Over the past couple of decades studios besides Disney have started taking an interest in animated films. While Disney undoubtedly paved the way for this medium, thankfully other large studios began generating high quality animated entertainment as well. Pixar forever changed the landscape of animated films and cemented their legacy in the history books. While other studios may never achieve Disney/Pixar success, they are certainly doing their part to entertain us as well. With that being said, 20th Century Fox delivers Ice Age: Continental Drift, which is the fourth feature length film in this series. After a successful string of previous box office hits, some may wonder if this movie will fair as well as its three predecessors.
Manny, Diego and Sid embark on another calamity filled adventure as their continent is set adrift, separating them from their families. This compelling fourth installment from 20th Century Fox is hilarious and touching all at the same time. There are a number of subplots woven into the fabric of the film, which touch on family dynamics and teenage rebellion. The film addresses a number of other topics as well, giving the film a bit more depth than some animated films. Our old friend Scrat has his own storyline going on throughout the film. As you’d expect, he continues to struggle with near death situations as he chases the ever elusive acorn.
When you see a trailer for a fourth movie in a series you have to wonder if it will be as good as or better than the previous installments in the series. With Ice Age: Continental Drift 20th Century Fox delivers a winner. The new characters in this already popular series are incredibly entertaining. Assuming you’ve seen all of the previous movies you know the core characters. Manny (Ray Romano – Everybody Loves Raymond), Diego (Denis Leary – Rescue Me) and Sid (John Leguizamo – The Lincoln Lawyer) all deliver on their roles. New characters in this film were a breath of fresh air as well as a source of constant laughter. One of the stand out characters in the film was Granny (Sid’s Grandmother), voiced by Wanda Sykes (Over the Hedge, Rio). Wanda brought her own unique style of humor to this character and the results are hysterical.
There were so many new characters in this film, that it is impossible to mention them all. Some characters help tie the story together while others make you double over with laughter. Another standout performance, beyond Wanda Sykes, was Captain Gutt voiced by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, Death at a Funeral). Captain Gutt was the primary antagonist in the film and Peter Dinklage brought a sense of passion, humor and a hint of evil to his character. There were other new characters that were forgettable, but necessary to moving the story forward.
Beyond the series itself, the old characters, the new characters and those involved in the making of the film, there is an underlying story. The story is one of hope, courage, friendship and laughter. Ice Age: Continental Drift draws you into the story making you care for these characters and hope that everything will turn out alright. There are lots of funny moments and other moments where you sincerely feel for the characters themselves. Yes, this is an animated film, but drawing you into their plight and making you feel something allows you to enjoy the film even more.
This film was co-directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!) and Mike Thurmeier (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs). Mike Thurmeier co-directed the third and fourth installments of Ice Age, which seems to maintain a feeling of continuity. After being involved in the third installment Mike Thurmeier partnered with Steve Martino to co-direct two short films; Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up and Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up: Part 2. From there they partnered on this film, which seems to have worked out well. Kudos to these two gentlemen for co-directing something heartwarming and outrageously funny.
Ice Age: Continental Drift is a roller coaster ride loaded with laughs and creative storytelling which keeps you engaged throughout the entire film. The movie is flat out funny for children and adults alike. This fourth installment in the highly successful franchise is on par with the original Ice Age, which debuted ten years ago. Being able to keep audiences entertained with film after film, in the same series, is an accomplishment in and of itself. In a summer full of blockbuster hits Ice Age: Continental Drift carries its own weight. Whether you need a movie for the kids or a movie for date night, this movie is well worth the price of admission.
If you’ve seen the movie already, please share your thoughts below. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it…then come back and talk about it.