When the first Ice Age was released ten years ago, it was a phenomenon; 'Continental Drift', which is the fourth installment in the series, seems to be the limit for the franchise. 'Manny' the mammoth and 'Sid' the sloth, along with 'Diego', the saber toothed cat, still make for a great team, but fail to provide the chemistry in the previous Ice Age movies. A host of new characters, including 'Shira' the female saber toothed cat, who walks in as to Diego's girlfriend, arrive at the expense of the unique bond that existed with the original herd.
'Scrat' - the squirrel, continues his chase for acorns. It is Scrat's hunt for acorns that causes the continents to split and move apart. The parallel story line involving Scrat and the acorns runs much better than the main one involving Manny, Sid, Diego, Manny's wife Ellie and their daughter Peaches.
While in the beginning of 'Ice Age,' mammoths were shown to be on the verge of extinction, after going through 'Meltdown' and 'Dawn of Dinosaurs', by the time of 'Continental Drift', mammoths are found to be in plenty. They have also evolved a sophisticated social life where the teen-aged 'Peaches' has a heavy crush on the local heartthrob 'Ethan', much to the disgust of a protective father in 'Manny', proving that some things never change!
While in the first 'Ice Age' the struggle was for the few left to survive a desolate world of ice, in 'Continental Drift', the struggle is for the many thousands of creatures belonging to different species, living in a world many times brighter and greener, to survive the apocalyptic event of the drifting of continents that's takes place almost overnight in the unconvincing world of fantasy that has been created for the movie.
The antagonists of the movie are the pirate team captained by a giant monkey, 'Gutt'. His team involves a bunch of prehistoric creatures, all of whom, expect for the elephant seal 'Flynn' and 'Shira', fail to make their presence felt. As for 'Gutt', the pirate captain, he has tried to be funny like Jack Sparrow and cruel like Davy Jones, but the problem is that he hasn't got either right.
Sid gets a family, a 'Granny' sloth, who does manage to evoke humor at times, but her sense of humor isn't anywhere near Sid’s. The storyline itself lacks the kind of humor that was the trademark of the unusual herd. It is like, when the movies became hits, the storyline too was given a more cheerful and ‘warmer’ tone in an effort to grant more life to the franchise. The same world, which was shown grim and cold in the first part, now gets picturised as lively and worthy of being saved in the latest part.
What made Diego, Manny and Sid a unique team was the dependence of three loners on each other to survive in a doomed world. When the backdrop changes from winter to spring, Diego, Manny and Sid seem misplaced. But the fun is still there and the franchise is still growing, and Continental Drift has swept through the box office. Yet, by the end of the movie, Ice Age 4, with all its fun and one liners, does not carry the same feel of an 'Ice Age' anymore.
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