Stars: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary
Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Showing: Liberty Theatre week of Friday, July 27. For more information call 292-7296.
Tickets: Buy tickets online
Runtime: 94 minutes
There's considerably less drift in Ice Age: Continental Drift, the latest in a long line of lucrative cartoons from Blue Sky Studios and their friends at Fox.
It's all sight gags and action beats, which tends to cover the shortcomings these assembly-line farces are infamous for. And at a brisk 94 minutes, it's less reliant on charm-starved chatter among its increasingly over-stuffed voice cast.
Yes, there are even MORE big names doing the talking for the various Ice Age critters - pop stars Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez join up, with Peter Dinklage, Wanda Sykes, Joy Behar, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. But that old rule that "They only add more big names to the voice cast when they're worried about the animation" doesn't apply, as this is the least chatty film of this series.
The Ice Age movies are known for their sloppy science, and this one has the growing extended family of mammoths (Ray Romano, Queen Latifah and now "daughter" Keke Palmer) split up by the splitting of continents.
Yeah, Scrat, that nut-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel, had something to do with it.
Manny the mammoth (Romano), Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary), Sid, the innocent but accident-prone sloth (John Leguizamo, always funny) and Sid's Granny (Sykes) are adrift on an iceberg, wondering how to get back to the others.
That's when they meet the pirates. Of course there are pirates!
Captain Gutt is the primate who has figured out how to turn icebergs into buccaneer boats, and his scurvy crew of rabbits, sea lions and bloodthirsty gulls has designs on Manny & Co. The castaway Ice Agers plot to foil the pirates, with the help of a gag borrowed from Open Season.
Every so often, Scrat has another frustrating encounter with that elusive prehistoric acorn.
The animation is better than ever (check out the photo-real water and ice here). The 3D sight gags (jabs through the screen, and drool dropping off it) work. No, it's not Rio, Blue Sky's best effort to date. But they've steadily raised the bar on the look of these films, if not the science lessons in the script.
(A brief, witty and dialogue-free Simpsons 3D short film, The Longest Daycare, precedes this Ice Age. Maggie, the baby, is tormented while trying to save a butterfly from a baby bully at the internment camp where she's deposited by her parents each day. Four minutes, five pretty big laughs. Nice.)
Next attraction: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days