Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-Ray Review (Kirk Haviland)

Ice Age 4 Blu Cover

Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-Ray

Starring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Wanda Sykes, Drake, Aziz Ansari, Nick Frost and Peter Dinklage

Written by Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs and Lori Forte

Directed by Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier

New to Blu-Ray and DVD this week from Blue Sky Studios and Fox Home Entertainment is the latest chapter in the now decade spanning series of Ice Age films, Ice Age: Continental Drift. What started out as one of the solo Scrat short adventures, entitled Scrat’s Continental Crack-up, now been expanded into a new adventure for the entire Ice Age gang and they are bringing along a slew of new characters to join them. But has the series run its course with the fourth installment of the franchise?

In Ice Age: Continental Drift Scrat’s nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he’s been after since the first Ice Age film, has world-changing consequences. Scrat incidentally incurs a continental cataclysm that literally changes the face of the planet. The fallout from his actions triggers the next adventure for Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and Sid (Leguizamo).  After being separated from the herd, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny and the foursome encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates lead by Gutt (Dinklage). The Trio must overcome the menacing Gutt and his crew (including Lopez, Frost and Ansari) and fight their way back to the herd.

ice-age-4 group

The fourth installment of the Ice Age franchise continues the downward spiral that part 3 started. Much like Dreamworks’ Shrek franchise, Ice Age has fallen to stunt voice casting and introducing a glut of new characters that muddle and drag down the story and in most cases are used as filler. Even the usually reliable Scrat seems like a lost character and lacks the comedic impact that he has in the past. The voice cast here is mainly going through the motions. Romano, Leary and Leguizamo have all been here before and know all the beats they are required to hit. The only inspired work here is the performance of Dinklage as Gutt. His work infuses a very one-dimensional and underdeveloped character with some signs of life and manages to keep the story afloat. The rest of the voice character work really just serves to push forward the plot without much investment.

The story here is an overblown mess with over 20 characters crammed into this story with each of them getting their own segments in this muddled train wreck. The character of Sid’s Granny (voiced by Sykes) is nothing we haven’t seen before, cantankerous and feisty, but with a slightly more annoying edge. The script really has nothing to it as the story serves only to get the group from set piece to set piece. In fact the entire beginning of the film rehashes and replays the short Scrat’s Continental Crack-up almost in its entirety. The Pirates are not really fleshed out at all. They are left as two dimensional goofball villains that really have nothing to do. They never seem like a threat at any time and the film ends up devolving to a waiting game as to when everyone gets back together.

Ice-Age-4 heroes and pirates

The Blu-Ray comes equipped with a massive amount of special features packed onto the disc (over 4 hours to be precise). Starting with the interactive elements, there is a “Party with a Pirate” viewing mode where an in-character Aziz Ansari takes you through the disc with interludes in the special features. Then there is a ‘second screen’ interactive tablet function which includes digital color books and video. There are multiple behind the scenes featurettes about the film including the two-part ‘Through the Pirate’s Spyglass’ and ‘Granny and the Stink of the Sloths’, ‘Whale of a Tale: Beasties, Myths and Drifts’ and ‘Scrat got your tongue?’. Also pack in deleted scenes, a handful of music videos and a  link to more online ‘Live Features’ and you’ve got  yourself a mighty helping of special add-ons.

Ultimately falling in the with the law of diminishing returns, the once reliable Ice Age films may have jumped the shark, or one of the whales depicted in the film, as this fourth film is clearly the least of the films to date. Meandering and uninspired, the film is really only for diehards of the series and perhaps some children will enjoy the film enough to sit through it, though most will likely leave the room frequently to check out other stuff around the house. Ice Age: Continental Drift is a non-recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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