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FILM FANS: 'Ice Age 4' great for parents and children

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Ice Age 4: Continental Drift." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 stars

It's been 10 years since we were introduced to a sarcastic large woolly mammoth, a clumsy and somewhat clueless sloth, a loner saber-tooth tiger with a chip on his shoulder, and a troublemaker squirrel. In the process, we were reminded of the value of family.

In the latest installment of the "Ice Age" series, the squirrel is still making trouble and still chasing his ever evasive precious acorn. He's apparently also the cause of the continents of the world dividing and in the process, destroying the home of our favorite prehistoric family. This leaves our core characters, Manny, Diego and Sid adrift on a piece of ice headed for sea and the rest of their families scrambling for cover. And thus the adventure begins ... again. Along the way, they face storms, hunger and a nasty (and somewhat bumbling) crew of pirates. We also pick up a couple of new characters just to keep it interesting.

While it never quite reaches the level of the "Toy Story" movies and its ability to appeal to all ages, it has some good messages for younger kids and enough humor and special effects to keep adults from being too bored.

-- Ron Adams, Statham

3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Children and parents/grandparents will enjoy this very well done movie. The story and humor are clever and engaging, and the celebrity voices are across the board well-orchestrated to provide even more appeal. As the story unfolds, suddenly the inhabitants are threatened as the ice splits drifting families and friends apart. From here, the intrigue and fun escalates as the separated communities are challenged with pirates, villains and ocean monsters.

The movie's cinematography is indeed special and rides on the cutting edge. The story is sophisticated enough to entertain adults and sweet enough to dazzle kids, and there are enough humorous moments to please everyone. The only caution is young children may have a difficult time assimilating to the movie's twist and turns.

However, this is a good flick and a great opportunity for a special family moment -- I just wish Hollywood could make a few adult movies as good as this.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

2 1/2 out of 4 stars

"Ice Age 4: Continental Drift" performs its intended purpose: It keeps the money-making franchise moving along and entertains children at the same time, ensuring that there will be another movie in a couple of years. As the franchise ages, the technology put in to making the movies advances, giving the audience brighter colors and more detail, especially in the fur of the animals, where you can see each individual hair of each character.

As for the plot of the movie, Manny the mammoth, Diego the saber-tooth tiger and Sid the sloth are set adrift and have to find their way back home while avoiding mother nature and bad guys along the way. Meanwhile back home, Manny's wife and daughter lead everyone to safety from a continent that is collapsing. The lovable acorn chasing Scrat has more scenes than usual and is a welcome respite from the antics of the main characters.

The movie can be predictable at times, but the jokes are fresh and the action is engaging. All in all, the movie is a pleasant diversion for both children and adults.

-- Mark Weinstein, Lawrenceville