Manny, Diego and Sid have come a long way. Over 10 years, the mammoth/tiger/sloth trio have saved a baby, survived a flood and fought off dinosaurs. Leaving the stripped-back loony toons of the first movie behind, the gang’s latest adventure piles on more characters, action, animal pirates, giant whales, sea monsters and an army of Ewok chipmunks.
Prefaced by a Simpsons short, the story picks up roughly where Ice Age 3 left off. Manny (Ray Romano) is still overanxious, trying to keep teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) from mixing with the wrong type of mammoth. Peaches is desperate to impress the cool kids (voiced by Drake and Nicki Minaj) but blind to the affections ofher nervous molefriend Louis (Josh Gad).
Sid (John Leguizamo) has been lumbered with grannysitting his sassy nan, and Diego (Denis Leary) is still trying to avoid everyone. Separated from their families by a sudden earthquake – caused, of course, by Scrat the squirrel sticking his nut where it doesn’t belong – the old gang are on their own again, trying to get home.
What should be the cue to ditch the crowded background characters, multiple storylines and bizarre (if not biologically impossible) teenage love triangles turns instead into a ratcheting up of the silly scale, when a gang of pirates arrive on an ice-boat powered by narwhals. Peter Dinklage voices the orangutan buccaneer who terrorises the seven seas with a gormless elephant seal (Nick Frost) and Jennifer Lopez’s feisty white tigress.
The new cast might feel a bit out of place in the old-fashioned Ice Age world, but silent star Scrat is still there to steal the show (yet again).
Bouncing along on a 3D sugar rush, part four is sufficiently wacky fun – even if the ice feels a bit thin.
Weighed down with daft new characters and an overstretched story, the prehistoric saga is looking a bit old. On the other hand, it still has Scrat –which is all any movie really needs…