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FILM REVIEWS
ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT 

It is like a feature length TV episode around well-known and likeable popular characters trying to deal with a brand new existential crisis. This time the doughty squirrel Scrat causes the great continental drift in its passionate pursuit of the acorn and gives rise to unbearable pangs of separation to a doting father and good-hearted mammoth Manny, our protagonist. We have a Chimp and his gang of Ice Age creatures as antagonists in this familial story that ends on positive happy notes like a Disney cartoon series. The film is interspersed with funny heart-warming and mood-elevating songs. It is a 'cinemascope' film being exhibited in India in 3D as well as 2D formats in original English as well as adapted Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu versions.

Manny like any father is seriously concerned about his teenage daughter Peaches, who is having her first crush. His wife Ellie is not able to assuage his fears. On the other hand happy-go-lucky sloth Sid is joined by his octogenarian toothless but adventurous and feisty granny who has a dementia problem too. Their family has abandoned both of them now and Sid now has to take care of his granny. The saber-toothed tiger Diego is leading a lonely existence as usual. This is going to change as the squirrel Scrat causes the mass of ice to crack and sets in motion the process of continental drift and land-mass upheaval that separates Manny, Diego, Sid and his granny from their community as they are left stranded on a drifting ice raft. They have to return but before that they must deal with a vicious pirate gang, led by a big chimp named Gutt with a white sabre-toothed tigress Shira as his first mate. The intense hard-fought conflict ends in the defeat of Gutt thanks to the combined efforts of Sid's granny and her pet, a gigantic yet gentle whale.

In this process many an issues are resolved. Diego and Shira become a couple, Peaches realizes the importance of her family and a true friend like the mole-hog Louis, Manny understands that his little daughter has actually grown up, and Sid fits her granny with brand new shark-teeth to help her chew her own food. Scrat, the squirrel, finds its ultimate heaven in a floating city called Scratlantis (a Scrat version of Atlantis) with plenty of acorns. Before a sage like sabre-toothed squirrel could stop it, scrat pulls out a big acorn fixed in the city centre's fountain, which is used as a plug to stop the city from sinking. This causes Scratlantis to sink to the bottom of the sea and Scrat finds itself in the middle of a waterless desert in North America.

Gutt, Shira, his other gang members, and Sid's granny are the new characters and they are well developed and caricatured. Some of the gags are smart and intelligent and compensate well for a typical and thus drab 'coming-of-age' story of Peaches, her teenage crush, and the resultant concerns of her father. The film does not dwell on it much though. The classic romance between Shira and Diego is enchanting. The song 'pyaar mein pehle premi jhagda kartein hain, phir aahein bhartein hain' describes it the best. But what really warms your heart is the exploits of Sid and his forgetful and toothless granny. They steal the limelight, the granny in particular. There is also a track where Manny and Diego raise an army of tiny hyraxes, who sing, dance, and march like Scottish 'braveheart' warriors ready to take on the might of menacing and wily tyrant Gutt, the big-tooth chimp.

The trailer of the Hindi version of the film is funnier and the English dialogues have been adapted, not merely translated, to suit Indian sensibilities. It is a good job done and adds an interesting and more enjoyable 'desi' dimension to the original.

Kids will love the film and obviously pull their parents to cinema halls as well. This is already evident from its worldwide box office success. In spite of negative reviews, the film has collected almost $550 millions (About Rs.2,800 crores) at the box office. More than 80% of this has come from non-North American territories excluding India.

We grant three stars to the film – one for its music, one for its brand new characters, and one for Sid's granny as our humble tribute to the senior citizens of the world.

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Rajesh Kumar Singh