Friday, 27 July 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Rating: ½

First dinosaurs and now pirates! The phrase 'flogging a dead horse' has never been more appropriate.

The original Ice Age had quite a simple story that was mostly lead by its mismatched cast of loveable characters. Ten years later and the simple story has been replaced with an epic over-the-top adventure. In the fourth instalment, the Ice Age gang are swept out to sea on a block of ice after a massive shift in the earth's tectonic plates. Poor Manny (Ray Romano) is separated from his family and to make matters worse the team run in to a group of animal pirates.

Characters need to be thawed out
Sid (John Leguizamo) is as funny as he usually is and this time Diego (Denis Leary) has his own Romeo and Juliet style romance with one of the pirates. However in comparison to the first film all the main characters have become a lot less engaging. This might be because all of their original challenges have been long since resolved in the first three films so any new dilemmas seem a little forced. It also might be because the franchise has collected a massive cast of characters over the years and to give them all equal screen time means their individual story arcs have to suffer. That said I did really like some of the new characters in Ice Age 4. Sid's Granny is hysterical.

Pirates Of The Ice Age
I think the addition of the prehistoric pirates is a little too far fetched. Even kids would have trouble believing it. It just seems like the movie makers enjoyed Pirates Of The Caribbean so much they decided to copy it.

Defrosting the comedy
Luckily the Ice Age team can still deliver on the comedy value. One scene that particularly made me laugh was one involving an army or chubby hamsters.

Cracks in the story line
The story overall was a bit of a mess. I felt a little overwhelmed by the number of sub-plots that seemed to make up for the lack of a driving storyline. Don't get me wrong. The film had some very funny and heartwarming moments, but overall the plot was a little cluttered.

Pop stars make Ice Age even cooler
Something that stood out to me about Ice Age 4 was the large number of pop stars that make up the majority of the cast. Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Drake to name a few. Pop stars don't often have much luck when they try and cross over to the world of movie making. However lending their voices to animated characters is clearly their ticket to Hollywood because they did a pretty good job in Ice Age 4. This might be because they are used to working with only their voice in a recording studio. Jennifer Lopez was particularly convincing as Diego's sassy love interest.

Epic ending
Ice Age 4 definitely ends with a bang. I won't give too mach away but as you would expect all the individual stories get tied up nicely after a big dramatic battle. I always love a good dramatic climax so I left the cinema feeling happy.

Overall, I don't think an Ice Age 4 was really needed. I didn't care much for the other sequels and the characters are really suffering. It did have some good scenes but so did the first film. I don't know much about history but was the Ice Age really this long?

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