Extinction, Please

The new 'Ice Age' picture should be avoided at all costs

The animated wooly mammoth (the voice of Ray Romano), saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) and sloth (John Leguizamo) take yet another lame journey in this fourth installment of the popular kiddie franchise.

This time out, the animals must deal with the splitting of the continents, something that happened several hundred million years before these animals would have been born—but who's counting? The makers of these movies are just throwing science out the window. Kids: Don't watch this film thinking you are going to get a head start on that big science test, because that would result in a big, fat F.

When the land cracks, the mammoth, tiger and sloth end up on a piece of ice that floats out into the ocean. They struggle to return so the mammoth can be with his lame family, but a pirate monkey (the voice of Peter Dinklage) gets in their way. So they must fight this pirate monkey, who inexplicably breaks out into a forgettable song during an awkward musical number.

The part where the monkey sings would be this franchise's most-shameless attempt to ape Disney animation yet. When creatures sing in Disney animated movies, it's magical. When they break out into song in Fox animation movies, it's hackneyed. You will not be tapping your toe to the musical refrains of the stupid monkey-pirate tune.

The movie also features Scrat, the crazy-eyed squirrel-type thing eternally chasing acorns. His sequences are shoehorned into the movie, and they've lost their charm. Now he's just an annoying, selfish little rodent that should quit it with the whole acorn thing and look for something more bountiful and easier to catch, like scallops.

The writing for the movie is almost nonexistent. The film uses the 3-D angle for time-killing adventure sequences in lieu of storytelling. There's lots of sliding down mountains, riding waves, diving through oceans, etc. In short, there are a bunch of excuses for characters not to talk.

The other major new character would be a white tiger voiced by Jennifer Lopez. Her character provides the possibility of a love interest for Leary's tiger, but the movie doesn't do much with that, because it's too busy going "whoosh" and "swish" with crazy action sequences that leave no time for tiger lovemaking.

Oddly enough, the JLo tiger doesn't get her own musical number. It's strange that the Dinklage pirate monkey gets his own tune, yet the JLo tiger mostly just speaks drab dialogue. JLo does get a chance to sing in a song that plays during the credits, but Romano, Leary and Drake (who apparently also voices something in this thing) sing just as much, so the JLo tiger never really gets to shine musically.

In a summer that has offered Brave, parents are better off taking their kids to that movie twice, rather than subjecting kids' prepubescent eyes to this thing. I actually got tired of watching this due to all of the frantic 3-D movement. Or perhaps it was the stupid pirate-monkey song that made me want to nap.

I fear these Ice Age movies are going to keep on coming. Future plotlines will probably involve more scientifically impossible adventures for these creatures, like their sailing to Mars on a leaf, or battling evil pugs and bulldogs well before anybody bothered to breed them. That wouldn't be any crazier or impossible than the notion of a sloth dealing with the terrors of continental drift alongside a wooly mammoth whilst battling a dreaded pirate monkey voiced by the short dude from Game of Thrones.

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