Oh dear. The first three Ice Age films are full of creative visual humour backed up by clear storylines and sharp dialogue. Ice Age 4 is a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean (another tired franchise) and a low-budget 1950s sitcom about an average American family.
When cracks in the Earth‘s crust separate Manny the mammoth and his chums from the rest of their herd, the two groups start to head for a land bridge, where they hope to be reunited. One group goes by land; the other by sea. On land, the story revolves around Peaches, Manny‘s teenage daughter, and her pursuit of boy mammoths. At sea, the original gang of Manny, Diego the sabre-tooth and Sid the sloth (plus Sid‘s grandma) get caught up in a paper thin plot involving a not-so-funky piratical gibbon.
The only echoes of past glory are in the scenes involving the acorn-obsessed Scat. There is a brilliantly funny opening sequence in which the luckless squirrel inadvertently triggers a high speed version of continental drift and an equally entertaining scene towards the end of the film.
If this series is to continue, then the next film should be Ice Age 5 – Natural Selection, in which the mammoths to go the way of the dinosaurs and Scat the squirrel takes centre stage.