inhabited by hyraxes, the trio form a plan with the natives in order to capture Gutt’s ship and set sale for home. Back on the mainland, Manny’s daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) pursues her crush on male mammoth Ethan (Aubrey Graham) at the expense of her best friend, molehog Louis (Josh Gad).

It’s difficult to imagine that the Ice Age franchise ever felt fresh or inspiring, yet back in 2002 the first film wasn’t just a commercial hit, but a critical one as well. Ten years, three sequels and a very confused audience later, Ice Age has charted our heroes’ journey as they’ve rescued a human baby, survived the end of the ice age a bit of melting ice, fought some errant dinosaurs and now set sail on a giant ice berg. With little sense of history, continuity or narrative variation — each instalment sees another of the main characters find a mate — it really is a miracle that this thing is still going.

But it is, and after the relatively cold reception met by Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Continental Drift could — could — be seen as a step in the right direction. While the Scrat shorts are still the best thing in it, most of the characters bore on a frame-by-frame basis and the cast list STILL includes one Queen Latifa (alongside Keke Palmer as part-opossum daughter Peaches), Ice Age 4 isn’t quite as insufferable as you might expect. Of course, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever — steerable ice bergs, squirrel-driven tectonic movements and a jarring reference to the Easter Bunny amongst the most baffling elements — but there is just about enough self-deprivation to keep you from picking it all apart. Wantonly, at least.

At this point in the story, however, it’s almost impossible to see where the franchise could go next. While the series’ treatment of history is loose at best, it’s difficult to imagine the saga continuing much further, least of all because the franchise is fast running out of main characters to pair off. A fifth film has already been touted, with Ray Romano indicating that plans are already in motion, but with the exception of invading space aliens or a Pokemon-style approach to evolution, Manny, Sid and Diego are ultimately destined for extinction. And although this wasn’t the worst instalment yet, that day still can’t come quickly enough.

A passable piece of family entertainment that improves on the previous episode (providing you’re below the age of 10), Ice Age 4: Continental Drift will nevertheless leave audiences wondering if they have seen it all before. They have. Unfortunately, even after four instalments, it seems Ice Age is a franchise that just keeps on taking.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (2012)

  1. Pingback: July 2012 – You don’t wanna know what I have to do for twenties « popcornaddict

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