Ice Age: Continental Drift continues the misadventures of the most unlikely herd: Sid the sloth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, and Manny the Mammoth, along with an assortment of other prehistoric animals. Years have passed since the last story, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, and Manny’s daughter, Peaches, is now a teenager. As Peaches seeks her independence, Manny grows ever more protective. While life seems to be carrying on peacefully for the herd, a low grumble in the earth is unsettling for all. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, Scrat the rodent has inadvertently set in motion the separation of the continents while chasing the illusive acorn. As the splitting land masses tear the herd apart, Manny vows to his wife and daughter that he will return to them. While adrift at sea on a chunk of ice, Manny, Sid, and Diego encounter multiple weather phenomena, a prehistoric primate pirate and his crew, and even an island of evil, toothy sirens that use mirages to lure those lost at sea.
Ice Age: Continental Drift is a compelling story full of inspiring lessons about bravery, friendship, family, sacrifice, and the consequences of selfishness. As has been a theme throughout the Ice Age films, characters learn lessons about the importance of family and “having each others’ backs.” The smallest character in the film, a groundhog named Louis, stands up to the evil Captain Gutt in defense of his friend, Peaches. And Captain Gutt gets his comeuppance after living selfishly and plundering instead of sharing. These are just three of many life lessons that can be gleaned from this film.
This film is fun for all ages and appropriate for children of all ages. Unlike its box office competition, Madagascar 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift does not contain any faux curse words or inappropriate gags. By my count, the word “butt” was used twice in the film, and Sid the sloth says the phrase, “Holy crab!”, when face to face with a giant crab. While this film is fun and full of comedic moments, there are a handful of scenes that are genuinely creepy. In particular the pirate, Captain Gutt, and the island of sirens.
It seems that with every computer animated film released, the technology gets a little bit better. This can be witnessed simply by watching the trailers for each of the Ice Age movies. While I did not view Ice Age: Continental Drift in 3D, the animation and design were incredibly detailed and, at times, jaw-dropping. One particular scene begins with a shot of the ocean, then pans up to reveal the gang still stranded on an iceberg. When the shot of the water began the scene and the “camera” began to pan up, the water looked so realistic that I expected to see Spencer Tracy in a boat or Tom Hanks floating on a raft. However what made the greatest impression on me, production wise, was the animated hair on the characters. Particularly on Captain Gutt. The detail of the hair, its motion, the difference between wet and dry hair—it was altogether impressive. I found myself complimenting the animation multiple times during the film.
A large part of the success of animated films is due to the talent that is brought in to voice these characters. Ice Age: Continental Drift brings back its staple characters and voice actors including Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, Jon Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Sean William Scott, and Josh Peck. As is expected, Ice Age: Continental Drift also introduces some new characters such as Sid’s Granny, hilariously voiced by Wanda Sykes; Shira the tiger, voiced by Jennifer Lopez; Peaches’ best friend Louis, voiced by Josh Gad; and an over-active pirate rabbit voiced by Aziz Ansari. Other featured actors also include musicians Nicki Minaj and Drake, Keke Palmer, Ben Gleib, Nick Frost, Alan Tudyk, and a surprise performance from Patrick Stewart. And the best performance of the film, in my opinion, was given by Peter Dinklage as Captain Gutt. Dinklage’s vocal performance was simultaneously comedic and frightening. The entire cast gave spot on performances full of vigor and gravitas.
After being abandoned at sea by her captain and fellow pirates, Shira the tiger is saved by Manny, Sid, and Diego. Shira is conflicted whether to remain with her rescuers or return to her pirate crew. Despite mutual romantic feelings between herself and Diego, Shira returns to Captain Gutt and his mates only to be labeled a failure and demoted. In the end, Diego convinces Shira that being a part of a “herd” that supports you is better than being part of a “pack” where everyone looks out for themselves. The same can be said about joining a church family. Christians need the support of fellow believers in order to grow closer to Christ, through prayer, edification, and fellowship. In a cutthroat world where people savagely look out for themselves, a church family is meant to be the opposite: a place where people support one another, celebrate and grieve together, and spend time together in worship. This example is given to us in Acts 2:42-47.
Manny’s promise to his family to return to them reminded me of John 14:8, where Jesus makes a similar promise to us: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Just as Manny was separated from his family for a time, he promised to return to be with them because of his love for them. In the same way, Jesus Christ has promised to return to us because of His great love for His people.
Ice Age: Continental Drift is rated PG for mild crude humor and scenes of action/peril.