Continental Drift left me numb. My children, though, had stronger feelings.
I've recently learned a few things about ice ages. First, owing to the endurance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, we are still technically in the midst of an ice age that began toward the end of the Pliocene epoch, a hair over two-and-a-half million years ago. But ice ages have colder periods (called "glacials") and warmer ones ("interglacials"). What we typically refer to as "the ice age" is the most recent glacial period, which ended some 10,000 years ago.
I bring this up because, cinematically speaking, the interglacial period we have enjoyed for most of the last three years ends today and a new glacial is upon us, in the form of Ice Age: Continental Drift. And while scientists are not predicting mass species extinctions, it never hurts to prepare for the worst.
What can be profitably said of Ice Age: Continental Drift? That it is the franchise's fourth installment? That I would have been perfectly content if the interglacial period following the third had lasted 10,000 years?
Ice Age: Continental Drift is an Ice Age movie, and those who have seen any of its predecessors will have a reasonably good idea of what to expect. Manny, Sid, Diego and the rest of their burgeoning "herd" take a journey, encounter predators and natural disasters, engage in wacky antics, and learn valuable lessons about friendship and family. I'm sorry to report that Simon Pegg, who was a pleasant vocal surprise as the one-eyed weasel Buck in the last movie, has only a miniscule cameo in this one, and the many new celebrity talents assembled for this outing—Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage, Wanda Sykes, and others—do not make up for his absence. The animation has continued to advance, as it is wont to do, and a few early scenes of avalanche, tidal wave, and tornado, are pretty spectacular. But put the metaphorical gun to my head and I'd say Ice Age: Continental Drift is worse than the first and third franchise iterations and probably on a par with the second.