By Dirk Sonniksen | July 12, 2012
Director(s): Steve Martino, Michael Thumeier
Writer(s): Michael Berg (screenplay), Jason Fuchs (screenplay)
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, Chris Wedge
It’s time to once again dust off those wacky Paleolithic mammals from 2002 and make another sequel. If you are unclear as to the premise of Ice Age: Continental Drift, it is the aforementioned mammals set against a backdrop of tectonic upheaval, ocean swells, and a crazy orangutan dressed as a pirate.
Manny (Ray Romano), Ellie (Queen Latifah), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) are back, with Manny and Ellie’s teenage mammoth daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer) tagging along. Our nomadic comedians will brave the changing world, make some jokes, and run from stuff. They are at first running from the cataclysmic events brought about by Scrap the squirrel (Chris Wedge). They then begin running from Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage), the no-good pirate and his madcap crew. They will continue running, with Captain Gutt in hot pursuit, and the world falling apart, until…there is a happy ending.
While the happy ending is not surprising (nor unwanted), the writers’ tendency to offer up trite schlock as comedy, dressed up with new characters reeking of 21st century pop culture is reminiscent of much of the teen garbage on television today. Having seen the previous Ice Age installments, I was content with jokes aimed at a young audience, and got a kick out of the intended historical revisionism. The historical faux pas are plentiful in Continental Drift as well, but the cute prehistoric comedic element has been lost to the encroachment of urban cool and a slew of celebrity names attached to the film.
What is unfortunate about Ice Age: Continental Drift is that the directors and writers attempted to insert trendy/hip characters (Peaches and her posse) in a movie about a mammoth, a sloth, and a saber-toothed cat, instead of sticking with what worked. So what worked before? Manny, Sid, and Diego, trekking through time, cracking wise, and getting into trouble. While I appreciate the life lesson Peaches experiences, it is the same life lesson that is in every kid’s movie! I’d much rather become immersed in more pointless banter between Sid and Manny, and maybe throw some more crazy history in for the kids…and some adults.
I do hope Ice Age: Continental Drift banks at the box office, as the studio is going to need to make back what they spent on the ridiculous number of celebrity voices in the film. While it’s true that big names usually mean big bucks, why not ditch much of the A-list nonsense and spend some money actually developing something worthwhile. Did my kids enjoy Continental Drift? Yes they did, and they know nothing of the Hollywood pedigrees of Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage (although I love The Dinklage), Wanda Sykes, Drake, Simon Pegg, or Jennifer Lopez. See, I just saved this studio millions. I rest my case.