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Rated PG for mild rude humor and some intense animated action
By Chris Jalil
posted Jul 20, 2012 - 7:08:04am
The Ice Age gang is back for another go at the box office and the hearts of moviegoers everywhere. And in their latest endeavor, writers Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs accomplish the seemingly impossible: Against all odds, they somehow wrap every traditional storyline not explored in the previous three films of the series into this sequel. Thankfully, directing duo Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier pull this off without a mammoth-like clumsiness.
A short and charming tale, Continental Drift explores the issues of adolescence, shining spotlights on each generation’s perspective as an overprotective Manny (Ray Romano) must cope with his daughter Peaches’ (Keke Palmer) maturation. Several of the titular tectonic catastrophes make appearances this year, separating the wooly protagonist from his beloved family on one occasion.
Popcorn represents how fun a film is to watch—how funny it is, how exciting the special effects are, and how enjoyable the story is on repeated viewings. The perfect popcorn movie would be one that never got stale regardless of how many times you’ve seen it.
That being said, the minds behind the latest icy installment understood what worked in the previous flicks all too well. The core combination of Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Romano makes for enjoyable comedic moments, but Continental Drift feels more like a rehash than a follow-up. The same old jokes and a reincarnation of Sid’s hysterical dance routine from Ice Age 2: The Meltdown appear contrived, as if the production team either struggled to pen innovative routines or simply denied their necessity. On top of that, the lovable nut-crazy squirrel Scrat’s (Chris Wedge) scenes that fans eagerly anticipated are mostly shorts that had already debuted as preludes to other 20th Century Fox flicks. (It’s not wrong to feel a bit cheated.)
Peter Dinklage dons a particularly striking hairdo as the nefarious Captain Gutt, but a just opinion of his enactment cannot be so quickly noted. Perhaps the shoddy musical number blurs rational judgment, or maybe it’s because of the stereotypical character’s uncharacteristic comical tone, but the villain is not so easily placed. Nevertheless, with a band of misfits unfit for the animated avenue (either in their forgettable performances or because of how unbearable their personas are) - Aubrey Graham (a.k.a. Drake), Nicki Minaj and Aziz Ansari - Dinklage is as much a breath of fresh air as the inviting ocean breeze. The Game of Thrones star adds much appreciated personality to the mostly bland brood of newcomers.
Stars & Popcorn grade: 2 1/2 stars, 3 1/2 popcorn.
— Jalil is a movie reviewer for Stars & Popcorn. Jalil lives in Gainesville, where he attends the University of Florida and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English.
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