Reviewed by: Laura Busch
not succumbing to the bad temptations
How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer
dangers of peer pressure
Information about Noah’s Ark and the biblical flood
|Featuring:||Queen Latifah … Ellie (voice)
Jennifer Lopez … Shira (voice)
Simon Pegg … Buck (voice)
Ray Romano … Manny (voice)
Seann William Scott … Crash (voice)
Denis Leary … Diego (voice)
Nick Frost … Flynn (voice)
|Producer:||Blue Sky Studios
John C. Donkin … producer
Lori Forte … producer
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
In this latest installment of “Ice Age,” the always entertaining, Scrat is still in pursuit of the all too elusive acorn. This time the prehistoric squirrel’s pursuit of his beloved acorn causes bigger trouble than it ever has before. Scrat accidentally causes the Earth’s masses of land to break apart, causing a continental drift. This drift separates Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the sabre-tooth tiger (Denis Leary—“Rescue Me”) from the rest of their herd. While adrift on the iceberg that has carried them off to sea, Manny and the gang must battle a band of ruthless pirates led by Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage), who is out for revenge against Manny and the gang.
Like its predecessors, this latest installment in the “Ice Age” franchise holds the importance of family loyalty in the highest regard. When Manny drifts away on the iceberg, he vows to his wife and daughter, Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Peaches (Keke Palmer—“Akeelah and the Bee”), “No matter what, I’ll find you.” Throughout the course of the movie, Manny’s primary concern is getting back to his wife and daughter. After the drift occurs, Ellie directs all of the animals in their herd to safety, making sure no one is left behind. All of the animals in the herd regard one another as family. Manny and the gang stick together as a family in the face of adversity, and they have each other’s backs, as they battle the pirates.
Manny’s daughter, Peaches is now a teenager, who is beginning to face peer pressures and is also starting to like boys. The character of Peaches really grows up a lot over the course of the movie. We see her act disrespectfully toward her parents and make some bad choices, by succumbing to peer pressure. But for every bad choice Peaches makes, we see her character acknowledge her wrong behavior, apologize, and correct it, by not making the same mistake again. For example, Peaches angrily tells her dad, “I wish you weren’t my father!”, but she immediately regrets what she says, after her dad begins to drift away on the iceberg. Peaches confides in her mom that she is worried that her angry words will be the last thing her dad will ever hear her say.
The issues of popularity, peer pressure, and loyalty in friendship are dealt with in a positive way. Peaches really cares about her friend Lewis (Josh Gad), a sweet but unpopular molehog. She tells him that “friends don’t leave friends behind.” Later, Peaches also learns the importance of loyalty in friendship and forgiveness, after she betrays Lewis, in order to become more popular. Later, Lewis forgives her without hesitation.
The entire storyline with Peaches can serve as a wonderful conversation starter for parents to talk to their children about peer pressure, loyalty in friendship, and not succumbing to the temptations that young people face on a daily basis. This particular plotline about peer pressure brings to mind Romans 12:2,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The power struggles between parents and their teen children are also addressed in this movie and dealt with in a positive manner. Peaches grows to understand why her parents have certain rules for her. The characters of Manny, Ellie, and Peaches also provide a positive portrayal of the traditional two-parent family with both a mom and a dad. Manny and Ellie are loving parents, who are protective of their daughter and want the best for her. They do their best to give her guidance and teach her to make right choices in life. As Christian parents, God calls us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” —Proverbs 22:6.
The issue of teenage dating is also addressed in this film. For the most part, this issue is dealt with in an appropriate manner. Peaches likes Ethan, a popular boy mammoth, but her parents do not want her to hang out with him or date him.
From a cinematic standpoint, “Ice Age 4” is a beautifully animated and well-acted film. The lovable and often goofy characters are brought to life in a colorful and vividly animated, feel-good family comedy, whose fast pace never leaves its viewers bored.
There are bits of mildly crude humor, here and there. For example, Sid chews up some food and spits it out. There is a joke about pirate “booty” that is played as a double entendre, a mention of boogers, etc. One scene that may be of concern to parents, involves sea monsters, who can magically transform their appearance to fool Manny, Diego, and Sid. The sea monsters take the form of a beautiful female sloth and a beautiful tiger named, Shira. This causes Diego and Sid to become confused and accidentally kiss each other. The shape-shifting sea monsters also take the form of an old man sloth, who flirts with Sid’s Grandma. Sid’s biological family, who abandoned him long ago, reappears only to abandon Sid’s cantankerous old Grandmother (Wanda Sykes), because they are tired of putting up with her eccentricities. Even though Sid’s family does not want to deal with his Grandma, Sid gladly welcomes her as family and takes care of her.
There is a lot of comedic, slapstick-style, cartoon violence, throughout the film. There are many fast paced action sequences. We see lots of characters flying through the air, heads conking, slapping, characters dangling from high places, and the like. Weapons (knives) are drawn in several battle scenes with the pirates. Captain Gutt explains that he got his name because of his sharp claws that he uses to gut other animals. Sid is told that Captain Gutt can make “your innards become your outards.” Other elements of concern include several uses of the word, “stupid,” one use of the term, “oh jeez,” and one character yells, “holy crab” upon seeing a giant crab. The pirates also mention a number of times that they want to get revenge on Manny.
Thematically, this film may be most appropriate for slightly older children, since it does deal with the issues of peer pressure and dating.
While “Ice Age 4” is not a perfect movie, as a Christian movie reviewer, I see a lot of positive elements that make it a good choice for families, especially families with pre-teens and teens. This is a movie full of lovable, yet imperfect, characters, who make mistakes, but, most importantly, they learn from these mistakes and, like any loving family, forgive one another.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.