Directors: Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier
Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah
Running Time: 94 min
Release: 29 June
Ice Age 4 marks ten years since the first film in the animated franchise, and unfortunately it offers nothing new, especially for those already familiar with the series. Once again the film’s central plot–the end of the Ice Age–is brought about thanks to prehistoric-squirrel-thing Scrat chasing after his beloved acorn. This time, he’s managed to spin the Earth’s core and disrupt the tectonic plates. This in turn causes the breakup of Pangea–the single landmass all continents derive from–and so begins the film.
Ice Age 4 sports a truly impressive cast. In addition to series regulars Ray Romano, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah, the film features Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Peter Dinklage, Alan Tudyk, Nick Frost, Aziz Anzari and singers Nicki Minaj and Drake. All fill out their roles with varying degrees of success. Peter Dinklage, in particular, is clearly enjoying himself in the part of Captain Gut—a prehistoric ape who also happens to be a pirate. As you do. Wanda Sykes plays the grandmother of John Leguizamo’s character Sid with relish, and acts as a counter to some of the movie’s more corny moments.
This is very much a children’s movie. Where Pixar films typically have a sharp wit and subtlety that can appeal to older audiences, this film has little to offer anyone over the age of 12. It’s hard to hold this against the movie though, it knows its target audience and isn’t trying to impress anyone but them. It’s just that all CG-animated films are invariably held against the lofty reputation of standard bearer Pixar. And most, Including Ice Age 4, come up distinctly lacking.
Ice Age 4 is reasonably enjoyable chunk of kids animation and will go over well with younger viewers. That being said, older viewers may be tempted by the knowledge that the film is accompanied by an appetiser—The Longest Daycare, a Simpsons short. It’s a treat for fans of the show’s better days, and marks the first incursion of the franchise into 3D.