The Critic Reviews Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift

For those of you that haven’t seen Ice Age 1, 2 & 3 you probably should read the rest of this as it will have a lot of spoilers.

SPOILER ALERT! DANGER! SPOILER ALERT!

For those of you awesome people who have been keeping up with the first three amazing but would like a catch up, take a deep breathe and here we go:

Ice Age (2002)
Scrat, a loveable and nut-obsessed squirrel, shoves an acorn into the ground causing a crack to develop and causes an  avalanche; he is trampled by a herd who are all migrating south. Sid, a stupid sloth, gets in trouble with two Brontops and is inadvertently rescued by Manny, who is supposedly the last living Mammoth, and Sid follows him for protection. In the meantime, a Saber-tooth Tiger called Soto, leader of the pack wants revenge on a group of humans and raid the camp. This results in a mother and baby running, and jumping into a river and being seen by Manny and Sid who receive the baby before the mother disappears. Diego, the lieutenant of Soto, meets Manny, Sid and the baby and attempts to lead them into a trap, exploring evolution of Sloths and frozen UFOs on the way, and we learn about Manny’s past. When the saber-tooths and the rag tag band meet, Diego defends the small group, allowing them to return the baby to the humans, and they all walk into the sun, heading for warmer climes. Scrat, having been frozen in ice, arrives 20,000 years later in a tropical paradise, discovers a coconut and attempts to bury it; this causes a crack to form and triggers a volcano to erupt.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006)
Scrat breaks a glacier and water spurts out. Manny, Diego and Sid are enjoying pleasant weather whilst a con-artist Fat Tony sells reeds to breathe in water (unaware of dangerous underwater creatures) when the flood comes. Whilst rescuing Sid from daredevil stupidity, Manny sees that the glacier has become a dam for the melted ice, now water, behind it. All the animals start to evacuate, hoping to reach the giant tree boat before the flood, and the vultures start circling. The gang meet two possums and a female mammoth, Ellie, who believes she’s a possum, and they join up to travel to the boat, on the way finding out that Diego is scared of water and seeing Manny & Ellie grow closer. A group of mini-sloths kidnap Sid and try to sacrifice him but no-one believes Sid. When the flood comes, Manny saves Ellie, Diego swims and saves Sid, the water sweeps the boat full of animals around and Scrat saves the animals by putting an acorn into a glacier. They all form a mini-herd despite meeting the mini-sloths again as well as a herd of mammoths. Scrat almost ends up in heaven, which is full of acorns, but is resuscitated by Sid.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
Scrat meets a female flying-squirrel while fighting over the same acorn, saves her life and focuses his attention on her rather than nuts. Manny and Ellie are expecting their first child, Diego leaves feeling he has lost his predatory skills as he can’t catch a gazelle, and Sid adopts three eggs in finds in an underground cavern. The eggs hatch into three Tyrannosaurus babies which ruin a playground made by Manny. The mother Tyrannosaurus arrives and takes back her babies and Sid, the others follow and discover a vast dinosaur-invested jungle within the cavern. They meet Buck, a one-eyed weasel, who is chasing Rudy (a albino Baryonyx), helps them find Sid, but Ellie goes into labour on the journey. The new baby girl Mammoth is called Peaches and returns to the tunnel at the entrance, finding Rudy, escaping after the Tyrannosaurus mother and babies come to say goodbye to Sid. Buck returns to the jungle as he hears Rudy’s roar, and the make-shift herd decide to stick together. Scrat has reverted to his old ways and the resulting argument causes another volcanic explosion, leaving his love beneath the surface who ends up with the acorn as well.

And that brings us to 2012, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift.

So some immediate positives and negatives come to mind after watching this movie. First a negative: Pirates. In some ways I can love a good pirate movie, but they have been used in just about every style, genre and time period to cause a raucous and be the point to some crazy adventure. This can sometimes work as an advantage, but when it comes to prehistoric creatures it gets a little weak, especially when said piracy-loving creatures seem to be able to split a perfectly shaped iceberg off a continent of ice (even when in a seemingly tropical area) in the perfect pirate ship shape three times. This seems to be pushing the story a little and is a shame when the use of sharp fish jaws and such as weapons actually worked rather nicely.

First positive: the one-liners start to finish. There were some very clever, very funny, little parts of the scripts that made every child and adult in the screening giggle. As well as one-liners, the hilarious takes on geographical and geological history (the continental drift) were particular favourites. Scrat, of course, is to blame for the whole thing as he goes chasing after acorns to his own peril and manages to crack the continents apart by spinning the inner core of the earth itself. As long as kids don’t start writing scientific papers about it I think we’re all safe.

We join the gang, plus a now teenage Peaches and her friend Louis (a molehog), playing happy families and going about their normal, if slightly crazy, herd-life. When the earth starts to grumble, crack and move it splits the family and leaves a distraught Manny, desperate to return to Ellie and Peaches, left on an iceberg floating on a stormy sea. Enter pirates, a fast love/crush between Diego and a white sabertooth, and a large about of guinea pig-like creatures that seem to be a mixture of the Scottish in Braveheart and stereotypical island inhabitants (think the pigs in Muppets Treasure Island – but cuter).

All in all a fun film, and definitely one for the kids. Other than the pirate cliché, and a little too much repetition, the film brought you a slightly different take on the idea of herds, family and the difficulties of both. Well worth a watch and definitely impressive as a sequel.

Rating: 3/5

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