Opening 5 Jul 2012
Tsk, tsk, tsk Scrat the Prehistoric Squirrel! I’m always sceptical of movies having too many parts to it. When I first heard that this series would be having a fourth installment, I was almost disappointed, thinking that they would surely ruin a good thing by adding on to the last. However, lovers of the Ice Age films will be delighted with this fourth installment, in 3D. As with the other movies, viewers see Scrat searching for a hiding spot for his beloved acorn. Unfortunately, Scrat hasn’t gotten any smarter since the last Ice Age film came out in 2009. This time, however, Scrat sets about a series of catastrophic events that causes the Earth to literally move. Scrat’s boo-boo leaves Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) separated from the rest of their home and herd, out to sea afloat on a block of ice. Sid is also delighted to find that his Granny (the comically talented Wanda Sykes brings this character to life), who was shortly before rudely abandoned by his dysfunctional family, has managed to catch a ride as well, along with her imaginary dead pet, Precious.
In the meantime, Manny’s mammoth family (teenage daughter Peaches and wife Ellie) are forced to move other friends and family along to the land bridge, fighting against time and an ever-shifting wall of rock that is sure to push them into the ocean as well. Poor Peaches (Keke Palmer) is struggling with being a teenager, her identity in being a member of a less than normal herd, and her crush of fellow mammoth, Ethan. This thread is finely woven through the storyline, weaving a tale of familial strengths and adding something that pre-teens can relate to.
This patchwork family’s male crew is in a rut, wondering how they will ever get back to land and the rest of their “herd,” when they suddenly find themselves captured by a motley crew of pirates. This is where the notorious Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones), who shares a startling resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow, only in primate form rather than Johnny Depp loveliness. It should be noted here to parents, and this is why this film only received four stars, that this bad guy is really bad. He is adorned with sharpened claws, hence his name. He often uses the word “kill” and one phrase comes to mind, to phrase Sid the Sloth, “two words. Anger. Management.” His crew is an extremely colorful bunch of characters, including the female sabre, Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez). Captured and at a loss, the Ice Age crew fight to separate themselves from Captain Gutt, thus earning a dangerous foe, and continue on their adventure to get home. Fast-paced and full of action, this film keeps kids (almost literally) glued to their seats. In a parallel story, Scrat has found a treasure map in the hull of an acorn, leading him to the Acorn Mecca, or, Scratlantis, as we later find out. New characters are introduced, foot-tapping beats are thrown into the soundtrack, and there are many laughs to be had over the course of this film.
I took both my girls with me, Erika (8) and Emily (5), and they both loved the movie right away. However, some scenes were just a little much for Emily, as she cuddled closer to me. I would suggest letting kids closer to six than five see this. When asked what their favorite parts, Erika said, “The cute little hamsters that attack Captain Gutt and Scrat breaking the world were the best!” and Emily quipped, “Granny not having her teeth.” I would definitely recommend seeing this in the theaters, a great time is sure to be had by all. (Kara Wahn)