When it comes to the "Ice Age" series at this point, it was overall an unbalanced but still decent trilogy. The first film was still the best as it had a heartwarming story and memorable characters, the second one, "The Meltdown", was okay at best as it benefited from strong moments but suffered from a lot of filler, while the third film, "Dawn of the Dinosaurs", was a lot of fun and easily the most enjoyable out of the sequels. It seemed that with the third film, Blue Sky had finally concluded the arc of The Herd and was ready to move on to other new projects yet 20th Century Fox wanted yet another "Ice Age" film seeing how three made even more money than two. This is how we got to "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and while watching it, I could tell this movie was made exclusively for money. This film is really bad and all it demonstrates is why making a fourth film in animated series is not usually the right thing to do. Needless to say, this movie didn't work for me at all.
Years after the last film, we see that The Herd consisting of Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary), Ellie (Queen Latifah), Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott and Josh Peck), and Peaches (Keke Palmer) are living a happy life. Despite them having dilemmas involving Manny getting overprotective of Peaches who is now a teenager and Sid getting dumped his Granny (Wanda Sykes) by his family who continues to abandon him, things seem to be going well. Then all of a sudden, the continent starts to break apart and our characters are separated with Manny, Sid, and Diego stuck on a floating iceberg and the others trapped on land. Wanting to get to land so they can be reunited, the trio sets up on the open seas only to run into a group of pirates led by their monkey captain named Gut (Peter Dinklage). They eventually escape the pirates and take one of their crew members, a female saber-tooth tiger named Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and with her help, they set off hoping to get back to land to reunite with the others.
Despite it being easy to follow like the previous three films, the story for this film was really ridiculous and seriously a giant step backward. Watching this film, I could tell that Blue Sky was running out of steam with the franchise as things were starting to get too silly for the series. Even though the third film had dinosaurs that lived underground during the ice age, I still bought it. At least that film had some funny moments and had me invested. This film, however, was far too ridiculous for me to take seriously as it opens with Scrat inadvertently causing the breakup of Pangea. While something like this would work well for a seven-minute Scrat short, it doesn't work as the opening to an "Ice Age" movie. Even so, the script for this movie was terrible as all the humor fell flat and the film has stock, cliche lines that made me groan. Even the subplots don't work as one involves Peaches trying to connect with others which made me roll my eyes and Scrat's subplot trying to find the lost city of "Nutlantis" being too silly to take seriously. As far as the animation goes, it's for the most part pretty good. While it certainly didn't amaze me like the last film, it was still visually impressive. However, this film has a huge problem that was also similar to "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" and that was that this film was made for a 3D viewing. The characters and their objects get close up to the camera at times and it was distracting and took me out of the experience. It also couldn't help that the previous film was also made in 3D, but at least that film didn't get distracting with its visuals and still looked like a 2D film. The characters in this film were the huge problem though. While Manny, Sid, Diego, and Ellie still work well, the others fail drastically. Crash and Eddie, unfortunately, reverted to being pointless and unfunny like they were in "The Meltdown" and only annoyed me and Peaches wasn't an interesting character either. The newer characters were the ones that failed the big time though. Gut was a terrible villain that was very uninteresting and had a lousy motive, Shira was uninteresting and felt like a blank slate and a shoo-in so Diego could have a mate by the end of the film, but the character that I hated the most out of all them was Granny. While I love Wanda Sykes and think she can be funny with the right material, she was completely wasted with this character. Granny was seriously annoying, unfunny, and completely pointless to the film. I have no idea why the writers put her in. I guess so it was for Sid to at least get some company, but even then I couldn't stand her. I also think that some of the voice talents in this film weren't very good as well. Keke Palmer, Drake, and Nicki Minaj all gave awful performances as their characters and didn't match their characters at all. Though the one I felt bad for the most was Josh Gad as Louis. I do love Gad, but I felt his performance stuck out like a sore thumb. Whenever his character was on screen, I couldn't help but think "Oh, that's Josh Gad." I do love him in a role like Olaf in "Frozen" where his voice and the character blended perfectly, but it just didn't work here.
Honestly, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" doesn't work at all. The story is too silly and lousy, the characters are mostly awful and annoying, and the animation while great does get distracting with its 3D gimmick. If I were you, I'd skip this film entirely and just stick with the first three "Ice Age" films. The previous two sequels while not as amazing as the first film at least were entertaining at times. This, on the other hand, was simply dreadful. I just can't recommend it in the slightest.