While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Top Story: Ryan, Soderbergh Join Jury at Cannes
Representing the Hollywood contingent, actress Meg Ryan and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh will serve on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival next month, The Associated Press reports. Joining them on the nine-member panel, whose primary purpose is to award the festival's highest honor--the Palme d'Or--are French director Patrice Chereau, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, French actors Jean Rochefort and Karin Viard and Italian writer Erri De Luca. It was also announced Wednesday that Notting Hill director Roger Michell's new film The Mother will be one of the films featured during the festival's prestigious sidebar, the Directors Fortnight, Variety reports. The film is about a 65-year-old English woman who has an affair with her daughter's boyfriend.
"Chamber of Secrets" Sells Big on Home Video
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets sold more than 6 million VHS and DVD copies combined its first day on the shelves. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film was released on Friday, April 11--instead of on the usual Tuesday--and went out simultaneously in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Spain and Scandinavia.
Brando Settles With Former Girlfriend
Marlon Brando has settled two lawsuits filed against him by his ex-girlfriend, Maria Cristina Ruiz, who claimed the eccentric actor fathered three children with her during a 14-year relationship. Donald Woldman, an attorney for Ruiz, told Reuters terms of the settlement were confidential but resolved both a paternity action that dealt with issues of child custody and support and a second lawsuit seeking palimony.
Britney Gives Up Stalking Case
After lawyers for both sides reached an agreement, pop princess Britney Spears dismissed her case against a Japanese man, Masahiko Shizawa, who she claimed stalked her last year, Reuters reports. Spears had filed a restraining order against Shizawa last December after he sent her hundreds of love letters and tracked her down at several of her residences. Shizawa's lawyers maintained the stalking allegations were "a cultural misunderstanding."
The Catfight Turns Uglier
Sporting a bruised chin, Sharon Osbourne went on the syndicated series Celebrity Justice Wednesday, and accused Renee Tab, a talent agent, of slugging her at a restaurant last Thursday, City News reports. Tab, who has been in a running dispute with the MTV matriarch over a necklace Tab won at an Osbourne party Sharon claims Tab wasn't invited to, fired back the same day that it was Osbourne who started the row by spitting on her. Los Angeles police took dueling battery reports from the women, both of whom reportedly sought treatment for their injuries. Neither has been arrested.
"Watching Ellie" Returns
Seems some people still want to watch Ellie. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom's low ratings last year nearly got it canned, but when a new and improved show premiered Tuesday on NBC it came in at No. 2 in its timeslot with 9.8 million viewers, Reuters reports.
J. Lo Oh So Chic!
Luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton snatched up sultry singer-actress Jennifer Lopez to represent them for their fall-winter advertising campaign, AP reports. Designer Marc Jacobs wanted a "contemporary icon" to represent the company and sought "a sophisticated, influential and sexy woman," Vuitton told AP.
Actors Protest Union Merger
Nearly 50 actors, including Rob Schneider, Diane Ladd, Valerie Harper and Tyne Daly gathered outside the Screen Actors Guild headquarters Wednesday to protest the proposed merger between SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AP reports. Attempts to merge the unions have failed in the past primarily because SAG members, who are mostly film and primetime TV actors, have been unwilling to share power with the daytime TV actors, broadcasters and recording artists represented by AFTRA. To be passed, the merger needs approval from 60 percent of the members of each union.
Role Call: Fisher Tackles Foster Care, Nolan Looking for "Prestige"
Screenwriter Antwone Fisher, who chronicled his troubled youth in the drama Antwone Fisher, directed by Denzel Washington, has chosen a comedy as his next feature for New Line Cinema. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story focuses on the foster care system and is a cross between Big Daddy and Problem Child… Meanwhile, all Christopher Nolan wants is a little Prestige. Variety reports the Memento director has signed on to direct The Prestige, which is based on a novel by Christopher Priest and follows two young stage magicians in 1878 who become embroiled in a bitter rivalry after attending a séance. Jude Law is being considered for one of the main roles.
Top Story: Osbourne Gets Caught in Cat Fight
Sharon Osbourne was allegedly involved in a minor fracas at a Los Angeles restaurant Thursday evening. The Associated Press reports that police were called in when Osbourne, who was dining with rocker husband Ozzy and son Jack, apparently had a squabble with agent Renee Tab and allegedly "started spitting on [Tab] and calling her names," Tab's attorney, Nejila Brent, told AP. Osbourne's spokeswoman, however, claims Sharon had been "viciously assaulted" and treated at a hospital for injuries, although she couldn't comment on what those injuries were, AP reports. Tab, who works for the talent agency ICM, has been at odds with MTV's The Osbournes' matriarch since January when the agent attended an Osbourne party allegedly uninvited and ultimately won a hefty door prize--a $15,000 necklace.
Penn's Car Found Minus Guns
Police told Reuters that they found Sean Penn's stolen black 1987 Buick Grand National on Friday. The two guns that were inside the car when it was taken, however, are reportedly still missing. Penn had permits for the guns.
Crowe Honeymoons Australian-Style
Russell Crowe and his new bride, Danielle Spencer, currently on a "self-drive honeymoon" around Australia, were spotted in the city of Rockhampton on Australia's east coast, Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper reported. After dining at local restaurant, Crowe signed some autographs. "I'm a local but if I was a movie star or a singer, Rockhampton is the last place I'd come for a honeymoon," one fan told AP.
Wannabe Rapper Murders for "Gangsta" Image
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against aspiring rapper Antron Singleton (aka "Big Lurch"), Death Row Records, Stress Free records and two employees claims Singleton murdered the plaintiff's daughter, his roommate Tynisha Ysais, and ate part of her lung as part of a Death Row Records plan to cultivate a "gangsta" image for the rapper, Reuters reports. Ysais' mother, Carolyn Stinson, claims in her suit that Death Row Records, headed by Marion "Suge" Knight, provided Singleton with drugs "to encourage [him] to act out in an extreme violent manner so as to make him more marketable as a 'Gansta Rap' artist," Reuters reports. Police found Singleton staggering naked and covered in blood in a Los Angeles street April 10, 2002. He has been charged with the murder and is awaiting trial.
British Prime Minister Goes "D'oh!"
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to play himself in animated form for an upcoming episode to the hit show The Simpsons. Reuters reports Blair recorded the few lines of dialogue Friday, mostly promoting Britain's tourist industry, for a segment featuring the Simpsons on vacation in England.
Role Call, Part I: Knight Rider Hits Big Screen; Scary Movie 4 on the Way
Revolution Studios will make a feature film based on the hit '80s NBC TV show Knight Rider, which revolved around crimefighters Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his talking car K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), a sleek black Pontiac Trans Am. … If you're looking for more Scary fun, Dimension Films has greenlit a fourth installment of the Scary Movie franchise with a handful of the cast reprising roles, Variety reports. Scary Movie 3 is being released in October.
Role Call, Part II: McConaughey Is Parched in Sahara; Olsen Twins Go New York
Matthew McConaughey is in final negotiations to star in the feature film adaptation of Clive Cussler's 1992 novel Sahara. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will focus on the first installment of Cussler's best-selling Dirk Pitt series where the intrepid adventurer and explorer (McConaughey) searches the African desert for a toxin that is killing marine life (if that makes any sense) … On the lighter side, those cute Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, will join director Dennie Gordon (What a Girl Wants) for New York Minute, an action-adventure comedy described as a cross between Charlie's Angels and After Hours. Think those two will ever go solo? Just wondering.