After 10 years and four adventures, the only thing you can count on in an “Ice Age” movie is that Scrat is still obsessively nuts about acorns. Bless his greedy little heart.
The bug-eyed, fur-singed prehistoric rodent is so committed to the task that he unwittingly causes the continents to drift, which becomes the driving plot of yet another epic journey for Manny, Sid and Diego.
Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano) is dealing with the greatest challenge in his life so far — the drama and rebellion of a teenage daughter. I feel his pain.
Peaches (Keke Palmer) is more interested in impressing a teenage boy mammoth Ethan (Aubrey Graham), than obeying her father’s express wishes on almost anything. Been there.
However, their heated disagreement will have to wait — Manny, Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) get separated from the rest of the herd on an ice floe drifting out to sea.
“Meet us at the land bridge,” Manny cries out. “And don’t worry! I will find you!” he offers in his best “Last of the Mohicans” shoutout.
Little does he know that his troupe, which now includes Sid’s crazy granny (Wanda Sykes), will be ambushed by animal pirates led by cruel primate Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and a more sympathetic first mate, Shira (Jennifer Lopez).
The pirates hope to recruit Manny and company to a life of plundering, but Manny is singular to his purpose, namely getting home to his family.
He will be aided by a bunch of militant, fearless gerbils whose leader offers a striking resemblance to a blue-faced Mel Gibson in “Braveheart.” The gerbil commander doesn’t, however, yell “frrreeedom” in a Scottish accent (thankfully).
But there’s just about everything else in this busy little movie, from the tempting Sirens of Hercules, to a devoted pet whale, and from a nod to the lost city of Atlantis to an untimely Easter Bunny reference (ahem, Easter won’t be invented for a few thousand or million years, depending on whom you talk to).
This animated extravaganza makes a three-ring circus look like a still-life portrait. Did it really need all that stuff? Good grief, no!
Will the kids be going “ooh” and “aah” every 15 seconds? Probably, yes. Unfortunately, dazzling the wee ones isn’t going to do much for mom and dad, who are likely dealing with an animated anvil, 3-D colossal headache by now.
But hey, no one is going to feel cheated, unless they’re looking for something a little more than big computer-generated sets surrounded by big computer-generated noises.
And please! Will someone give that poor Scrat an acorn? I fear for his sanity.