Review: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' is worth the heatstroke
Note: I have been asked by crossaffliction to review this movie, as he is "on vacation". I understand I have big shoes to fill, so please, save the tomatoes until the end.
First off, I should probably explain the title of this review. It has to do with what a pain it was to go see this movie. My car is broken, and it is literally a hundred degrees outside. No biggie, go through Main Street and it isn't far from my house, walking won't be too hard, right? Unfortunately, Chanute won some Google-partnership thing. I'm not exactly sure why that means they have to tear up half of Main Street and temporarily close many small businesses there, but by God that's what they did.
What this meant for me was that I now had to walk much farther to circumvent the construction. Perhaps not much further, but I'm a hundred-something-pound weakling. I would have shaken my fists in anger to the heavens, but it was simply much too hot for such activity. So, by the time I reached the theater, I was sweating like a whipped bantha.
Anyway, on to the actual review.
I have so far seen all four of the Ice Age movies in theaters, and Dreamworks [Ed.: Correction, Blue Sky/Fox] seems to be keeping with the tradition in this series that no movie after the first one should have a plot that makes sense. Still, like a good book with a few plot-holes (think Stephen King's Christine), it is better just to not think on whether what sets off the story actually makes sense and just enjoy the story.
What I mean by this is the very beginning. The movie starts out, very predictably, with Scrat, the saber-tooth squirrel, snuffling around an icy mountain peak. He's got, also very predictably, an acorn he wishes to cram into the Earth for whatever reason. Unpredictably (unless you've seen the previews) this causes him to break the mountain in half, and fall to the Earth's core. He proceeds to cause a lot of chaos which sets the movement of the tectonic plates in motion with a speed that gives credit to the new-earth theory of some creationists.
It really does get better, I promise.
Meanwhile, we rejoin our our quirky herd of protagonists. Some time has passed since the end of the second movie, because Peaches (Keke Palmer), the newborn mammoth we saw at the end of Dawn of the Dinosaurs, has grown into a rebellious teenager who no longer thinks boys are cute. (They're hot.) And, like all rebellious teenagers, all she wants is to be cool, but her overbearing father wants to keep her "daddy's little girl". She's also got a friendzoned guy pal to keep her grounded — in this case, a somewhat-spineless molehog named Louis (Josh Gad).
Peaches' father, Manny (Ray Romano), catches her sneaking down to "the Falls", where the delinquent ice age mammals hang out to do dangerous stunts and God know what else. He punishes her; she retorts with a typical "I hate you"-esque comment and storms away from the rest of the herd, her mother (Qeueen Latifah) going after her.
This is when Scrat's misadventures come in to play, and the Earth tears itself apart along with Manny's mate and daughter. As they drift away before his eyes, Manny promises to find them, "no matter how long it takes".
Now, Manny, Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary), as well as new character "Granny" (Wanda Sykes), Sid's senile and newly-abandoned grandmother, are drifting across the ocean on a small hunk of permafrost, while Ellie, Peaches, and possums Crash and Eddie must help the other animals and themselves avoid the still-shifting continent's wrath by making it to the "land-bridge" (keeping with the series' penchant for mass migration).
As the animals are now forced to keep in close company, Peaches' problems with peer-pressure worsen. She wants so badly to chase after cutehot mammoth boys that she denounces the one true friend she has and the pride she had in her "half-possum" heritage. Even as she must overcome physical obstacles as the world literally crumbles around her, she has a hard lesson to learn in letting people change who she is.
Torn apart from half of his herd (and arguably the ones that mean the most to him), Manny is desperate to return to what remains of the continent he last saw them on. The currents have other plans, however, and his only hope is to reach Turn-back Cove and catch a new current.
One thing I continue to dislike about the Ice Age movies is the comedic relief character, Scrat. It's only getting worse now that they're trying to make him more central to the plot. In this movie, after destroying Pangaea, he spends his time searching for Scratlantis, an acorn haven.
He once again meets a foul end. Let's hope he stays dead this time.
Computer animation has certainly come a long way since the first Ice Age movie ten years ago. What's furry is furry, what's smooth is smooth, and what's...well, you get the idea. It looks good, and nothing is garish or clashes; the character design fits the character like it should in a kid movie, and eye-positioning is not awkward.
The voice-acting was, as always, very good. It is interesting to note that Nicki Minaj played a trashy teenager. Don't laugh too hard; it's genius.
I did watch this movie in 3D and my opinion on it is the same as all 3D movies: 3D is the green-screen of this decade; everyone wants to use it, but we really haven't mastered it yet.
If you can ignore Scrat, Ice Age 4 would be a very good movie combining a few oldie-but-goody sub-plots with charming characters, and even a fun sea-shanty with Jennifer Lopez.