PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

July 13, 2012

‘Ice Age’ floats on towards mediocrity

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— The latest sequel to the “Ice Age” movies flows into theaters this week. That might be a good thing if you have small children but for most people, it’s a non-event. This is just the film that treads water for a week before that Batman guy turns our local theaters into his own Batcave.

In keeping with Hollywood's formula for mindless-but-lucrative sequels, this fourth installment features plenty of silly action, a few extra characters, and a little bit less of the heart that made the original movie worthwhile. This is basically animation on autopilot, and while there are some genuinely funny moments and the 3D does look pretty good, there’s really nothing special going on here.

In “Ice Age: Continental Drift” our trio of prehistoric heroes are literally out to sea, stuck on an iceberg and trying to get home to their loved ones. The funny squirrel, Scrat, starts everything off with his never-ending quest for an acorn. His frantic hunt actually splits Pangaea into multiple continents and sets the main story adrift. Most of the notable action takes place when Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Diego the saber tooth tiger (Dennis Leary) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) run afoul of some animal pirates led by a Baboon Captain (Peter Dinklage). The pirate captain’s first mate is a female tiger named Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and that means that grouchy old Diego is finally going to get a love interest.

I didn’t know that fans were clamoring for a saber tooth romance.

The plot isn’t really notable or important in any way. It’s a shoestring that allows the funny animals to have some minor adventures, crack a few jokes and learn a bland morale lesson before the final credits roll after a brisk 92 minute running time. The new characters do add some nice energy, with Sid’s nagging grandmother sloth (Wanda Sykes) and Scrat the squirrel stealing the show. They are both very funny and I wouldn’t mind seeing these two characters in their own movie. The rest of the cast can stay lost at sea, for all I care.

You know that a film has problems when the five minute animated short that proceeds the feature is more memorable than the movie you actually paid to see. I do give “Ice Age: Continental Drift” credit for being a fast-paced and mostly harmless adventure with a trio of very comfortable characters and some funny new oddballs thrown into the mix. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but there’s just not anything special going on here either.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.