In recent years, thanks to the masterworks being created by Pixar for Disney, it’s become almost standard practice to measure the quality of an animated film made for kids by how much it will appeal to the grown-ups in the audience. It’s not really a fair measurement, but let’s face it: it’s grown-ups who more often than not will pay for the ticket at the box office. It’s also the grown-ups who will most likely pay for the Blu-ray or DVD once the film is released on home video, and then be subjected to multiple viewings as the kids enjoy it over and over again as though it’s the first time.
Plus, it’s adults who read movie reviews, not kids. Thus, it makes a sad sort of sense to either praise or bash a kid’s movie based on how enjoyable or intolerable it might be to anyone over the age of 10, and movies like Brave and Madagascar 3 get rave reviews, while Ice Age: Continental Drift will no doubt get panned.
Let me be clear: the movie deserves to get panned. It’s got a few chuckles here and there, but for the most part the formula is tired and the cast sounds like they’re tired and in it only for the paycheck.
BUT your kids will love it, and that’s really the point, right?
Click the “play” button below to listen to our on-air review:
The film opens with the events in “Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up,” the promotional short that audiences first saw back in 2010 when they went to see Gulliver’s Travels. From there, Manny the Woolly Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), Diego the Sabretooth Tiger (Denis Leary), and the rest of the gang must deal with their home literally coming apart as the land masses that comprise it crack and separate. Manny, Sid, Diego, and Sid’s wacky granny (Wanda Sykes) are separated from the herd and set adrift on the ocean, where they clash with a vicious prehistoric ape pirate named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage, HBO’s Game of Thrones). Gutt’s ragtag crew includes a white sabretooth cat named Shira (Jennifer Lopez), who from the moment she appears you just know is going to catch Diego’s eye sooner or later, and a bunch of other wacky animals who in the end are relatively forgettable.
This really is one of those films where the funniest gags are included in the trailer and the TV commercials. The rest of it is not terrible, by any means – John Leguizamo never fails to entertain as the hapless Sid, and Sykes as the age-addled Granny received the biggest chuckles from the grown-ups at the screening I attended. It all just feels worn out, which in all fairness is what most franchises feel like in their fourth installment, whether they’re made for children or not.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. The kids will love Scrat’s antics and the gags built around how gross sloths are, and if they’re young enough, they won’t groan or roll their eyes at the heavy-handed lessons on friendship, kindness, and family built into the script.
So get ready, adults. As sure as the continents are still drifting apart, you’re going to end up buying this one for the kids.
And watching it again, and again, and again.
Score: 7.5 out of 10 (8.5 for kids)
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Featuring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Nikki Minaj, Drake, with Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah. Directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier.
Running Time: 87 minutes
Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril.
Every Friday morning at 7:25 during “The Rick Stacy Morning Show” I’ll be bringing you the “Clueless Movie Review” of the week for that weekend’s most anticipated theatrical releases, only on 1059 SUNNY FM!