How’s this for suspension of disbelief? The Ice Age team’s telling us we can walk from one end of the world to another, if not for a prehistoric squirrel and his acorn.

That’s right. Scrat, whose unintelligible mumblings are rendered by Chris Wedge, not only brought on a calamitous avalanche by stomping his precious acorn into the ground in the first of the series Ice Age 10 years ago. This time, he and his precious nut fall to the Earth’s core and accidently set off a hilarious chain of events leading to the continental crack up. This physical break up of the world leads to the development of non-land transport, generations of students slogging over geography lessons and, most importantly, sets the stage for 20th Century Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift.

In the movie poster for Ice Age: Continental Drift, the 3 stooges, Manny, Diego, and Sid, battle it out with the pirates, led by Captain Gutt, for the rights to the ship to safety, and back to their families.

In a minute-long spoof of a geology lesson, we see Earth taking the familiar shape we know today, from boot-shaped Italy to, unreal bits like panicked Scrat faces popping out in an animated version of Mount Rushmore.

Prehistoric buddies, Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), the “poofy” mammoth who hates being called fat, Diego (Denis Leary), the “soft” sabre-toothed tiger, and Sid (John Leguizamo), the clumsy yet innocent sloth, are again in the thick of the action.

Manny falls out with his rebellious daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer) over her crush on fellow teen mammoth, Ethan, while Sid’s family reappears after abandoning him in the first film, only to leave him again with dead weight and senile Granny (but otherwise star of the show Wanda Sykes). Just as an agitated Peaches scornfully says, “I wish you weren’t my father!” the ground beneath them splits, and the trio (plus Granny), are spewed into the massive ocean on a tiny slab of floating ice.

Manny panics as the small slab of ice the trio (and Granny) are on floats even further and further away from the herd and his family.

All that could have easily happened without invoking the massive world shift, but no matter. The group has been launched into an epic seafaring adventure to reunite with family. They face huge sea monsters, including a “Holy crab!”, tidal waves, deceivingly beautiful sirens, and a vicious crew of pirates led by primeval primate, Captain Gutt, so named because he can disembowel anything with his finger. Held captive on the pirate ship, our friends and first mate saber-toothed tiger, Shira, who switches sides and helps them hijack the pirate ship, traverse the ocean in a humorous, albeit slightly ridiculous tale to get home.

Back on land, Manny’s wife, Ellie, (Queen Latifah), Peaches, and the rest of the herd attempt to reach the land bridge, to await the return of the others.

Coupled with a whole new array of surprising and unexpected characters, Ice Age: Continental Drift, the first in the Ice Age series that isn’t directed by previous co-director, Carlos Saldanha, features a load of big names doing voiceovers of the creatures. Jennifer Lopez lends so much sexiness to Shira’s voice, it’s no wonder Diego falls head over heels with her, despite himself. Likewise, Ethan, voiced by Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake, the subject of Peaches’ fantasies, sounds like an incredibly dreamy hunk of fur. Other notables include Nicki Minaj, the wooly mammoth, Steffie, Aziz Ansari, who plays Squint, the prehistoric pirate rabbit, and Nick Frost, as Flynn, the elephant seal in Gutt’s crew, among many others.

But perhaps the most endearing new additions in the movie are the hyraxes (adorable creatures that resemble mini hamsters) that only make sounds like, “Wooga, wooga, wooga,” with whom the slow-thinking Sid could surprisingly communicate with, and Granny’s presumably dead pet, “Precious,” which will surprise you.

Of course, the king of all non-speaking characters, and arguably the most memorable product of all 4 Ice Age films, is Scrat. In a sideline plot that gives us a little breathing room from the main storyline, the obsessive and totally jinxed squirrel follows directions on an acorn shaped map, to get to the ultimate acorn haven, Scratopia.

From Scratopia (a parody of legendary underwater lost city, Atlantis), to spoofs of real icons from Rodin’s The Thinker, which is depicted as a squirrel sitting on an acorn, to the Statue of Liberty, the film packs a punch with absurd humour, catching audiences off guard.

Also noteworthy was the sole musical number, which had Captain Gutt singing, “In a world that’s going under, you must learn to plunder…” Witty lyrics such as these are bound to have both children and adults clutching their sides in laughter.

Movie Posters of Disney's Dinosaur and The Land Before Time, movies that Ice Age: Continental Drift seems to be loosely based on in its fairy-tale ending.

Perhaps the only drawback of this film is its predictability, as it loosely apes many similar animated movies riding on the familiar plot device- the hero’s journey, where numerous struggles are overcome before the protagonists reach a land overflowing with milk and honey. Much like Disney’s Dinosaur (2000), and The Land Before Time (1988), coincidentally also set in the same prehistoric era, in which main characters Aladar and Littlefoot both make the arduous journey, albeit with friends, to the Nesting Grounds, and the Great Valley respectively – the storyline of Ice Age: Continental Drift left much to be improved on.

In the midst of adventures on land and at sea, this film drives home recurring wholesome themes such as the importance of family, friendship, and even blossoming romance. With Manny’s attempt to return to his kinsfolk, Peaches learning how the “cool kids” aren’t as good as her often bullied best friend, Louis the mole hog, and the newfound 4-letter word that “starts with L, [and] ends with E,” growing (and no, it isn’t “lice,” Sid), between the unsuspecting couple, Diego and Siera, Ice Age 4 is a film perfect for both the young and the young at heart.

Peaches learns that despite Ethan being the hottest mammoth on the mountain, her fickle new friends can never compare to her bestie, Louis the mole hog.

As Granny says in the movie’s grand finale, “All this sweetness is gonna rot my teeth, if I had any.” Ice Age: Contential Drift, proves to be an engaging movie fit for those who have grown up with the series, as well as those just need a reminder to put aside the fights and go hug their parents.

  • Movie: Ice Age 4: Contential Drift
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Release Date: Jul 12
  • Runtime: 93 Min
  • Language: English
  • Censorship rating: G
  • Genre: Comedy / Animation / Adventure
  • Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
  • Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Nicki Minaj