|The fourth installment in the wildly popular Ice Age franchise arrives in theatres a little worn but at least much better than the last chapter, which had wooly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) and sabre-tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary) interacting with dinosaurs. Ice Age 4: Continental Divide has our trio of furry friends seperated from home and loved ones when the continental shelf cracks and divides—courtesy of Skrat the squirrel’s latest attempt to pry a cherished acorn from the earth’s core.|
The plot is simple: Manny and company must get back home, and this time around, they must brave tropical storms and deep waters, not to mention a band of pirates headed by the feral Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage). That pirates—be they an odd assortment of animals and sea creatures—are commingling with, well, sloths and such is all rather farfetched. It has one doing a lot of head scratching to recall prehistoric timelines, a feeling that’s heightened by the surreal yet kicky musical number that lands smack dab in the middle of the movie.
The dialogue is pretty pedestrian, lacking some of the first two installments’ best wit and energy, and relies too heavily on nyuk-nyuk jokes about global warming. The visuals remain sparking and sharp, however, even in regular, not 3D, vision. There’s never any doubt that Manny will reunite with Ellie (Queen Latifah) and daughter Peaches, or that Diego will win over pirate she-tiger Shira (J-Lo at her most monotone), but the experience doesn’t feel like a complete waste. It’s kind of the cinematic equivalent of an iced latte—it cools you off, however temporarily, without giving you brain freeze, and, bonus, it gets the kids out of the heat for a couple hours.