2012-07-13

Ice Age: Continental Drift – Somehow, It’s Still Kinda Fun

by Yo Snyder

Wow. I can’t believe there are four movies in this franchise now.
Also, do you remember when there were movies, especially animated ones,
that weren’t sequels? Well, Pixar is still putting out new stuff (thank
goodness for Brave), and there are some new originals in the
works, but recently it’s kind of felt like just about more than any
other genre, family animated movies are all about the sequels. Heck, at
Comic-Con in San Diego we’ve already heard about plans for Kung-Fu Panda 3 and Madagascar 4, and with a Monsters Inc.
prequel on the way next year, well, I guess we just better get used to
seeing more of the same old, same old. Fortunately, in the case of Ice Age at least, the fourth installment, Continental Drift,
isn’t nearly as stale and worn out as it could be. Formulaic?
Certainly. Prefunctionary? Oh yeah, they could do this song and dance in
their sleep. But the big thing is it still has some zip, energy and
laughs. Innocuous is the best word to describe; harmless, innocuous fun.

You know, at this point I think really all you need to know is
whether or not the kids, of which there were plenty when I went to go
see this one, are still entertained by these characters. All of the
voice actors are obviously very comfortable in their parts, with Wanda
Sykes stealing the show as Sid’s grandma. The plot doesn’t do much more
than just help push the characters from one moment to the next, one gag
to the next, one heart-warming life-lesson to the next. In fact, it
almost does that literally here as there’s a giant shelf of rock pushing
the characters along. The humor is almost clock-like in its efficiency
(but fortunately is often still amusing), as are the sight gags. And of
course, everything looks great, and admittedly, this one even makes some
fun use of the 3D effect. So, back to the original questions, are the
kids still entertained? Yes. They had plenty of moments where they
laughed and giggled and thrilled and enjoyed. Even the parents were able
to enjoy a few amusing moments that went right over the heads of the
kids. Ice Age: Continental Drift may be almost workman-like in
how goes about treading over it’s well worn formula, but it still pretty
amusing, and it even isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself: “We fought
dinosaurs in the ice age, which, when you think about it, doesn’t really
make any sense.” Good one. 

One of the new wrinkles this time
around is Manny learning to live with a daughter who’s growing up. As
teens are wont to do, she’s pushing against the rules and boundaries
he’s set, and he’s working hard to keep her his safe, little girl. I
loved it when Manny said, “I’m just trying to protect you; that’s what
fathers do.” I can readily identify with that, being a father myself of
two girls (another great line; “When can I hang out with boys” “When I’m
dead. Actually, three days after, just to make sure I’m dead.”),  but
more importantly, so can God, our Heavenly Father. Many say they don’t
want to have anything to do with Christianity because of all its rules,
which they believe are restrictive and just ruin anything “fun”. But
when God gave his rules, guidelines and principles, he was doing what
any father wants to do; help protect his kids. The kicker here is that
none of his rules are unfair, unjust, or unreasonable. In fact, playing
by his rules don’t take the fun out of life, they enhance. On the flip
side, there are some who believe that following all the rules is the way
to get heaven; it’s why “good” people go there. Well the kicker is no
matter how much we try, we can’t really follow all the rules, and
therefore, no one is ever “good” enough to go to heaven. Well, again,
God as the loving father who wants to protect us, took care of that
problem as well. Through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus,
sin, which is the result of our inability to keep the rules, is taken
care of. Through Jesus we can be seen as “good” enough for heaven; not
because of what we’ve done, but because of what He’s done. God is a
loving father who just wants what’s best for us. Kids don’t always
understand that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. 

By this point you should pretty much know what you’re going to get with an Ice Age
movie. Scrat and his endless quest for that ever elusive acorn
continues to provide some of the best laughs, and Manny and his “herd”
continue to provide warm platitudes about the importance of family, of
not abandoning friends or changing who we are just to “fit in”, and
these films continue to provide a completely inaccurate picture of
pre-historic life. But hey, you know what, these movies still make kids
laugh, and amazingly enough, Continental Drift still has some
energy, zip and pep. Plus, it has much less innuendo than the last
movie, so as I said earlier, it’s harmless, innocuous fun that will help
you enjoyable pass a couple hours in a nice air-conditioned theater
with the family during hot summer days; and that’s not so bad, is it? 

Score: 4 of 7