Ice Age 4: Continental Drift Review

The fourth film in a series, which I think is beginning to suffer franchise fatigue.  I chose to watch this film, because it would round off a film series, which I can’t particularly remember that well.  Plus, Ice Age 4 is largely a children’s comedy, so I figured it would serve as light-hearted relief after the violent, dramatic Scarface and Terminator films.

The film’s three protagonists: Manny, Diego and  Sid all return to this film.  Manny’s a mammoth with a loving wife and a rebellious teenage daughter, Sid is the lovable, stupid sloth with an arguably more lovable and stupid family and Diego is the sabre-toothed tiger who spends the entire film convincing the others that he isn’t just a big kitty.  

And of course there’s Scrat, the acorn-obsessed sabre-toothed squirrel who is very much the saving grace of the film.  The film follow Manny, Diego and Sid who have been separated from their herd due to a continental break-up and then spend the rest of the film trying to get home encountering siren-like fish and a rag-tag band of pirates who serve as the film’s antagonists.

Scrat really is the best thing about the film and the introductory and concluding scenes are the most creative in the movie.  I just love the idea of how Scrat, in his mad obsession to bury his prized acorn, is the reason for the break-up of Pangea.  The concluding scene where Scrat stumbles across Scratlantis is brilliant too.  Scratlantis is a veritable heaven of acorns whose inhabitants are enlightened and wisened sabre-tooth squirrels, but Scrat cannot help but submit to his base instincts and is responsible for the sinking of Scratalantis.

Like I said, Ice Age is starting to suffer from franchise fatigue and this is definitely evident from the humour in this or film or lack of it.  Most of the jokes fell flat and only caused little chuckles rather than hearty belly laughs.  I realise that most of the humour is geared towards a younger audience, but still, I didn’t find it that funny.  I also didn’t particularly like the villains who I felt were extremely pantomimey.  Whilst they are villains suitable to a kid’s film, I felt like there could have been so much more to them than there actually was. 

 Finally, I really didn’t like the sub-narrative of Manny’s daughter having a crush on the popular mammoth jock meanwhile ignoring her molehog best friend who secretly likes her.  This, for me, was incredibly clichéd and wasn’t done particularly well here.  Plus, this sub-narrative did little to add to the main narrative of the film.

This is a film that has more bad than good in it, but the inclusion of Scrat stops it from receiving a lower rating.  Even though the film tries to pull some punches in sweetness and cheesiness, these ultimately fail and to quote Sid’s grandma “if things get any sweeter, my teeth might just rot out.  If I had any!”

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