Nicki Minaj, Drake and JLo bring big fun to this frosty franchise as one family struggles to stay together in a Pleistocene playground. As an added treat, this 3D adventure opens with a short animated film starring Maggie from The Simpsons!
What’s it like to be a teenage wooly mammoth? Annoying, of course! Peaches (Keke Palmer) has reached puberty and can’t help but argue with her overprotective dad, Manny (Ray Romano), especially when he doesn’t want her spending time with hot teen mammoth, Ethan (Drake). Just after dad and daughter have a fight, the giant landmass beneath their four feet begins to rapidly break apart, separating Manny from Peaches and her mother, Ellie (Queen Latifah). Manny vows to get back to his wife and daughter, no matter what it takes.
Little does Manny know that it’s the nutty squirrel Scrat (Chris Wedge) who’s actually the one causing all the continental crackups. In his endless quest for the biggest and best acorn, he falls deep into the earth, triggering earthquakes that cause the giant landmass to break into pieces. Who knew a such a little critter could change the entire planet?
Luckily for Manny, he’s not entirely alone. Diego, the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary), Sid, the sloth (John Leguizamo), and Sid’s toothless granny (Wanda Sykes), are all stuck on his floating hunk of ice when they crash into an ice-ship captained by primate-pirate Gut (Peter Dinklege). Captain Gut’s right-hand feline is a Siberian tiger named Shira (Jennifer Lopez), who may be looking for a new life.
Sparks fly between Shira and Diego, but not so much for teen pachyderms Peaches and Ethan. When Peaches wants to be part of Ethan’s cool crowd that includes stuck-up Steffie (Nicki Minaj), they talk her into ditching her best friend Louis (Josh Gad), a mole hog. Discovering that Ethan is shallow, Peaches learns a lesson about the importance of true friendship.
The best part of Ice Age 4 is the “siren” sequence, lovingly borrowed from Homer’s Odyssey. When Manny and his clan are lost at sea, they begin to have hallucinations of their loved ones calling to them. Granny sees a hunky sloth who resembles Fabio calling out to her.
Overall, the images in the film are playful and clever, and the dialogue plays to both kids and adults, especially when one younger animal asks mammoth-mom Ellie, “When you drink water from your trunk, does it taste like boogers?”
Bottom line: This movie in 3D will delight kids with its fast and furious animation, depicting a skewed but skittering ice age that includes warm, bubbly characters who discover the importance of family.