Directors: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
Voices: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah.
Written by: Michael Berg and Jason Fuchs.
Running Time: 94 mins
Release date: 13th July 2012
It’s been 10 years since the first Ice Age graced our screens. A perfectly nice, funny animation about three misfits who form an unusual friendship in order to take a child back to its parents. The three main characters played off each other and it’s a very good comedy that works for both children and adults. Since then three sequels have appeared and the elements that made the original so enjoyable seemed to be milked away. As I watch this fourth installment, it suddenly dawned on me why. Too many new characters!
This time round, Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and Sid the Sloth, are torn away from family and friends after the world starts splitting into continents. Travelling on an iceberg, the three friends (and Sid’s ever-so annoying Gran) embark on new adventures that bring them face-to-face with pirates and sea monsters, all in order for Manny to get back to his family.
The formula for these films haven’t changed. We get some smart lines from the leads, then Scratch, the animal with an acorn fixation comes along for a few minutes of slapstick fun, then a piece of peril, then more Scratch, then more one-liners and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, we’ve had this for four movies now and it’s time to move on.
There is nothing original here. More characters are introduced that clearly don’t need to be there. We get Manny’s teenage daughter, who is acting like a teenage daughter and dumps her best friend so she can hang out with the cool mammoths (voiced by Nicki Minaj and Drake so the film can be really hip), a subplot that is totally unnecessary. Sid’s Gran (voiced by Wanda Sykes, who could be nominated for the worse animated ever!) who is dumped on the group by her family…and to be honest, if I was with the group, she would have been kicked off the iceberg!
Then we have the only fun thing about the film, the pirates. Led by a baboon called Captain Gut and with a surprising voice creation by Peter Finklage, the animators try to do something a little different. Not all of them work but as well as the Captain, Nick Frost steals the show as a large, dopey seal.
The charm has been sucked out of this series and with the film crammed with characters (and believe me, you get the idea when the credits roll and we see the stars involved) and jokes we have seen time and time again, this is as memorable as the last two. Seriously, I know that number three was poor but I cannot remember a single thing about it.
The gags are now aimed more at a younger audience so if you have kids who like the Ice Age films, a piece of advice. Get the first one on DVD and make them watch that. It will save you loads of money and you won’t come out thinking, why did I pay so much for a film that is the same as all the others? (And to make matters worse, the 3D is pointless as well…as usual!)
If there is anything to praise this film for, the animation is still of a very high standard. It still makes me crave for the first film and maybe it’s time to bid farewell to Manny, Diego, Sid and Scratch but I very much doubt we have seen the last of them.