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Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) - Movie Review for Parents

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Ice Age: Continental Drift
Photo © 20th Century Fox

Bottom line: Ice Age: Continental Drift

MPAA Rating:PG, for mild rude humor and action/peril
Guide age recommendation:
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy/Family
Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Keke Palmer
Release Date: July 13, 2012 (2D/3D/IMAX)

Ice Age: Continental Drift - Overview

Scrat's obsession with his acorn wreaks catastrophic havoc and causes the great mass of land to split into continents, which rapidly changes the landscape and causes our old friends Manny the mammoth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger and Sid the sloth, along with Sid's Granny, to be cast out to sea on an ice berg. Desperate to get back to his wife Ellie and daughter Peaches, who are both back on land, Manny and his friends are trying everything they can think of. But, when they come across a crew of scurvy pirates led by Captain Gutt, a tyrannical ape, and his second mate Shira, a female saber-tooth tiger with a chip on her shoulder, Manny and his friends are seriously sidetracked.

Meanwhile, back on land, Peaches tries to impress her teenage crush, a cool and popular mammoth named Ethan, as she and her mother help their friends make it safely to the land bridge. Both groups must overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in order to find each other again.

Ice Age: Continental Drift - Guide Review for Parents

Ice Age is one franchise that really didn't need to carry over into a fourth movie. The first three Ice Age movies featured memorable characters, an interesting setting and a good dose of comedy along with a decent plot line and decent animation. Even the third, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, while getting less than stellar reviews, did have a fun new character and an exciting prehistoric setting -- kids tend to love a good dino movie, no matter what grownups think of it.

Everything about the fourth movie, however, falls to what best can be described as okay. Besides that, we've seen most of it before. Nothing new here except a band of "pirates" wreaking havoc on the high seas, and while there are a few fun moments with the new characters, the story doesn't have the depth to really connect viewers to the characters or the movie in general.

Kids may find the movie enjoyable due to the familiar characters, physical humor and action. Some of the scenes involve peril due to natural elements or the pirates and may be frightening to young children. The movie contains some violence between characters, all of whom are animals. The movie also contains some rude humor and mild rude language (no profanity) as well as some mild innuendo. For a more detailed description of possibly offensive or scary content, see the overview below.

Ice Age: Continental Drift - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (High): A couple of semi-violent natural disasters involving movement of the landscape occur in the movie, putting the animals' lives at risk. Also, some animals fight with each other and even use weapons such as makeshift knives, spears and cannons. As Manny and his friends fight with the pirate animals, mild threats and insults are exchanged. Some animals are injured in the swashbuckling action, and there is a lot of pouncing, ramming, clawing and such, but no blood and gore.
  • Scary Scenes (High): Young children may be frightened by the content listed under "violence." Young kids may also be scared or unsettled when Manny is separated from the rest of his family or by the natural disasters that threaten the animals. In a few scenes hideous looking sirens appear to be beautiful or handsome, or like loved ones of the animals, drawing them in as they flash between the fish-like monsters and the objects of the animal's desire. Some children may find these images frightening.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low): The above-mentioned sirens act seductive as they try to lure in their prey. Some are wearing sexy clothes like bikinis.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None)
  • Language (Low): No profanity is used in the film. Some rude words like "stupid," "loser" and "butt" are used.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Extreme): Animals engage in potty humor such as farting. Animals insult each other with mild rude language both playfully and threateningly with words like "loser," and some animals ask the mammoths, "When you drink through your trunk, does it taste like boogers?" Peaches disobeys her father and tries to sneak away and meet her friends. The pirate captain uses some small animals as slaves.

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Medium): Manny being separated from his family may be sad or unsettling to kids, especially since this happens right after a fight with his daughter in which she says she wishes she had a different dad. Briefly, a couple of animals who are hurt don't get up, but they end up being fine.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: pirates, teenage rebellion, impressing others, friendship, loyalty, natural disasters
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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