Good, unadulterated, quick and concise fun - That's what 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' is all about, what with so much packed in this 80 minute long affair that you stay with the proceedings, munch your popcorn, get engaged in all the action unfolding on screen and hardly realise that the film has passed by in a jiffy.
While entertainment has been the core component of 'Ice Age' franchise ever since the first in the series arrived exactly a decade ago, what sets the fourth instalment aside is action and thrills that form a major part of the enterprise. Yes, there were quite a few eye popping moments in the first three instalments as well but the latest offering has action playing a much bigger part, hence presenting a new dimension to the current generation of audience that wants it's film viewing experience to be fast and furious.
This also means that from the basic storyline perspective, the film is as simple as it gets. Mammoth Manny, the sloth Sid and the saber-toothed cat Diego are together again and this time they are marooned in the sea after being separated from their families and friends. The ice continent has been destructed beyond recognition and even as Manny's better half Ellie takes lead in ensuring that the inhabitants are safe, the trio on the ice raft has it's own challenges to battle, the biggest of them all being a pirate and his gang from which one of the members - a female saber-toothed cat - doesn't mind changing sides.
This by itself results in quite a few visually attractive sequences that add on spice to the proceedings. So whether it is tearing apart of the continent, the storm that follows, the fight that ensues with the pirates, the battle royale where the pirate himself ends up losing his ship, an encounter with the sirens who lead to a sea mirage to the final call of survival where the entire family has to come together and battle against the tormentors, 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' maintains a consistent pace which goes in it's favour.
What further adds weight to this entertaining film are fantastic visuals and good sound design that accentuates the overall impact. 3D is not a distraction here and actually adds value. On the other hand the sound design does succeed in convincing a viewer of the massive setting that the film carries.
Any areas where the film could have been better? Well, the villain of the piece is way too comic book and since one can hardly take him seriously, you do realise from the very beginning where his track is headed towards. Moreover, the climactic sequence (where Manny's family is kept hostage) is not just way too convenient but also executed with some real ease. Frankly, a better imagination would have helped in this part of the film, especially when the pace has been so consistent for the rest of the film.
Nevertheless, these are just minor aberrations in the bigger scheme of things because for its target audience, the film has a lot to offer by means of action and visuals. Add to it some spicy dialogues that enliven the proceedings and you know that this latest offering of 'Ice Age' hasn't really drifted when it comes to good entertainment quotient.