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Ice Age: Continental Drift(2012)
History's greatest heroes return for the most outrageously funny and entertaining "Ice Age" adventure in two million years. When Scrat's acorn antics cause a cataclysmic crack-up, Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) go where no herd has gone before - on a high-seas quest aboard a floating iceberg. But a menagerie of misfit pirates are determined to shiver their timbers and capsize their journey home. Join a boat-load of lovable new characters (voiced by Jennifer Lopez, Aziz Ansari and Peter Dinklage) for original songs, spectacular animation and heartwarming family fun.
For more about Ice Age: Continental Drift and the Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray release, see Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on December 12, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck
Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
» See full cast & crew
Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray Review
Or, "Manny's Odyssey."
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, December 12, 2012
A new Ice Age is upon us—the fourth in ten years. It kind of makes you wish for some expedited global warming or a mass extinction event. I jest. (But not really.) While the CGI animation in 20th Century Fox's cash-raking franchise has improved drastically over the past decade, the storytelling hasn't, plateauing with the second movie and then steadily dropping off from there. By now, we know exactly what to expect—a potential environmental catastrophe, mindless gag-heavy action, dippy jokes, and much life-lesson learning, particularly regarding the value of family and friendship, and the importance of sticking together. Far less shrill than, say, the increasingly awful Alvin & The Chipmunks movies, the chief merit of the Ice Age series is that it's watchable. Not great, or even particularly good, but adequate in a this will keep the kids occupied for a solid 90 minutes sort of way. And there's a place for that. Unlike Pixar films, which try to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, Ice Age is strictly for the 10-and-under crowd, and 10 is probably pushing it. The latest film, Continental Drift, will probably appease elementary-aged tots, but for most others it'll feel like a drawn-out Saturday morning cartoon.
Continental Drift picks up several years after the events of 2009's Dawn of the Dinosaurs, with wooly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano) and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) raising their 'tweener daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), who's reaching the age where she wants to go off exploring on her own, hang out with the popular crowd down by the waterfall—she has her eyes on a mohawked tusker named Ethan (rapper Drake)— and generally avoid her parents at all costs. Also hanging around in relative peace are the saber-toothed tiger Diego (Dennis Leary) and the dopey orphan sloth Sid (John Lequizamo), who feels loved when his relatives finally show up looking for him. The elation is short-lived, however, as it turns out they're only there to pawn off crotchety, gum-mouthed Granny (Wanda Sykes) into Sid's care.
And then, of course, there's Scrat (Chris Wedge), the manic, nut-obsessed squirrel whose subplots always trigger trouble for the main characters. Here, his pursuit of an acorn leads him to the center of the Earth, where he runs circles around the planet's iron core, breaking up the Pangea supercontinent—hence the Continental Drift of the title—in about thirty seconds. (If you saw Gulliver's Travels or Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked in theaters—and I feel bad for you if you did—you may have already seen this two-part sequence, titled Scrat's Continental Crack-Up, as a lead-in promo.) The unexpected splitting of the landmass causes Manny, Sid, Diego, and Granny to be set adrift on a giant ice floe, separated from the rest of their makeshift interspecies family on the mainland.
With "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink"—yes, Sid quotes Coleridge, in one of the precious few references in the film to soar over kids' heads—the castaways are in dire trouble on the open sea. It only gets worse when they run afoul of the vicious ape Captain Gutt (Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage) and his band of prehistoric pirates, including Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost as a fat-assed elephant seal, Parks & Rec comedian Aziz Ansari as the feral-looking rabbit Squint, and Jennifer Lopez as Shira, a saber-toothed cat who catches Diego's eye. The subsequent plot is simple; Manny and his pals have to escape Gutt's clutches, steal his "ship"—an iceberg shaped like a pirate schooner—and catch a tide that'll take them back to the land-bridge where they agreed to reunite with Ellie and Peaches.
Don't take this to mean that the movie is in any way literary, but Continental Drift is basically Homer's The Odyssey, or at least a kiddy-fied, dumbed-down version thereof, complete with episodic adventures, encounters with monsters—a giant sea crab, for one—and an epic trans- oceanic voyage back home. There are even two or three explicit allusions to The Odyssey, like when Sid munches on some paralyzing lotus berries, or when the gang is distracted by sirens who sing them perilously close to some jagged rocks. I won't spoil the inevitable deus ex machina for you, but let's just say that Granny's imaginary pet, Precious, is anything but a figment of her dementia-addled mind.
I'll give this to co-directors Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier—they certainly keep the story moving, with one decently staged action sequence after another and absurd sight-gags galore. Gerbils hang-gliding on leaves! A Perfect Storm-worthy storm! Swashbuckling with fish spines for swords! Unfortunately, it all begins to feel a bit routine by the 45-minute mark, as if we're being taken so rapidly through the motions specifically because the script has little to say—in its rare moments of stillness—beyond the usual pap about friendship being more important than popularity. That's not to say this isn't a valid moral/message, it's just that it's blandly and typically presented. And that goes for most everything about the film. The voice acting may be solid, the animation is top-notch, and there are some impressive visual spectacles on display—particularly if you're watching in the film's native 3D—but Continental Drift feels like more of the same.
Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray, Video Quality
We can argue about the merits of Continental Drift as a kids' movie, but there's no contesting the fact that this is the best-looking Ice Age entry on Blu-ray yet. Over the franchise's decade-long existence, the animation has gotten more fluid, the character models have become more detailed, and the environments have gone from looking like a PS2-era video game cutscene to a more lively world that's gorgeously rendered in eye- popping color. In its 2D iteration, Continental Drift features a 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation that's practically perfect. If you want to nit-pick and pixel-peep for traces of banding or other compression issues, go for it—but good luck, you'll need it. The image is noiseless, sharp, and highly dimensional even without 3D glasses. Just look at the finely textured ruffles of Manny's fur, the mossy yellow patina of Gutt's gross-out teeth, the sheen of the ice and the ripples of water—everything is wonderfully realized, with consistent clarity and presence. Color is immaculately conceived as well—from the punchy foliage greens and sky blues to the fleshy interior of a whale's mouth—and contrast is tight, balancing deep shadows and crisp highlights. I see no reason not to give Continental Drift perfect marks for picture quality.
Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Continental Drift spreads out on Blu-ray with a well-designed DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track that makes full use of each speaker in your home theater setup. The sonic goodness starts early—the deep rumbling of the earth's crust, rocks compressing and shattering, water spraying, bubbles glug-glugging up out of the depths—and relents only for the quieter, dialogue-centric scenes. Turn your receiver up a few notches and you'll better appreciate the heavy-duty subwoofer action and whiz-bang-pow directionality of the action sequences. There are a small handful of moment where the aural intensity probably could've been ratcheted up itself a bit, but in general, this is a very immersive, energetic mix. The onscreen hijinks and danger are complemented by a huge-sounding orchestral score by Hans Zimmer protege John Powell—composer for the Bourne series—who borrows and bastardizes Beethoven's 9th Symphony to surprisingly decent effect. The voice acting throughout is clear, unmuddied, and expressive, balanced perfectly among the numerous other noises. The disc also includes a descriptive audio track, French and Spanish dubs, and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ice Age: Continental Drift comes with your usual assortment of kid-friendly features, plus a few longer making-of pieces that may—but probably won't—be of interest to parents.
Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Creatively, it seems the Ice Age franchise has reached the point of diminishing returns, but that didn't keep Continental Drift—the fourth film in the series—from becoming the highest grossing entry worldwide. Kids watch what they wanna watch, and if nothing else, the movie will keep them sated for a while, serving a particular purpose for harried parents. I'm sure the Blu-ray release will sell enormously; the film is visually stunning in high definition, the 7.1 audio is a boon, and the 2D disc includes plenty of extras. A decent stocking stuffer for children in the 5-8 range.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: Other Editions
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Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Ice Age: Continental Drift Triple Play and 3D Editions Detailed - November 30, 2012
The UK branch of 20th Century Fox has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Triple Play and 3D Blu-ray editions of directors Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier's Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). The releases will be available for purchase on December ...
• Ice Age: Continental Drift Blu-ray - October 4, 2012
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the holiday release of Ice Age: Continental Drift on Blu-ray 3D. Starring a myriad of voice talent and with a slew of bonus features, the film makes its Blu-ray debut on December 11th.
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