Ice Age 4 – The Continental Drift – Movie review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on July 27, 2012 | 4 Comment
PRODUCER – John C. Donkin, Lori Forte
DIRECTOR – Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
WRITER – Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs, Mike Reiss
CAST – Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez
MUSIC – John Powell
The sub-zero heroes are back in the fourth installment of the delectable animation franchise Ice Age, first introduced in 2002. The film chronicled the adventures of Manny, a mammoth, Sid, a sloth, and Diego, a predatory saber-toothed cat and spawned a much-appreciated series, the fourth of which is Ice Age 4- The Continental Drift.
For the benefit of Ice Age newbies, the stories revolve around the three pre-historic animals fighting the forces of nature for survival and learning valuable life lessons while at it. It also has the loveable leitmotif of the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat invariably causing to disrupt the balance of nature while chasing after his acorn. This time round he messes with the core of the earth and causes a continental drift leaving Diego, Sid and Manny separated from Manny’s wife Ellie and teenage daughter Peaches. Their world is getting awash in water and rubble. Not only do they need to survive but reunite at a place of safety.
The beauty of the Ice Age series has always rested in its delicious animation of nature’s behavior and the strong sub-plots of journeys its characters make. The fourth installment is in its own way true to both. Hence, when in a trademark visually compelling and humorous style Scrat yet again causes a shift in nature’s balance, it is a chuckling introduction to a well-loved world. Meanwhile Manny, as an over-protective father is dealing with the pangs of letting go unable to allow his sprightly teenage daughter to make her own choices. Soon they are separated with Manny, Diego and Sid washed onto the ocean with Sid’s eccentric granny (who is abandoned and dumped upon Sid by his uncaring family in a cameo). Daring adventures follow, which include fighting the forces of nature as well as motley pirates led by an evil monkey and his saber-toothed white cat Shira. We know Manny and friends will make it but the ‘how’ is a delicious journey we make yet again.
There is a distinct energy, full of swirl and massive movement (mostly of nature) that informs the film, making it veer towards a higher degree of drama and spectacle than its previous counterparts. (This is the first film where Carlos Saldanha isn’t a part of the directorial team and maybe that is the difference.) Delectably done, the energy of the animation leaves us breathless as it also keeps us hooked to the idea of ‘now what?’. Emphasis on character journeys is embodied in Peaches coming-of-age, Sloth’s reconciliation with his own past and the sub-plot of Diego and Shira but its treatment rings a little less deep. The writers, a first-time completely new collaboration for the series probably felt that maybe it is time for other characters to take centre-stage and that spectacle works better than character-driven stories.
There are glorious sequences of nature’s fury and lip-smacking examples of humour and mirth. There are infinite plot surprises that light up the adventurous experience but seemingly at the cost of depth of characterization and witty dialogues. Some fantastic foot-tapping music keeps the fantasy afloat as the gorgeous animation whisks us to the ice age neverland of courage, humour, friendship and love – a place from where we really don’t want to come back anytime soon.