Review: It’s been a decade… 10 years… three friends, extended families and different villains… all back, packed with loads of entertainment, for the fourth time! Like always, this part too presents various relationships co-existing in one space before the supercontinent Pangaea breaks apart (a historical phenomenon better known as the Continental Drift). The characters do what they are best at – make one adore them! Manny, Diego and Sid are helped by many more friends as well as additions to their respective families. The story starts around 13-15 years after the last one ended. The best part about the Ice Age series is that all stories are in perfect sync with one another. Seldom does one feel a disconnect while watching either of the films.
As the name suggests, the film set in the Ice Age (a palaeontological era) shows the life-threatening perils that most of today’s extinct animals must have faced then. I’m going to refrain from speaking about each part in the minutest detail because it’s best to watch it all together in the film. Just like how you wouldn’t know why the Bhagavad Gita comprises of those pearls of wisdom shared by Lord Krishna if you don’t know what transpires between Him and the Pandava prince Arjuna during the epic battle at Kurukshetra which became The Mahabharata.
The latest offering created by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox, Ice Age 4 Continental Drift begins with Scrat (Chris Wedge) – the saber-toothed squirrel and his eternal love – the acorn. He has now climbed up his career graph with this installment of the series with a meatier role as opposed to the other parts where in he (Scrat) was only brought in for a prologue to kickstart a new story and a new turn of events. Manny (Ray Romano) plays the overprotective father of a teenage daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), who in turn only rebels against what her father says. Rebellion is a coming of age phenomenon experienced by everyone in their teens and tweens*. Peaches shares a rather great rapport with her mother, Ellie (Queen Latifah). Another new development is Sid’s (John Leguizamo) family, who abandon him in the first part then reunite with him only to abandon him again along with his cantankerous grandmother (who eventually becomes an important part of this plot in the sequences that follow). And of course, there’s Diego (Denis Leary), the maverick of the pack of saber-toothed tigers who chose to protect and befriend Manny and Sid.
This installment seems to be only riding high on the great animation effects as it is the second Ice Age film to be shot in Digital 3D and the first in the 2.39:1 ratio. Although the original characters were all in place, the new additions were too many which seemed a little too cramped in the given space. The film has been directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier, the first one not directed by the director of the first three parts – Carlos Saldanha. The story seemed rather weak because a true fan looks for both a story as well as the effects especially when the film in question is an animated one, more so, since you’ve seen some of the best works before. Hence, that department left me rather disappointed.
What was good was the portrayal of some relationships and also a tweaked version of Charles Darwin’s theory on Survival of the Fittest (that is well-implied through and through, albeit with more happily ever-afters). My favourite character still remains Manny. He is emotional, protective, caring and a complete family man who believes in building relationships. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable watch but could have garnered a tad-bit more support (from me) had the story been less weaker. Kids will enjoy the film thoroughly however, like every animated film, it’s not your regular cartoon, these films are meant for kids and adults alike. Go watch your sub-zero heroes at the earliest.
Verdict: Fun, inspiring and engaging. Makes for a suitable watch for the whole family this weekend.
*Tweens: A term coined to describe a person who refuses to leave behind their teenage antics but is well in his/her 20s. Courtesy: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Voice-Overs: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Chris Wedge, Josh Peck, Jennifer Lopez, Seann William Scott
Writer: Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs
Length:1 hr 28 mins