Movie Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift
Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“My mother once told me that bad news was only good news in disguise.” “Was this just before she abandoned you?!” “Yes, it was.” That’s Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) trying to put a positive spin on his and his friends’ bleak situation and Diego the Saber Tooth Tiger (Dennis Leary) pointing out the irony as they – along with Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano) and Sid’s newly found Grandma (Wanda Sykes) – sail the high seas on board an adrift iceberg in the animated adventure, Ice Age: Continental Drift.
The prehistoric squirrel Scrat unknowingly helps cause the continents to crack and separate while chasing the ever elusive acorn. Scrat’s obsession and the subsequent crack cause Manny, Sid, Diego, and Sid’s Granny to be separated from Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Manny’s daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer). They’re lost on the open ocean and must try to find a way back home. In their struggle to find a current which will lead them home, Manny and his friends come across a band of dangerous pirates who are determined to force Manny, Sid, and Diego to either become part of their crew or walk the plank.
Funny and cute, Ice Age: Continental Drift is a big improvement over the third film in the series but not as good as the first two. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Dennis Leary once again do a great job bringing Manny, Sid and Diego to life for their fourth adventure, and they know exactly how to play these goofy, likable characters. One big improvement from the third film is that Sid is now back to being a loyal, likable goof the way he was in the first two films and not the irritating, incredibly stupid and uncharacteristically selfish Sloth the writers made him in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur.
Wanda Sykes is effective bringing the old, crabby, and at times senile Grandma to life but only adds a few solid laughs to the adventure and ultimately comes up short of becoming a character the audience will care about. Jennifer Lopez is adequate as the voice of Shira, the female Saber Tooth Tiger who can’t help watching her prisoner Diego with a gleam in her eye. But she doesn’t really convey any personality for the audience to invest in. Shira’s a shallow, empty female version of a young Diego from the first film.
Once again creating most of the laugh-out-loud moments in the film, along with the funniest slapstick, is Scrat – the adventuresome, obsessed, prehistoric squirrel who is forever chasing the ever unobtainable acorn throughout the movie. He’s still the absolute best, most entertaining character about the film franchise who, as always, opens the movie up and closes the film out right before the credits.
The film still uses the computer animation that it always has, which is solid. However, this time it is in needless 3D, which adds zero to the action on screen. There is no need to waste an extra three to five dollars for the annoying glasses.
Exciting and full of laughs, Ice Age: Continental Drift is a worthy addition to the film series and will have the audience both young and old rooting for Manny, Sid and Diego to find their way back home and for poor struggling Scrat to hopefully, finally catch his beloved acorn.
Ice Age: Continental Drift hits theaters on July 13, 2012 and is rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril.