REVIEW: Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

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Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre July 11, 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Directed by Steve Martino, Michael Thurmeier

I don’t remember reviewing the third installment, Dawn of the Dinosaurs. This time I think Ice Age 4: Continental Drift deserves to be looked into, if only to say that the series has reached its end and that no further installment is deserving.

I’d like to believe that this series would have had a special impression on me as a former student of the earth sciences. The first and second Ice Age animations, which essentially were about global warming, set the story at the time when mammals were just prospering, before homo sapiens (humans) dominated the earth. The third movie rewound geologic time and introduced dinosaurs into the adventure. For the fourth, the series introduces continental drift. So it’s kinda like Earth Science for kinder.

My former professor’s Masters dissertation on sea-floor sediments was used as one of the many bases of sea-floor spreading in the unified theory of plate tectonics. Jargon much?

The theory states that the earth’s lithosphere is broken up into fragments or tectonic plates that move above the earth’s mantle over long spans of time, not in minutes as the movie cinematically suggests. Plate tectonics, a relatively new concept accepted by the scientific community in the 1960s is an improvement on continental drift which was developed in the early 20th century. That’s where the movie’s title came from.

Which brings me to the movie. Peaches (Keke Palmer) the teen mammoth is growing up, and Manny (Ray Romano) is turning into a strict papa. When Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge) causes the continents to split, the herd is forced to leave their sanctuary for safer pastures. An accident separates Manny from Ellie (Queen Latiah) and Peaches that forces the old gang of Manny, Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego to find a way to rejoin the herd. Meanwhile, Sid is reunited with his Granny (Wanda Sykes). Trouble ensues when the gang crosses paths with a pirate party led by the odious Captain Gutt (Game of Throne’s Peter Dinklage.)

Gone are the nice vistas that made the first Ice Age ten years ago look good. This one looks dark and fuzzy, maybe since I saw it in 3D. The old elements are still there – additional characters, a natural calamity that threatens the herd of animals, Scrat and his amazing ability to fail to catch an acorn. There are a few new touches, like a pirate side-plot that serve no meaningful purpose but to expose kids to bones-as-serrated knives and a couple of forgettable pirate songs.

If you think that this film is about parent-daughter relations (which it assumes to be), I suggest Coraline, Mulan or Freaky Friday as relatively better family-friendly alternatives. If you ask where I think you should bring your kids instead of seeing this film, I suggest you bring them to a park. Let them experience the sun’s rays – a good source of vitamin D. If you think it’s okay for you to spend your hard-earned money to let a movie baby-sit your kids while you have quality time with the spouse within the air-conditioned mall – well that just gives me one reason to believe that the end of the world is nigh. Or more precisely, the downfall of human culture.

Let Scrat have his own movie for the last time, and let the rest RIP.

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