These words, uttered by the main antagonist during the climax, effectively summarize the plot of Ice Age: Continental Drift. Truth in words, the film makes no attempt to hide the banality of conflicts encountered in every other kid’s movie, where a continental drift sends the trio of anthropomorphic-prehistoric creatures on a compact “there and back again adventure.” An unoriginal plotline suggests a formula for disaster, yet Ice Age: Continental Drift manages to stay afloat for every other cinematic reason.
The storyline for adventure number four kicks off when Scratch the squirrel’s latest acorn antics accidentally sends him into the center of the earth and starting the continental drift, sending the Pangaea into the continents of today. The resulting shifts in earth force the characters to relocate before an advancing wall of rock crushes them all. Well, all of the characters except for the main trio of Manny, Sid and Diego + Sid’s grandmother, who accidentally end up adrift and swept away due to all of the earthquakes.
The antagonists this time around, besides Mother Nature, are a band of pirates led by Captain Gutt, an ape who effectively defines the G-rated pirate, and his merry band of single-quirk crewmates. Gutt and his crew make it a point to try and thwart our heroes’ attempts to return home at every turn for no realistic reason besides the fact that pirates are supposed to be obtrusive and plunder anything that moves. The audience cannot help but feel sorry for poor Gutt after awhile, he’d really have been better off if he had just left the heroes alone, but he’s a pirate antagonist and the movie needs conflict.
Although some kids movies pride themselves in coming up with extremely clever, and sometimes bittersweet storylines (I.E. any Pixar film), recall that this is the fourth film in a kid’s movie series whose popularity in characters prevented it from succumbing to usual fate of direct-to-video titles. The storylines do not keep Ice Age endearing after the first adventure – the characters and their bid name voice actors once again carry the weight.
Manny, Sid, Diego, and Scratch all make triumphant returns providing antics galore. Unfortunately Manny and Diego’s role are sadly a step down from the rest, due to the unspoken cries of their voice actors grumbling “oh great, this whole love and family subplot again,” albeit for separate reasons. Sid also deals with a recycled self-worth issue, but his character is zany and unpredictable enough to make it work, especially with the help of his grandmother.
Make no mistake, Sid and Granny carry this movie (along with Scratch the squirrel of course, but that hardly needs to be said) and make it a worthwhile venture alone. If you need proof, note to yourself how many times the other characters made you laugh without an assist from Sid and Granny? Very few moments? Exactly.
Fortunately those moments allow you to ignore the shallow plot, and enjoy Continental Drift for the comedy of errors that it is. Not all movies need to be thought-provoking commentaries on life. Sometimes we just want to laugh and have fun. Continental Drift allows the audience, both kids and adults alike, to relax and engage in 90 minutes of lighthearted fun.