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Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ice Age 4 Continental Drift

Released 29 June 2012
Director(s) Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Josh Peck, Nicki Minaj, Seann William Scott, Nick Frost, Aziz Ansari, Heather Morris
Writer(s) Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs
Producer(s) John C. Donkin, Lori Forte
Origin United States
Running Time 93 minutes
Genre Animation, adventure, comedy
Rating G

Minor meltdown.

Continental drift is a sophisticated theme for an animated movie aimed at the under twelves. I eagerly await Ice Age 5: The Supercontinent Cycle...in the meantime though, parents have no need to worry that their kids will be confused by any intense geological theory in Ice Age 4. As we learnt from the third instalment in which the gang is pitted against some very out of place dinosaurs, education is not a high priority here. The huge upheaval of the title is simply used to set in motion one of the standard storylines of children’s cinema; a family torn apart by outside influences and fighting to be re-united.

The family in question is a trio of mammoths, patriarch Manny (Ray Romano), matriarch Ellie (Queen Latifah) and teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer). When the continents begin moving and their island becomes split, Manny is left adrift on an iceberg along with sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) and saber-toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary), while Ellie, Peaches and the rest of the population face being crushed by a huge cliff moving slowly towards them. Manny vows to return to his family but along the way they encounter a band of pirates led by a vicious gorilla named Gutt (Peter Dinklage).

Yet again, the animators at Blue Sky Studios create beautiful environments filled with well-rendered critters but the story itself is a little old hat to be gripping. As has been the case throughout this series, the best parts are the silent mini-movies involving acorn-obsessed Scrat. The opening sequence in which we see him accidentally separating the continents in his quest for an acorn is a fun and imaginative short all on its own. He is the best thing in the film by a country mile and all without saying a word. If only that could be said for more of the voice-cast, which is a series of peaks (Dinklage menacing as primate pirate Gutt) and troughs (Romano; boring as a human and boring as a mammoth, he’s hardly the most dynamic of heroes).

This instalment will not disappoint fans of the series and is visually diverting enough to keep newcomers entertained. Still, I couldn’t help but think since the success of The Artist in last year’s Oscars, perhaps it’s time to give the silent Scrat his own anarchic spinoff?

- Linda O’Brien