Ice Age 4 begins with Scrat; a quirky squirrel whose obsession with acorns has provided some entertaining slapstick humour throughout each Ice Age movie. On this particular occasion a simple task of cracking open an acorn suddenly escalates out of control and within seconds Scrat the Squirrel has caused a seismic shift of epic proportions. Thus begins the continental drift.
Meanwhile, central characters of the Ice Age movies, Manny, Diego and Sid (a mammoth, a sabertooth and a sloth don’t you know) are torn away from their family and friends. As their world literally falls apart a tale of survival, bravery and friendship ensues.
While the 3D phenomenon continues to either excite or annoy audiences, one of the more impressive elements of this animation is its use of 3D. It heightens the ferocity of some of the featured natural disasters and offers some exciting moments by throwing us over a cliff or plunging down to the depths of the ocean.
These are nicely complimented by a full orchestral soundtrack for your average tornado/ avalanche moment. However the concluding track features its voice-over cast and is unfortunately forgettable and frankly a little desperate. Yes J-Lo. It even includes pictures of them singing in a recording studio. A bit unnecessary.
It is regrettable that flaunting recognisable names and faces in order to promote a children’s animation seems to be fairly common practice now. More time should be focused on developing engaging characters and a less predictable plot. Ice Age 4 has many characters. Too many. Sid’s batty old grandmother has a few good one liners. So does the goofy seal. Nicki Minaj’s character should really have been used more. Plus the central character Manny is a little boring. Although there are some laugh out loud moments the most long lasting childrens stories usually have a memorable brave, menacing or hilarious personality. Most have all three.
Even though the plot is fairly standard, Ice Age 4 will no doubt delight a little person you may have in your life and for what it’s worth that is a job well done. Whether this fourth instalment stands the test of time however remains to be seen.