Ice Age 4: Continental Drift opens with Manny the Mammoth (voice of Ray Romano) clashing with his teenage daughter, Peaches (voice of Keke Palmer). They’re arguing about breaking rules and her relationships with teenage male mammoths. Meanwhile Sid the Sloth (voice of John Leguizamo) runs into problems when he’s lumbered with his senile grandmother (voice of Wanda Sykes).
The situation becomes much worse when Scrat’s (voice of Chris Wedge) relentless pursuit of the elusive cursed acorn causes the continental plates to break apart. Manny, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger (voice of Denis Leary) and Sid get separated from Peaches and Ellie (voice of Queen Latifah). They end up adrift on an ice raft, which takes them out to sea.
Manny, Diego and Sid are desperate to make their way back to Peaches and Ellie. They battle hypnotic shape-shifting sirens and a band of villainous pirates led by a menacing baboon called Captain Gutt (voice of Peter Dinklage). Diego falls in love with a female sabre-toothed tiger named Shira (voice of Jennifer Lopez), who happens to be a member of Captain Gutt’s crew.
This movie has cartoon action violence and slapstick violence. For example:
- A squirrel is stretched like a rubber band and then flung up into the sky. It falls back to earth and crashes face first into the ground. It isn’t hurt.
- Throughout the movie, Sid’s grandmother keeps hitting characters over the head with her walking stick.
- Manny drags a paralysed Sid along the ground by his feet in a funny way. Manny uses Sid as a bat to hit attacking birds.
- Scrat keeps crashing into a cliff wall. Then a shark snatches him from the air and swallows him. We later find out that he isn’t hurt.
- In one scene Manny stomps on a pirate rabbit and squashes it. The rabbit is still alive after being stomped on but looks like a mashed piece of fur slithering across the ground.
- There’s a sea battle between two giant ice rafts. One raft looks like a pirate ship, and the other has Manny and his friends. The pirate ship fires grappling hooks at Manny’s ice raft, and the animal pirates board and overrun Manny’s raft. The pirates use tree trunks as cannons to fire ice cannon balls at Manny’s raft. A giant ball of ice hits Manny in the head, knocking him unconscious. In an intense fight between Manny and Captain Gutt, Gutt attacks Manny with a sword. There’s a slow-motion image of Gutt’s sword slashing at Manny’s face. The sword just misses Manny’s eye.
- In one of the movie’s more scary and violent scenes, Captain Gutt holds a knife made from a giant shark’s tooth at Peaches’ throat. Gutt’s pirate crew surrounds Manny and his friends in a threatening way.
- Captain Gutt uses a whip to threaten his crew and slaves. He cracks the whip in a threatening and scary way.
- A giant crab with huge snapping claws threatens Sid.
- The movie contains occasional verbal threats of violence. Examples include Captain Gutt telling Shira to kill Diego or die trying. Captain Gutt also says, ‘When this ends, I’ll have a tiger skin on my wall’. In one scene Gutt tells the story of how he got his name. The story involves him graphically showing how to take out someone’s bowels.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- When the earth’s plates shift, there are earthquakes, landslides and falling mountains of ice. Mountain ranges move and look like they’re going to overrun the escaping band of animals.
- A storm engulfs Manny and his friends. A giant water spout lifts their ice raft up into the air and drops it back into the water.
- Ice age animal pirates have scary weapons made from animal bones. In one scene the pirates play drums made of animal skulls.
- Captain Gutt is a baboon dressed up as a pirate captain. He has a mouth full of large sharp teeth (some of which are gold), which he shows in a scary way. Gutt intimidates, threatens and bullies his victims as well as his crew. Some of his crew also look scary.
- When the sirens first appear, they look like people their victims love. But then the sirens change into their true forms – giant creatures with fish-like heads and mouths full of sharp teeth.
- Granny and Sid fall into the ocean. A gigantic whale swallows them whole. They slide down the whale’s gullet and into its stomach, where they walk around waist deep in water.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, after having a verbal argument with her father, Peaches says to Manny, ‘I wish you weren’t my father’. Peaches cries about the argument.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
This movie has occasional low-level sexual references and some low-level crude humour. For example:
- An elephant seal twists around trying to see his own oversized buttocks. He says, ‘Where is my booty? I can’t see it!’ Another character says, ‘It’s all I can see’.
- Diego talks about being attracted to Shira, saying that he can’t eat or sleep and that he thinks he is coming down with something. A character says that Diego is in love and that she (Shira) is under his skin.
- A siren who looks like a young and attractive sloth tries to entice Granny into his arms. The siren says, ‘Come to me Granny. The more wrinkled the raisin, the sweeter the fruit’.
- A young animal asks an adult mammoth, ‘When you suck water through your trunk, does it smell like boogers?’
- When Granny jumps into the sea, a large putrid and toxic oil slick forms around her. There are some dead fish, and a dead shark floats to the surface.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s one example of substance use in this movie. Sid eats the wrong type of berries and gets paralysed as a result.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some occasional low-level flirting. For example:
- Ethan, a teenage male mammoth, is constantly surrounded and adored by teenage female mammoths.
- Peaches is infatuated with Ethan and gets clumsy whenever she is near him. In one scene, after a series of comic mishaps Peaches ends up knocking Ethan flat on his back. She lands on top of him and gets her tusks tangled up with his. Later Ethan asks Peaches if she would like to walk with him.
- There is mild flirting between Diego and Shira. There is some rough-and-tumble play. They also look into each other’s eyes.
- When Manny and his friends are hypnotised by sirens, they all see beautiful images of the person they desire the most. Diego sees Shira, Scrat sees Scratte, Manny sees Ellie and so on.
There isn’t any product placement of concern in the movie itself. But quite a lot of associated merchandise is being marketed to children.
Ice Age 4 contains some name-calling and low-level putdowns.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is an animated adventure comedy aimed at older children and their families. Children under seven years might find some of the movie too scary. The movie’s story is a little thin and the characters aren’t very well developed. But the movie has some funny moments and sight gags. It will easily entertain its target audience, particularly those who enjoyed the previous Ice Age movies.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Don’t change just to suit others – always be yourself.
- Overprotective parents with good intentions can hold their children back. Parents’ desire to protect children should be balanced with children’s need to take risks and grow and develop.
- Friends look out for each other.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, bravery and persistence.