Ice Age: Continental Drift

Directed By: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier

Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Keke Palmer, Chris Wedge, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Drake, and Nicki Minaj

If Paramount hadn't chickened out with G.I. Joe: Retaliation last month, this could have been a more interesting weekend at the movies.  If the studio didn’t push the film out to March 2013 to "convert it to 3D", we would have had something for both the kids and adults.  Ted, which moved to G.I. Joe's vacated slot on June 29th, could have perfectly complemented Ice Age: Continental Drift.  Instead, this weekend amounts to nothing more than the quiet before the storm next week.  The Dark Knight Rises is almost here!  In the meantime, we have the fourth installment in the Ice Age series to keep the kids busy at least.

Scrat (Chris Wedge) is just a squirrel trying to get a nut.  Unfortunately, his search for acorns takes him to the earth's core where his antics split the prehistoric supercontinent into the seven continents we know and love today.  As Scrat chases a nut to the ends of the earth, he changes the landscape of the planet.  He separates families.  He destroys lives.  He reshapes the world in his image vis-à-vis statues, pyramids, and Mount Rushmore.

Meanwhile, mammoth Manny (Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) are having problems with their teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer).  For Peaches, the only thing that's on her mind is a mammoth named Ethan (Drake). Manny just wants to protect his daughter but pushes her away in the process.  Sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) is having issues with his family as well.  After abandoning him, they finally visit him under the pretense of dumping Granny (Wanda Sykes) on him.  Finally, the saber-toothed cat Diego (Denis Leary) is king of the world and enjoying life unlike his friends. 

Scrat's antics eventually impact Manny, Sid, and Diego.  When they're separated from the herd and isolated on a small land mass drifting into the deep blue ocean, they must find a way to meet the herd back at the land bridge, the last place standing in the midst of the chaos.  However, they soon find themselves in the captivity of pirate ape Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage).  While our main trio is fighting for their lives, their friends and families in the herd are doing the same as they migrate toward the land bridge.

Overall, Ice Age: Continental Drift is an enjoyable animated flick and decent popcorn fare for the kids.  It continues the wave of fun animated films this summer.  Given that it's our fourth time around with Manny, Sid, and Diego, the film is nothing special.  It's not groundbreaking.  It's not innovative.  What this Ice Age flick is, however, is entertaining.  It has a basic story we all know and love, and our familiar crew will keep us chuckling throughout the film.  In particular, Scrat's antics pursuing acorns are rather amusing.

Aside from last year's Happy Feet Two, Ice Age: Continental Drift has one of the most star-studded casts for an animated flick I've ever seen.  We've got Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Keke Palmer, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Drake, and Nicki Minaj all in one movie.  That's a bit much.  With so many characters in the film, each star's character should have some decent screen time.  However, that’s just not possible.  Given that the film doesn't even clock in at 90 minutes, the supporting characters aren't sufficiently developed.  It's hard for any of them to stand out and give us some fresh faces in this fourth Ice Age flick.

While there are certainly some ridiculously unbelievable parts to Ice Age (i.e., mammoths hanging from trees like bats), the film is entertaining on the whole.  On top of this, it emphasizes the value of the most important thing in life — family.  For the fourth installment in a franchise, that's all anyone can ask for.  Ice Age: Continental Drift gets a 0.06% rating.  While the kids are downing sodas, parents make sure you are sipping on some ice cold beers.  Also, enjoy the cartoon short starring Maggie Simpson.  That's a great bonus.