Monday, July 16, 2012

Movie Review: "Ice Age: Continental Drift" By Andy Schopp

Release: 2012
Director(s): Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier
Writers: Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs
Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifa, Peter Dinklage and Jennifer Lopez
Rated: PG
Run Time: 94 min

This is my follow up review to the In Anticipation post we did a little while back. While it may not praise the movie as much as the In Anticipation post did, just know that I think that the film still serves its purpose perfectly. Kids will have lots of fun with this icy adventure and parents will at least be able to sit through it with only minor inconveniences. I can't stress enough though that this is a CHILDREN'S MOVIE. I know a lot of adults and families have enjoyed going to "children's movies" over the course of film history, but there comes a point where people over the age of say...9 just cant quite connect with the absurd comedy happening on the screen.

If you want to see exactly what I have to say about it, then come with me on this drifting iceberg floating through that sea of children's movies.


Keeping in mind what I've said (I think 463 times in that last paragraph), this is purely a children's movie. We start our bland new adventure of our Ice Age crew...I mean "brand" new. Sorry. We pick up with the herd once again and see how their lives are basically perfect now; they have all the friends they could ever hope for and never go hungry. THEN IT HAPPENS! THE BIG EVENT! THE MAIN DISASTER! Manny, Diego and Sid get separated from the rest when the continents begin to split apart leaving the three of them to fend for themselves on a floating chunk of ice drifting away from the home they treasured. After facing a monumental earthquake, a horrible sea storm, and a senile grandmother (Sykes) of Sid's, they eventually come across Captain Gutt (Dinklage) and his miscreants. A small amount of chaos and a very strangely located song begins as the heroes attempt to escape from the prehistoric pirates. They manage to destroy the ship, get away and capture/save the female Saber Tooth Tiger, whom of which was Captain Gutt's first mate, Shira (Lopez). As one predictable turn after another predictable turn fly's across the screen in a series of boring and forgettable landscapes and problems, we find ourselves finally at the end of the movie with all of our heroes intact and a few more added to the roster, just so they can churn out the next horribly monotone and expressionless tale of adventrue and mayhem (most of the mayhem being done by Sid).

Now I know it sounds harsh, but honestly the movie is manageable, I just believe that this series could have and should have been so much more. It's a great concept for sure, especially for kids who love dinosaurs, it just doesn't quite become what it could be. There isn't enough heart in there for me to really honestly care what happens to the heroes. There is a subplot happening with Manny's daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) where she is deciding how to grow up and who are truly the people she should care about. It's all well and fine and I think there was even a sub-subplot about how in our lives the clock keeps ticking and we have to make choices that we know will affect the rest of our lives, even if we are afraid. It's scary that things have to change but we just have to "mammoth" up and keep the people close to us that we truly care about. There are also subplots about loyalty and friendship and family. We have one of our main heroes, Sid, who has been abandoned by all of his family except for his grandma. At first he doesn't believe this is a blessing at all, but he comes to realize that there may just be more of a connection there than he ever thought there could be. We get the other side of that where a family is forcibly removed or separated and they have to fight to come back together no matter the cost. The father and daughter that always butt heads come to the realization that they need to let up on each other a bit because you don't want to say something you will regret and never be able to take it back.

I'm going to really change the pace now away from all of that heartfelt life lesson stuff and take a closer look at the animation. C'mon guys...I've seen you do better. What was the deal here? I know you spent a lot of time and hard work to make this look good and in no way am I saying that I could ever do better. Animators easily have one of the hardest jobs in Hollywood and I hate when I have to point out things that are sloppy or flawed because it truly hurts me on the inside to bash on something that I could never do; but I have to...it's my job and my commitment to all of my loyal fans to bring it up. This is sloppy work, shotty at best, I'd say. What is with all of the non-texturized landscapes? The characters look fine and all but they don't look as good as they could. You knew this movie was going to make its budget back easy, so what was the excuse here? Is it supposed to be stylized? No. Don't give me that. It looks like you took the models from your 2002 Ice Age and just imposed them onto a new film. There are so many advances out there in computer animation and it seems to me that the team here used none of them. I just don't understand what happened. Evolve a little bit - I'm not saying you have to make the best looking piece of animated art out there, but at least put a bit of effort into it.

I hate to go on a rant like that, but in this case I felt it was necessary for people to know before they decide to check this out and find out the hard way. All I want is to inform you of my opinions so that you don't have to face your fears alone and walk into a dark theater not knowing what to expect only to find out it's not what you wanted at all.

In closing, I want to finish up with the fact that THIS IS A CHILDREN'S MOVIE. They will like it. It's stupidity humor that kids will get to laugh at and that is a very important thing to keep in mind. This movie wasn't made for me, it was made to make children laugh and it will do exactly that. So if you have young kids and you are trying to figure out how to keep them occupied for an hour and a half, then by all means take them to this. I recommend it for families. Also "The Simpsons" short at the beginning isn't half bad. It's worth getting there on time to check it out.

Otherwise, if you don't have a family, even if you're an adult who has a strong passion for animation, this one probably isn't a must-see.