Friday, July 13, 2012

‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ is all laughs and action

By James Colt Harrison

Ice Age: Continental Drift  is a funny, laugh-a-minute animated film from 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios. With this hilarious film, they will be giving Pixar some stiff competition. Pixar, of course has had the animated film cornered with their various hits over the years. Now, Fox and Blue Sky upped the ante.

It’s a great comfort to see all the loveable characters from the first films in the series, Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for more hijinks, danger, and belly laughs.

Never has there been animated film that is more like an adventure thriller than this one. From the very first scene there is action, spills, near-misses, cliff hangers, and high-speed careening down ice cliffs. It all keeps the audience on the edges of their seats. And with the added thrill of 3D, the film is a visual delight as well. When the 3D process is done well it is a treat. Characters take on depth and circumference—some more than others who might have potbellies or large mammoth trunks. These appendages loom large on the 3D screen and elevate out over the audience. Kiddies will love it and so will mom and pop.

But don’t get me wrong, it is not only a film for the kids. Adults can certainly enjoy it because of the humor and the spoken word. With established comics such as Ray Romano as Matty the Mammoth, John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth, Denis Leary as Diego, a sabre-toothed Smilodon, Wanda Sykes as Granny, and TV’s Joy Behar as Sid’s mom Eunice, there are bound to be laughs just from the way these pros say their lines. Teens will be enthralled to hear their favorites such as Keke Palmer as teen daughter Peaches, Drake as the boy she likes, Jennifer Lopez as slinky cat Shira, and Nicki Minaj as Steffie. To top off all those stellar names, there is Queen Latifah as mom woolly mammoth.

Yes, there is a plot of sorts to tie one scene to the following one. The world is cracking apart into separate continents, and all the animals are getting stranded on bits and pieces of land and ice floes. A dastardly pirate, played with magnificence by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), tries to force everyone to join his pirate ship to no avail. Naturally he seeks revenge. But the plot is not what the kids will come to see; they will want to see Scrat (Chris Wedge) fumbling with his acorn, and Sid getting into trouble. And it’s a good guessing game trying to figure out which star is doing which animal voice. After awhile it dawns on you who they are and you shout in recognition and amazement. Not previously mentioned are Sean William Scott as Crash, Aziz Ansari as Squint, Josh Peck as Eddie, and Patrick Stewart as Ariscratle.

The film was directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier, with the screenplay written by Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs and Mike Reiss. Music is by John Powell and the stunning cinematography is by Renato Falcao. 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios.

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