Ice Age: Continental Drift is the fourth installment in this popular series, but this film is (so far) the weakest in the series. I was a huge fan of the first Ice Age film, and the second film was just some good fun for both adults and kids. But then in the third film they lost their touch that made the series so fun, they got too childish and tried limiting the humor to just kids. This film has the same exact problem as its predecessor, except now they take a promising premise and made it as childish as possible. It's hard to review animated films, because you have to try to have the mind of a kid when watching, but what made the first two films so enjoyable was that all ages could enjoy them because the jokes were fun and smart. But this film has booger jokes, new characters that will only be appealing to toddlers and one of the most predictable stories in an animated film I have seen in recent memory. Just in the first few minutes of the film I could tell how this entire story was all going to end up and they did it all just for kids ages 1-5. I will admit that the animation is great and the best in the series, but you should still take your kids to see "Brave" or "Madagascar 3", two recent animated films that are actually good. I was ready to give this film a chance at redeeming itself after the third film, but they do exactly what that film did and made it even worse.
The story follows Manny, Diego, Sid, Ellie, Crash and Eddie, and Manny's teenaged daughter Peaches who are all living in the ice age still. This time the land has separated leaving Manny, Diego, and Sid stranded on a little glacier and trying to get home to their family. But trouble comes around when a group of pirates try to capture our heroes, and who are led by the evil Captain Gut. Diego also meets a female tiger who works with the pirates, who he develops a crush on. Peaches in the meantime tries to develop a relationship with a male mammoth named Ethan, while also trying to maintain her friendship with her molehog best friend Louis. They must all get back to their family before the end of the world happens, but it will not be as easy as they hope.
The plot took a promising new story for the series and used the exact same formula as the old films. They go on an adventure, they meet some new characters, and they all learn something in the end, and all the while a sabertooth rat named Scrat is getting into mischief over an acorn. The scenes with Scrat are funny than the actual film. I always loved the scenes with Scrat, they are so ridiculous and all the pain he goes through is downright the highlight of this series. But we have to endure yet another story with characters I used to love but now just have lost their touch. I mean this entire film is pretty much the story of "Finding Nemo." A father gets angry with his kid, they get separated, and the father has to try and find his child with the help of some goofy companions. But there is one difference, and that is the pirates, the pirates ruined this film completely for me, they weren't funny or even fun, they just seemed like some big way to add a female love interest for Diego and get Jennifer Lopez to join the cast. I used to love these characters as well when it was just Manny, Diego, and Sid. But now we have Queen Latifah who gets a few lines in the film (none of which are funny) and the teenaged mammoth who is going through predictable problems with fitting in and getting a boy mammoth to like her, and her best friend Louis who is a molehog who tries to get a few laughs but ends up being annoying. I used to love the original characters as well, but now they have completely changed their personalities from the first film and it makes me angry. I am also very tired of these films adding love interests; it seems like just a way to waste time and try to add another sequel, which they will most likely make. I wasn't a fan of the story, characters, or the jokes, but sure enough kids will love it because they enjoy their toilet humor.
The voice cast was good and they still fit the personalities of their character perfectly. Ray Ramono was great for Manny in the first film, and even though I do not like what they have turned the character into, I still think Ramono is perfect for the role. Denis Leary and John Leguizamo are still fun and provide great voices for their characters still, even if their characters are too childish for my taste now. I was never a fan of Queen Latifah in these films or her character; she just seemed like a way to waste time just like Jennifer Lopez's character in this film. I hated Keke Palmer in this movie that played Peaches, she sounded too whiny and she really showed me that the creators aren't trying to provide any fun characters anymore. Josh Peck and Seann William Scott as Crash and Eddie are the only characters I enjoy now (besides Scrat), they give some decent chuckles and that is more than I got from anyone else in this film. As for the animation in this film, it's great. They have really improved since the original film and it's one of the reasons people still enjoy the series. I love animated film that provides cool animation and fun colors, like a Pixar or DreamWorks animated film. But it could not save the film from being predictable and ruining the characters that I had come to love.
Ice Age: Continental Drift could've been the film to save the series from being another predictable and boring story like the third film, but instead they just run it into the ground again. The series could still be saved in future films if they went back to the roots of its greatness but sadly I don't think these writers will let it be possible. They have the same problem I had with Pixar's "Cars 2," they focus more on the looks than the story and characters. I think what made me not enjoy this film the most were the jokes; there was one point in the movie where I got angry because their jokes were so pathetic and lazy. But the film was saved from being a complete disaster by a savior, and the savior's name is Scrat. Like I said earlier, Scrat is a wonderful and funny character that the writers actually did one thing right with. I love seeing the pain he goes through to get the acorn and all this great and fun new animation to his wild adventures makes it even better. But sadly he could not save the film for me, as they rest of the film was a swirling vortex of predictability, lame jokes, and characters that have been destroyed by the money grubbing creators in Hollywood. If you enjoyed the Dawn of the Dinosaurs than you will probably love this new film, but I felt it has taken the series very far back than its potential and it could've been so much more if they cared more about the film than the money they will make.