This film is preceded by a Fox animated short "The Simpson's: The Longest Daycare"


The biggest problem with "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is its timing. It's coming hot on the heels of the very funny "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted".


So, though it is easily superior to Pixar's "Brave" it nevertheless is released just five weeks after - what may be this years best animated feature - the best of the "Madagascar" franchise! Eh, it happens.


That doesn't mean it doesn't have it's own merits, but the truth of the matter is that "Madagascar" has always been a more fun franchise than "Ice Age". In the past, Dreamworks and Twentieth Century Fox managed to avoid releasing their respective toons in the same year against each other and... it worked out well.

But in case you didn't notice, studios have gone all in for 2012 with Batman going against Spider-Man and the Avengers; "Battleship" going against "Dark Shadows" and the Men In Black; Snow White going against... Snow White; "21 Jump Street" vs "The Three Stooges"; and literally Channing Tatum going up against himself. [You would think that Hollywood is cashing in before the world comes to an end December 21!]


There is no real logic as to why Fox decided to release so soon after their competitor - maybe they know something I don't (which isn't hard).


Just like the previous three "Ice Age" films, there is a certain amount of history lesson involved and a little bit of geology class included along with a witty dialogue and Scrat.


Once again, Scrat (voiced by Chris Wedge who was the director of the original "Ice Age") is the funniest thing about the film. In fact, it is Scrat during his endless pursuit of that acorn, who cause the continents to split. [Note: According to geologist once upon a time 200 million years ago, all the continents were connected to form one HUGE continent known as Pangaea. But they split apart and form the continents as we know them today.]

Well, according to the film, it was all Scrats fault. During the dramatic and sudden split Manny (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth(John Leguizamo), and Diego the Sabre Tooth Lion (Denis Leary) get separated from the rest of the critters including Manny's main squeeze Elli (Queen Latifah) and their daughter Meghan (Ally Romano).


The separation came just as Meghan became smitten with the bad boy of mammoths. Meanwhile, Sid learns that his family actually did abandon him and have now dumped his senile and cranky grandmother (Wanda Sykes) on him - and split once again!


During the separation, Many, Diego, Sid and granny find themselves floating on a small ice chunk floating further away from their home. It get even more bleak when they encounter a band of pirate critters purposely sailing on a bigger iceberg. The pirates are led by an evil orangutan (I think) named Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage).


Now it becomes a game of good vs evil and brain versus brawn.

Yes, it does bog down to that and complex lessons of loyalty, trust and water currents overwhelm what could have been very funny moments by Dinklage and Sykes. You see, during animated features, we would rather laugh than learn lessons. That's what Dreamworks understands with "Madagascar".


So once again, we sit there longing for Srat to make an appearance and, to their credit, the studio did include Scrat in more scenes that made no sense but were funny.


"Ice Age: Continental Drift" suffers from that old show biz predicament of following a tough act in "Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted". Though it's amusing, it is a no-win scenario for our prehistoric heroes.   -- GEOFF BURTON



This film is preceded by a Fox animated short "The Simpson's: The Longest Daycare"