Feldman @ the flicksPeter Feldman
Peter Feldman: Another instalment of the popular Ice Age franchise makes an appearance for the holidays and should find a ready audience.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Cast: Ray Ramano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinglage, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes
Directors: Mike Thurmeister and Steve Martino
Keeping a popular film franchise going is a difficult task. You have to come up with new ideas, some new characters and fresh motivation for a group of characters who have become clearly defined entities with human personality traits.
Directors Mike Thurmeister and Steve Martino, together with their massive crew of animators, have stitched together another cheery and worthwhile adventure yarn, the fourth in the series, that will appeal to the younger brigade, as well adults who manage to stay awake during some of the production’s more inert periods.
Our sub-zero heroes, the woolly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), the sabre tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary), and the sloth Sid (John Leguizamo), find themselves facing another catastrophe when the earth’s crust develops huge cracks and the continents drift apart.
The three devoted friends are afloat in choppy seas on an iceberg, separated from family and friends and not knowing what the future holds.
It’s a terrible time to be away from the family because Manny’s teenage daughter, Peaches, is trying to find her social footing by attempting to make an impression on her New Best Friends.
Manny’s wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) is not too impressed by nature’s turn of events and is concerned about what will happen to her husband and his friends who are in for a seriously bumpy ride.
The filmmakers have thrown everything into the mix with plenty of visual thrills and spills, a message or two about relationships and the eco system, and a new cast of quirky characters.
These include Sid’s grumpy and feisty granny (Wanda Sykes), who has choice words for every occasion, a sexy companion for Diego, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, and a ferocious pirate, Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage), a great ape with a hardy crew, who take Manny, Diego and Sid hostage on his ship made of (guess what?) ice.
A perpetual highlight of the Ice Age series is the running gag with the intrepid rat-squirrel Scrat, whose sole possession, an elusive acorn, he is desperately trying to preserve, come hell or high water. He is a prominent contributor to the series and kicks off the production and entertains some genuinely funny moments throughout.
The bright, colourful animation is, once again, first-rate and the musical score is charming. It’s all reliable, if not groundbreaking cinema, and something to keep the little ones occupied during the school holidays.
Feldman has been a journalist and arts critic for over 45 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He is active in the freelance field and his work over the past 12 years has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He writes regularly for Artslink.co.za, The Citizen, South African Jewish Report, The Sunday Independent and is a contributor to "Eat Out" Magazine. He also contributes movie reviews on Mondays to The Gordon Hoffman Easy Morning Show on 1485 Radio Today (www.1485.org.za) and has worked on TV in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. After retiring from The Star in April, 1999, Feldman joined the PR and events management company, Dlamini Weil Communications, where he currently works as an entertainment and media consultant.