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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Sorry for the severe lack of updates but the past couple of weeks have been awful for new cinema releases in this country. Last week was all about the new Leon Schuster movie, which I was fortunate enough to miss because, if the trailer is anything to go by, I honestly don't know if I would have been able to survive two hours of such unmitigated crap. This week, we have a grand total of one new release and, considering what it is, it effectively means that this is two weeks in a row where there is nothing at all for anyone who is either a) over ten years old (Ice Age) and b) not clinically brain dead (Mad Buddies). Not that I want to jump the gun with my Ice Age 4 (4!!) review...

If the Ice Age franchise has one saving grace, it's that it is aimed squarely at kids. Seemingly every other major animated franchise or, for that matter, animation studio always has their eyes on the adults at least as much as their nominal target audience, pre-teen kids. Some succeed brilliantly (almost all of Pixar, Shrek), some fail embarrassingly (most of Dreamworks' output prior to three years ago, Shark Tale), but CG animated movies overwhelmingly try to capture as large an audience as possible. Ice Age, however, seldom so much as winks at the parents in the audience and, as such, needn't be judged as anything but purely kiddie fare.

As such, it doesn't particularly matter what I, a thirty year old man, thinks about Ice Age: Continental Drift. It doesn't matter that I thought the jokes were flat, the characters bland and the storytelling clumsy or that the only times this increasingly banal series shows any sparks of wit or invention are those scenes with Scrat (the little furry dude on the poster to the left) that have next to nothing to do with the rest of the film.

The question is, will kids like it? As noted, I stopped being a member of Ice Age's target demographic too long ago for me to count and, even if I am perfectly able to appreciate certain stories aimed primarily at children, I still do so from an adult's perspective. I don't even have the advantage of being a parent to be able to measure Ice Age 4's success second hand. The best I can do is recall the general reaction of the kids in the packed screening of the film that I saw and draw certain conclusions from that.

With this in mind, do I think kids will like the latest Ice Age? Honestly, almost definitely. It's short and engaging enough that the kids in the audience seldom seemed bored and the bright colours and furry animals are - and I say this without any intended criticism - all but guaranteed to win over young children. It does however, clearly lack good jokes because, aside for the fact that I found the experience pretty bereft of decent laughs, even the kids in the audience were moved to laughter far less frequently and less intensely than the film clearly wanted them to be. And, sure enough, most of the laughs were directed at the crazy side adventures of that hapless squirrel and his increasingly earth-shattering attempts to catch and hold onto a single acorn.

So, this being the holiday season, parents could do far worse than to take their kids to see the latest Ice Age (but do take the little ones to see Madagascar 3 first, I can almost guarantee that both of you will enjoy it more) but, with the best will in the world, Ice Age: Continental Drift is no animation classic. There's simply no way that it will have the rewatchability and endurance of the best examples of the genre and, though it may serve them well for now, young kids will outgrow it far, far quicker than they would your average Disney/ Pixar/ Dreamworks classic.              

This is a film, incidentally, that deserves different ratings for kids and adults so lets just call this 5-star rating a compromise between my subjective 3-stars and the objective kids-will-like-it-but-it-ain't-no-Toy-Story 6-stars.


  1. Perhaps you should sub-employ a youngster to help you with these types of reviews?

  2. Hehe. "Sub-employ". Does that mean employ for free? If so, that I can do! Just, ya know, don't tell anyone who might not entirely endorse child (slave) labour.

    Head over to Channel24 to see that you're not the only one with this idea...

  3. Greetings! Do you have personal pages in online social websites?