The Ice Age franchise was always lukewarm for me. While watchable, the stories were never compelling, and the characters were never anything special. Except for Scrat. Everyone loves that wayward saber-toothed squirrel obsessed with acorns.
It’s no different in this latest installment of this bland franchise as we follow Scrat’s antics to the core of the Earth where he sets the stage of the film by ripping Pangea asunder while giving chase to the ever elusive acorn.
Which brings us to the main characters of our story. Peaches (Keke Palmer) is a teenager now, and wants to hang with the ‘cool kids,’ most notably, Ethan (Drake), who she crushes on horribly. Manny (Ray Romano) jumps into the over-protective father role and wants to keep her near the herd at all times. Of course, they butt heads, and Peaches rolls out the hate carpet, widening the gap in their relationship. Right on cue, the continental rift separates them better than their words can, and Manny, Diego (Dennis Leary), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Sid’s toothless granny (Wanda Sykes) find themselves drifting to sea on an ice floe and away from Peaches and the others. All isn’t fine on the mainland though, as Peaches and her mother Ellie (Queen Latifah) find themselves in the path of a moving landmass. Their only hope is to meet Manny and crew at the land bridge where they pray they’ll be safe, that’s if the pirates don’t get in Manny’s way.
IA:CD is a fairly linear story, with little room to develop as it went on. The father/daughter sub-plot seemed way too contrived, and really wasn’t needed to advance the story. If it wasn’t so shoe-horned in, it would have made it more believable, but I guess the writers felt they needed something to base the physical metaphor of the rift on. It seemed that at least they knew when they would lose the audience, because they peppered Scrat’s own storyline at pretty accurate intervals to keep me, at least, interested. Obviously, this film was not for me, based on how often it pandered to the children, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that a film truly entertain both parents and kids alike. Disney and Pixar do it quite often, so I know it can be done.
My kids gave it a 5 out of 5 stars, if that’s any indicator of how much yours will enjoy the film. Oddly enough, I would say that the 4th incarnation of this franchise rivals the 1st as the best of series. That said, wait to get this one on video and take your kids to see Brave instead.