‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics call latest animated installment 'perfectly mediocre.'

A decade ago, viewers first traveled thousands of years back in time to partake in the first “Ice Age” adventure with the likes of a woolly mammoth, a saber-tooth cat and a sloth. Now the familiar gang of prehistoric creatures, including the recognizable acorn-challenged Scrat, is back for their fourth film, “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” with even more celebrities lending their voices to new characters for this go-round.

While a movie with the word “ice” could be appealing in this sticky summer weather, overall, critics are pretty ho-hum about the new film, tending to agree that the latest installment in this franchise is really just more of the same. Check out more of what the critics are saying below:

The Story
“In this film, thanks to continental drift caused by the earth’s shifting plates, Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) are separated from their friends and family and cast adrift into the ocean on a chunk of ice, along with Sid’s shrewish, long-lost grandmother (Wanda Sykes). Obnoxiousness runs in the sloth family. Meanwhile, Manny’s wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) and their daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), now a hormonal teenager, are left behind on uncertain ground. (Whether it is Pangaea, or the Earth has already subdivided is unclear.) The rest of the movie involves their attempts to reunite against considerable odds, including pirates, water spouts and giant waves for Manny et al. and crumbling cliffs and traversing land masses for the ladies.” — Mary Pols, Time

New and Familiar Voices
“On paper, Continental Drift boasts a jaw-dropping voice cast, including but not limited to Jennifer Lopez, Patrick Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Aziz Ansari, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Alan Tudyk. But in practice, the overstuffed ensemble leaves the cast no room to distinguish themselves, and directors Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier don’t seem interested in coaxing performances that might render their money stars less identifiable. With the help of some low-end boosting, [Peter] Dinklage musters a decent amount of kid-appropriate menace — although he never does explain his gift for finding chunks of ice shaped like pirate ships — but Romano and Leary mainly sound bored, droning through their lines as if they’re simultaneously texting the contractors building the additions on their houses funded by their fat sequel paychecks.” — Sam Adams, A.V. Club

The Looks
“Visually, there is quite a bit of slipping and sliding and falling and careening in a landscape of jagged rocks, spiky ice floes and state-of-the-art computer-generated water. The Blue Sky animation studio’s house style is enjoyably antic, with a playful but never sloppy disregard for the laws of physics. An early sequence in which Scrat accidentally causes the breakup of the earth’s single landmass sets a high mark for cleverness that the rest of the film sometimes tries to match. Among the busy, chaotic set pieces, a few stand out, notably a haunting and absurd encounter with shape-shifting sirens who lure mariners to their doom.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The 3-D Effect
“But give the filmmakers their due: This is one movie that, when it says 3-D, it means 3-D. Almost the entire story seems to have been fashioned to provide excuses for its cute prehistoric characters to zoom toward and away from us and out into space and down to the Earth’s core. It’s a wonder they find time for dialogue in between being jolted into other dimensions. ” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Final Word
“It is as comfortable and predictable as any Saturday morning cartoon, although with higher production values and a spiffier look. There’s nothing in any way offensive about ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift,’ just as there’s no particular reason to recommend it. As family offerings go, it’s perfectly mediocre. Kids will enjoy themselves and adults won’t feel the urge to spend the duration hiding out in the restrooms. Some of the jokes are funny. Some of the action is, if not exciting, then at least colorful and lively.” — James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Check out everything we’ve got on “Ice Age: Continental Drift.

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