It’s really hard to write about Ice Age 4 so soon after writing about Madagascar 3. They’re stunningly similar movies. Sure they’re superficially similar as they’re both movies about talking animals and the plots are both about long odessseys to return home. They’re also similar on a deeper level as they’re both heavy on action, low on any sort of real story and are cynical attempts to provide parents with a shiny flickery babysitter for long summer afternoons.
It’s a shame that the film is such a dreary cash-in because I think there’s stuff in the movie that’s actually daring. The central couple is interracial. I mean, I guess they aren’t because they’re both mammoths but it’s very recognizable and white Ray Romano married to very recognizable and black Queen Latifah. Considering that I cannot come up with another interracial couple in all of animated film history I think it’s pretty awesome to see it here. There’s also their daughter who is the object of the affections of a mole hog which would actually be closer to actually interracial. Try not to think about how a tiny rodent and a mammoth would have sex though, it takes a lot of the luster off the wholesome kid’s movie.
I also appreciated the stunt casting in this one a little more than I did in Madagascar. Having Walter White is cool and all but Ice Age has Tyrion Lannister! They also have hipper comedy nerd symbols with Aziz Ansari and Nick Frost. I also just like Dennis Leary more than I like David Schwimmer. There, I said it. It’s too bad the movie isn’t any qualitatively better. It really is.
That’s really the long and the short of it. This is a crummy movie with some good ideas that they didn’t seem to care enough about to execute properly. Maybe that’s just what making the fourth movie in a series is like. I don’t know, I just know I didn’t enjoy watching it.