That Scrat! It appears that this time, in his never-ending pursuit of and storage of the perfect acorn, our infamous little rat/squirrel has unleashed tectonic shifts in the surface of the Earth, and all of our beloved "Ice Age" characters are in peril.
In a seeming paradise, Manny and Ellie, again given voice by Ray Romano and Queen Latifah, are dealing with garden variety parenting issues with their woolly mammoth daughter, Peaches. She's a teen and wants to be accepted by friends and wants to impress the woolly boys. It all leads to a serious rift with dear old dad just when the world literally splits and shifts, leaving Peaches with mom and Manny with pals Diego and Sid.
Will the family and the friends be united again and can they survive the continental drift?
My formula for a successful sequel is this: It has to be able to stand alone, we need to see growth and development in familiar characters and new characters need to be introduced that will expand the story. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" hits all the marks.
If you haven't seen the previous films, you won't be lost — beloved characters return with new challenges and there are several appealing additions to the cast.
Let's talk about the new characters. Manny and the boys have to deal with Ice Age pirates led by Captain Gutt and his second in command, the lovely saber-toothed Shira. Peter Dinklage is wonderful as the voice of the nasty Captain Gutt, but there might be hope for the beautiful Shira — given voice by Jennifer Lopez — who has caught the eye of Diego. They are great additions.
Scrat continues to delight and while not even a primary character, he ties the whole movie together. His little adventure into Scratlantis, where he's tutored by Ariscratle — who sounds just like Patrick Stewart — is brief, but so profound.
There are loads of messages about family, friendship, loyalty and tolerance but the movie never feels preachy.
This isn't going to go down as the greatest animated movie in history, but it's a lot of fun. I'm giving "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which is rated PG, three stars.
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