- Running time:
- 87 minutes
- Ray Romano -
- Voice of Manny
- John Leguizamo -
- Voice of Sid
- Denis Leary -
- Voice of Diego
- Josh Peck -
- Voice of Eddie
- Peter Dinklage -
- Voice of Captain Gutt
Much of the action in Ice Age: Continental Drift (** out of four; rated PG; opens Friday nationwide) takes place on an iceberg fashioned into a seagoing vessel. No one seems to be piloting the boat, which is an apt metaphor for the film.
This fourth installment featuring the computer-animated, prehistoric critters is aimless and derivative. While the first Ice Age movie in 2002 was inventive and cute, there's far too little here that's fresh.
This sequel's premise — the cataclysmic rift that tore apart the prehistoric super-continent Pangaea — rarely satisfies viewers of any age. The filmmakers seem to be banking on the notion that familiarity breeds contented kids. But the key here is banking. Ice Age is one of the most successful film franchises ever, so it's understandable that studio execs would want to milk it. But they shouldn't keep feeding audiences the same old story, modified slightly, with just a few new voices added.
Returning are Ray Romano as Manny, the dependable woolly mammoth, and his mate, Ellie (Queen Latifah). They are the parents of rebellious teen Peaches (Keke Palmer). Also back is Sid the bumbling sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego, the slick saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary).
Some hip-hop stars have joined the vocal mix, including Drake as a cool mammoth and Nicki Minaj as a member of his airheaded coterie. Jennifer Lopez has a dull role as Shira, a tiger who falls for Diego.
Scrat, the squirrel-rat, remains focused on tracking his errant acorn. This time he triggers a continental divide that spurs the adventures. The 3-D effects seem to be trying to make up for the lackluster plot, aggressively deployed during extended chase scenes.
Much of the humor is targeted at very young kids. And for a film that is all about family bonds, it is surprisingly mean-spirited toward Sid's grandmother (Wanda Sykes), who appears to have the prehistoric animal version of Alzheimer's.
Fox has attached a hilarious Simpsons short feature prior to this film. Sans words and set largely in the Ayn Rand School for Tots, the brief tale is far more clever and whimsical than any sequence in Ice Age.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Ice Age: Continental Drift in Des Moines.
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