The antics of Scrat (the squirrel that is forever pursuing the elusive acorn) has always been the highlight of the Ice Age series.
Obviously, the filmmakers realize this and decide that Scrat’s acorn pursuit should set up the drama in the fourth Ice Age flick, Continental Drift (am I the only one who wonders how many more Ice Age movies will there be?).
Ray Romano and Queen Latifah still sound familiar and comfortable in their roles as the happy couple, mammoths Marty and Ellie. Peaches, their baby born in the last flick (2009’s Dawn of the Dinosaurs), is now a lively teenager (voiced by Keke Palmer) who wants to loosen the overprotective grip of her father, explore and hang out with cute wooly mammoth boys. Their extended family, a saber-toothed tiger named Diego (Denis Leary) and a sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo), are still around and are joined by Sid’s Granny (Wanda Sykes).
As Scrat chases the acorn around and around, he accidently causes an iceberg to break, essentially causing the split of the Earth into five continents.
When the iceberg breaks, Marty, Diego, Sid and Granny become separated from Ellie, Peaches and all of their friends. As the gang floats along on a block of ice trying to make their way back to land, they come upon a gang of pirates led by an evil ape named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). Gutt’s first assistant is a white tiger named Shira (Jennifer Lopez), who faces a battle within herself to do the right thing or stay with pirate gang. Of course, sparks fly between Shira and Diego being that they are both tigers.
Sid’s Granny is the most memorable as Sykes’ sassy portrayal of the kooky character garners the most laughs. Still, even with the funny Granny, the movie is seriously lacking in the laughter department. It’s also lacking in action and emotional depth with its uninspired storyline. It’s got the clichéd morals of being loyal to your family and friends, but offers nothing new on the subject.
Ice Age tries to keep current with voices that the youth of today would recognize, such as Jennifer Lopez in a pretty large role along with rappers Nicki Minaj and Drake, and actors Josh Peck (Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh) and Heather Morris (Glee) in bit parts. I personally thought Nicki Minaj’s voice was quite suited to the teen-aged wooly mammoth character she played.
Before the movie, there’s a cute five-minute short called The Longest Daycare, featuring Baby Maggie from The Simpsons. The dialog-free short chronicles Maggie’s return visit to the Ayn Rand School for Tots and some incidents with her arch-rival, Baby Gerald. Some might say five minutes of The Simpsons is better than 90 minutes of Ice Age. I’d be hard pressed not to agree.
The Ice Age series has never been among my favorites, but it’s still a perfectly adequate time-waster for a bored kid on a hot, summer day. However, compared to this summer’s previous animated flicks, Brave and Madagascar 3, Ice Age places in distant third in terms of what movie I’d recommend seeing.
Movie Grade: B-