[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10199[/img] Title: Ice Age : Continental Drift
Starring: Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, Queen Latifpha, Nikki Minaj
Directed by: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Written by: Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 88 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 11th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:
The “Ice Age” series has grown steadily in size and momentum since it first kick-started Fox’s animated film frenzy. The first one was endearing and cute and the second was a bit of a disappointment. I’m one of the few people who actually enjoyed the third film almost as much as the first film. The inclusion of the dinosaur age was inventive and the characters had great chemistry. Even the Christmas special was cute and harmless fun for the kiddies. While not dive bombing as badly as say “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, “Ice Age: Continental Drift” is most definitely the weakest of the series. As with the other films it centers on working together and different people of completely different backgrounds all coming together as a family. However, let me say this, we all know why you’re watching this film. It’s Scrat, plain and simple. We all love to see that little guy go after the elusive acorn and cause destruction and mayhem worldwide. “Ice age” isn’t for adults; many animated films these days strive to walk the line between adult fare and children’s fodder, but the “Ice Age” franchise caters a bit towards the younger audience (although people like us who are nothing but big kids do get a kick out of them too).
We start our little escapade with the whole crew, Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John L.), Diego (Dennis Leary) and the rest all hanging out at their latest safe haven. Manny’s busy keeping a watchful eye on his daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), from hanging out with the wrong crowd while Sid is having his claws full when his ner-do-well family dumps their aging grandmother (Wanda Sykes) on him to take care of. Scrat, as usual causes some disaster and Manny, Sid, Diego and Granny are all set adrift on a floating iceberg into the wild ocean. As fate would have it they meet up with a wild gang of pirates led by the fearsome captain Gutt (Peter Dinglage) and taken prisoner. Accidentally finding out that there is a hidden current that can take them home, Manny and crew escape with their lives only run into the dreaded pirates again. This time they decided that running isn’t an option and it’s time to fight for their families. Taking over the ship they escape, heading towards home sweet home. Unfortunately for our heroes, Captain Gutt isn’t taking this lying down and moves to intercept, where the animals put their lives, and their friendships, to the test in order to get home to their families.
“Ice Age: Continental Drift” is just a tad too “by the numbers” for my taste. It was obvious that this was a film that had little effort and heart put into and, but rather plugged all of our characters into a cookie cutter and chopped out a story. Sure there are some laughs, and Scrat is his usual cheeky self, but the rest of the movie has been hashed, and rehashed, to death in the previous three films. Worn and tired it peters into an all too predictable ending that was seen a mile away by veteran viewers.
I will say this, the story never lets up, while it’s been done before, the pace is kept brisk and the action scenes are wild and over the top. We even get to see a battle scene with a bunch of furry ewoks….errr, chipmunks. The morality lesson is poignant and true to heart, but it’s just something that we’ve seen at least three times during the last several films. I give this an A for energy, but a C- for heart.
Rated PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Wow, the “Ice Age” series has always sported great picture quality, but this one takes the cake. Perfect score across the board for quality here. Colors are bright and vivid without any of the annoying artifacts like banding that an animated film can suffer from. Compression artifacts are nowhere to be found as well. Fine detail is absolutely amazing; you can see every cgi hair on Manny’s fur down to the little wrinkles and folds of granny’s neck. Contrast is nice and balanced never washing out the colors or dimming the picture. Darks are clean and inky as can be; shadows are rich and dark without ever obscuring fine detail. One thing that I’m very sensitive to in animated features is line definition and the inclusion of the inevitable jaggies. Luckily for us the lines are cleanly animated and free of any flaws such as jaggies or blurring edges. Overall I’d say this one can hang with the big boys like Pixar and Disney on a quality level.
The audio on the other hand is kind of a mixed bag. Technically most of the soundtrack is near flawless. I loved the use of surrounds, especially during the battle scenes with the Pirate king. Blows shattering ice cycles all around you, the whizzing of a mammoth flying through the air (you have to watch to understand) and whirring of projectiles encircles the viewer and makes you feel at the center of the action. Dialogue is crisp and clear as a bell, firmly locked in the center channel. Dynamic range was decent; nothing ever seemed out of balance nor effects drowning out the dialogue. Overall an excellent track that is near flawless.................if it wasn’t for one MAJOR downside, the LFE. It sounded as if the person fell asleep at the wheel and accidentally turned the output level for LFE down about 10 decibels. The low frequencies were there, I could hear them, but they were NOWHERE near the levels I expected. Every once in a while you heard a low rumble, but it was VERY subdued and almost non-existent. There was a myriad of scenes that just begged to let my subs out and play but for some reason they never materialized. Scenes with avalanches of ice and grinding tectonic plates were just impotent of any power whatsoever. I honestly thought something might have been wrong with my subs, so I tossed in “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Tron” to make sure. Within seconds my whole house was vibrating to the foundation and I actually had to turn the audio down a good bit, the minute I put “Ice Age : Continental Drift” back in it was back to sleep for the subs. The problem with this lack of LFE is that for a movie that is just buzzing with action and a cornucopia of natural eruptions and explosions it was very disappointing and actually took away from the feel of the movie.
• Ice Age : Continental Drift in HD
• Party with a Pirate! (Interactive Viewing Mode)
• Whale of Tale: Beasties, Myths and Drifts
• Gutt's Sing-along and Music videos
• Pirate Picasso : Enhanced Coloring App
• Deleted Scenes
• Through a Pirate's Spyglass
Predictable and bland for us adults, I did notice that my younger relatives (the 10 and under crowd) ate it up like cotton candy, giggling and laughing the whole time, and for that I have to say that it has certainly done it's job at entertaining the target audience. While not revolutionary, or even that good, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is aimed at the youngsters and seems to work well for them. If it hadn't been so shockingly lacking sub action I'd be more inclined to give it a thumbs up as a demo disc for us animated film lovers, but the picture quality is the only thing that really shines out here on this release. If you're looking for a good 90 minute babysitter this will do the trick, but as someone hoping for a bit more I have to say "Pass".
Buy Ice Age : Continental Drift on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It