Ice Age: Continental Drift [3D] (2012)
Directed by: Steve Martino , Michael Thurmeier
Release Date: July 13, 2012 (Wide)
Rating: 7.00 out of 10
Review by: George Beremov
Thankfully, Blue Sky Studios continues to provide us with steadily solid sequels to the original Ice Age movie, which quickly became a world-wide favorite back in 2002. Now ten years later, the studio brings us Ice Age: Continental Drift—a worthy sequel that proves the series still has a potential, despite its narrow premise.
In Ice Age 4, our beloved protagonists Manny, Diego, and Sid take on an unexpected adventure after their continent is set adrift, using an iceberg as a boat and facing sea creatures and vicious pirates on their way back home.
Being obviously set in the ice age, this franchise is limited by its own concept and setting, which doesn’t allow its creators to run their imagination wild, plot-wise. For that reason, Ice Age 4 doesn’t shine with much originality in terms of storytelling, but compensates that with high entertainment value, wittily-written script, interesting characters, gorgeous CGI visuals and some truly exciting action beats that keep the pace brisk and lively.
The animation has definitely evolved since Dawn of the Dinosaurs (let alone the original Ice Age movie), becoming smoother, richer in detail, and much more accomplished in terms of execution. Yes, the color palette lacks that in-your-face vividness, and the visuals aren’t mind-blowingly vibrant, but considering the icy CGI surroundings, that’s kind of understandable, and in fact doesn’t make Ice Age: Continental Drift less pretty to look at. Not at all. While not exactly unnecessary, the 3D is just okay, and barely elevates the visuals to another level.
The characters continue to be this franchise’s main strength. Manny, Diego, and Sid are just as funny and likable as we remember them to be, with the latter being the standout of the bunch. This sequel also introduces a couple of new characters—namely mammoth Manny’s 19-year-old daughter Peaches, who is a sweetheart, and Sid’s hilarious grandmother, as well as the new villains—the ill-tempered Captain Gutt and his crew, and the enemy-turned-friend, Shira. You think everyone’s favorite Scrat steals the show yet again? Well, not this time around, because all the glory belongs to Granny. She brings the biggest laughs with her cool sense of humor, free-spirited attitude and funny looks, and in fact, she saves the movie from being only passable. That being said, Scrat is still a star, and the scenes involving him ‘hunting’ the acorn are one of the funniest in the movie. The opossums Crash and Eddie once again amuse the viewer with their adorable silliness, and none of the other secondary characters are wasted.
The voice acting is absolutely spot-on. The cast, including Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg and Jennifer Lopez, all do a great job in bringing their animated characters to life, and make the experience even more enjoyable than it already is.
Bottom line: Yes, it all feels very familiar, but for a third sequel Ice Age: Continental Drift offers enough funny gags, exciting action and astounding CGI visuals to stand out from its predecessors, plus, it features one of the most hilarious animated characters ever put on film.