The gang are back for another historically inaccurate (but hey, we’ll let them off again, right?) dose of family fun in Ice Age: Continental Drift. This time acorn-loving Scrat inadvertently sets about a chain of events that causes the continents to crack into the familiar shapes we know today – throw in a few pirates and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for an animated adventure.
Whilst Manny (Ray Romano) struggles to cope with having a teenage daughter, Sid (John Leguizamo) is suddenly reunited with his doddery old Nan. Along with Diego (Dennis Leary), the trio find themselves torn away from home by the sudden continental drift of the title. In their attempts to return they find themselves face to face with leering pirates, headed by Captain Gut (Peter Dinklage). Peril ensues with the gang narrowly slipping through the evil pirates’ clutches again and again.
Openly noting the nonsensical premise of its predecessor Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age 4 continues many of the themes and jokes present in the previous instalments. Content with having had three films to set up the arcs and idiosyncrasies of each character, the film spends much of its time immersing the audience in its brilliant animation (which includes the inevitable made-for-3D moments).
Ice Age 4 is a formulaic slice of cinema; the gang befriends a group of furry animals (see Madagascar) whilst Scrat manages to steal the show throughout (see all previous Ice Age films). Whilst it is unsurprising that the film doesn’t break many barriers, the scenes it does come close to treading new territory may fly straight over younger viewer’s heads. This is especially true of the siren scenes where the group see amorous versions of themselves beckoning them, proving sirens are nuts in more ways than one.
Though they feature in the film’s end credits, the inclusion of a host of musical talent (including Ice Age regular Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Drake) seems wasted. Despite this, the vocal talents are all on form here and suit their respective characters well.
A family friendly film despite the danger posed by the evil pirates, Ice Age 4 will please fans of the franchise but may fall short of making any new ones.