Reviews: Ice Age

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Ice Age 4? Ice Age bore!
The original Ice Age was a minor classic of CGI animation, and its more comedic sequel, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, still brings a broad smile to my face, even if it lacks the sense of sophistication of the first movie. However, the "threequel" to the series, Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, left me rather (ahem) cold. Much like Shrek The Third and even Toy Story 3, it was a movie that I just could not get into despite it not being especially terrible. It was merely passable at best. And then along comes Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, which I didn't see in the cinema, obviously. And I need to stop being so curious, because I decided to finally watch Ice Age 4 online, just to see how bad it actually is. I was warned.

Here's the thing. In Ice Age 3, any middling action scenes or mediocre jokes could be mostly forgiven (even if they contributed to the film not being as good as the first two movies), because they were at least surrounded by a decent narrative. But watching Ice Age 4 is a serious endurance test. In fact, Ice Age 4 is so inane that by the half-way point I simply put my head in my hands, wondering what on Earth the writers were even thinking. Ice Age: Continental Drift is an absolute train wreck, to the point where I actually found it difficult to make it to the end.

Almost from the very first minute of the movie, Ice Age 4 proves to be spectacularly incompetent, and it only gets worse and worse as it progresses. The plot is absolutely worthless; it meanders constantly, failing to introduce any likable or memorable characters. Even the original, likable trio of Manny, Sid and Diego is rendered stale in this movie. The film is infuriatingly stupid and shallow, like a bunch of tacky direct-to-DVD Ice Age short films stitched together and passed off as a movie. The pacing and brainless dialogue are particularly frustrating; it's like being on a really dull, overlong roller-coaster with a lousy stand-up comedian reading loads of groan-worthy jokes out of a joke book. It's an irritatingly vapid and dim-witted experience.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is painfully, depressingly misguided. If it weren't for its solid animation, there would be nothing left to redeem it. If you loved the first Ice Age, the second one and even the third one, please steer clear of this catastrophic failure. Why did it have to stoop so low?
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Continental Drift -don't even bother
Whether you're a fan of the first three or just a fan of the first one, do NOT watch "Continental Drift."

The other movies were great because they had charm, lovable characters, and jokes to make kids and adults laugh. But this movie seems to have forgotten that they have an adult fanbase and settled for cheap jokes that only a hyper little kid would find funny.

The characters we've been following suddenly aged a lot. Remember Peaches the baby? Now she's a teenager. And, because nobody is allowed to be single, they gave her a boyfriend -in the form of a pathetic little dork. He has a crush on her but she wants to go out with a bad boy, and the writers assume that this is enough to make us feel sorry for him. Actually, it comes off as if he doesn't care about her feelings and wants to hook up with her more than he wants her to be happy. She makes friends with the "wrong crowd" but eventually gets together with him because he manipulated her enough to make her feel bad for him. Give me a break.

Then there's the other, more important plot about the family being separated and trying to get back together again. The annoying thing about this is that the two female characters they've introduced in the franchise are suddenly miles away, while the male characters we started off with (and Sid's grandmother) are staying with us for most of the movie. But don't worry, the audience won't notice if we just replace them with one new female that we know nothing about, right? And this new female is just a female version of Manny who will become Manny's girlfriend because they can't have any single guys. Except for Sid, because he's a loser.

The rest of the plot bounces around all over the place like a kid on sugar-high. There's something about pirates and escaping but it's kind of hard to follow, and the film keeps jumping from this to the side-plot with Peaches and her stupid boyfriend.

So what was the point of this movie? There wasn't a point to it. With the first movie, the point is getting the baby back home (and making new friends), in the second one the point is escaping the changing environment (and making new friends), with the third one the point is dealing with the neighboring dinosaurs (and starting a family.) This one may have had some point about staying with your family, but I felt too lost.
  comments: 2
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An overlooked classic of the early 2000s
A childhood favourite that Iíve always loved, the original Ice Age is a pretty underrated movie that is somewhat forgotten by many family film fans. This is due to the fact that it came out at a time where the now iconic Shrek and Monsters, Inc. were popular, both having received much better reviews from critics and audiences. Its three sequels havenít done it any favours either. Though I admittedly do like Ice Age 2, it wasn't a big hit. The far worse Ice Age 3 and Ice Age 4 definitely damaged the franchise's reputation further, and because of this, the first movie is now sadly overlooked.

Ice Age, as a movie, works because of how it takes a straightforward premise and makes the most out of it. Thanks to its variety of interesting scenes and its good pace, this movie has an excellent sense of adventure, and the Rusted Root classic ďSend Me On My WayĒ really helps to make it a fun, engaging journey. The ice slide scene, for example, is especially fun and well-crafted. The film has plenty of witty humour as well, and although some of it can be mean-spirited, itís always in good fun, and never goes too far. The filmís unique selection of characters, unusual settings and good balance of optimism and melancholy means it rarely has any hiccups, and strong, confident voice acting holds it all together.

Another great aspect of this movie is its heart. The fact that the movie starts out with two anti-heroes Ė the bitter mammoth Manny and the menacing smilodon Diego (plus Sid, of course) and ends with the three of them a team, is wonderful, with just the right amount of relatable character development to make it happen. The toddler that the trio look after is adorable as well, and watching it being returned to its father is, to me, one of the most heart-warming moments in cinema. The final great element of this movie is its wonderful soundtrack, especially the triumphant and unforgettable opening theme.

The only obvious flaw I can find in this movie is its CGI animation. While itís certainly colourful and at times beautiful, it does look a bit dated and awkward nowadays compared to most of the Pixar and DreamWorks movies. But thatís really the only criticism I can make. This movie was always one of my favourites as a kid, and I still enjoy it just as much today. Ice Age is thoroughly enjoyable animated adventure that, quite frankly, deserves better.
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