Making the Grades
In the late 1980s, filmmakers Don Bluth, George Lucas and Steven Spielburg combined forces to produce the children’s animation The Land Before Time. The movie, which told the story of a group of young dinosaurs, sparked the creation of 12 more direct-to-video releases. None of them involved the big name trio.
The Ice Age franchise may not be at the double digits yet, but with the release of this fourth film in the series, these prehistoric creatures could be lining up for a long chain of appearances.
Like the previous three movies, this one sandwiches two storylines together. The first is about the acorn-obsessed Scrat who constantly tries to accumulate the little nut. When the squirrel-like creature poises the tip of his acorn on the icy landscape, it causes a crack that divides the landmass into the continents we know today.
Meanwhile Manny (voice by Ray Romano), Diego (voice by Denis Leary) and Sid (voice by John Leguizamp) are separated from the rest of the animals when they are caught on a chunk of ice that breaks off from the shifting terrain. Calling out to his wife Ellie (voice by Queen Latifah) and his daughter Peaches (voice by Keke Palmer) as he floats away, Manny promises to find his way back to them.
However what the trio and Sid’s tag-a-long grandma (voice by Wanda Sykes) don’t expect to encounter on their journey is a nefarious band of pirates led by the ape Captain Gutt (voice by Peter Dinklage).
While some of the humor in the past productions has had a decidedly adult overtone, most of the jokes in this story are aimed directly at the under ten crowd. Pre-chewed prunes, slapstick antics and rude bodily humor are among the subjects mined for jokes. However, the film’s frequent portrayals of comedic violence and moments of peril may frighten younger children—especially when characters are repeatedly hit, squashed, poked, tossed and put at risk. The seafaring pirates also fashion weapons out of shells and pieces of sharpened bones that they threaten their captives with. And the heroes encounter some scary sea monsters on the journey to reunite with the rest of their “herd”.
Promoting an alternative definition of family, Ice Age: Continental Drift brings out the best in this group of friends who commit to watch each other’s backs. If your children enjoyed the previous films, they will likely be ready to float away on this oceanic adventure.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Ice Age: Continental Drift.
How does Sid’s family treat their elderly member? What role can grandparents’ play in the lives of their children? What does Sid learn about his granny? How does she help save the animals?
What challenges do Manny and his daughter Peaches deal with? Why is he reluctant to let her grow up? How does Peaches’ mother encourage her to stay true to who she is? How does Peaches’ friend demonstrate forgiveness?