Ice Age 4 – Review

Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift (2012)

Directed by Steve MartinoMike Thurmeier. Starring Ray RomanoAziz AnsariJoy BeharPeter DinklageAubrey GrahamQueen LatifahDenis LearyJohn LeguizamoJennifer LopezHeather MorrisSeann William Scott.

On its fourth outing the saga begins to feel a little bit tired, the formula is wearing slightly thin and as the subtlety and freshness are obviously long gone, it all begins to merge into one.

There is nothing really wrong  with Continental Drift, but for the first time I felt slightly too old for this type of fare and I almost wished I had a child with me so that I could enjoy the film a lot more than I really did.

The film starts off with the wrong foot straight away, introducing us to so many different characters that at some point I thought I was going to get lost. It’s obviously trying to pull together all the threads from the various earlier episodes, but by doing that not only it delays the actual story, but also it makes it feel clunky, chaotic, crowded and a bit confusing, and given its target audience that is inexcusable (you may argue that the target audience probably watch the previous parts almost daily on DVD and they are not lost at all…).

However once the plot gets going, it all runs quite smoothly, without too many surprises but also without anything offensive or boring.

This is old-style storytelling for kids and there is nothing wrong with that. The baddie is vicious enough, the hero is brave, the music is fitting for the adventure it’s depicting, and just in case you get bored, you can always count on the interludes with Scrat (though, I must say, even those felt slightly re-hashed from the past).

The animation has advanced a bit from the previous instalments, but it’s in the details more than the actual design and film-making. And while the 3D, as in most animated films, works rather well,in the end  it’s just as un-memorable and unimaginative as the rest of the ride.

But I shouldn’t really criticise it: I guess this is what people want from an Ice Age movie: the familiarity, the cosy feeling that comes being together with some old friends, the easy laughs (fewer out-loud ones I must say), the cute animals and at the end of the day even if you feel you’ve seen it all before, your kids will probably love it.

6/10

The Amazing Spider-Man – Review

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)  4.0_MG_SMALL

Directed by Marc Webb. Starring Andrew GarfieldEmma StoneRhys IfansDenis LearyMartin SheenSally FieldIrrfan Khan.

The Amazing Spider-Man ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

With the latest “Spider-Man: no way home” on its way, what better excuse to revisit some of the old ones
When the news of a reboot for the Raimi-Maguire Spiderman was first announced (and not just a reboot, but another ‘origin’ story, only 10 years after the first one), the obvious question on anybody’s lips (and mine too) was “Why on earth?”.
What followed was a sort of anti-campaign from fans and critics alike: it was as if we had all already decided we were going to hate this film, at all costs.
Well, I could not have been more wrong: The Amazing Spider-man is a lot fun, feels fresh, and deserves a lot of more credit that it’s had over the last few years, but more importantly Andrew Garfield was just a wonderful Spiderman (something I never thought I’d say at the time, as I loved Maguire in his previous films): he even has a couple of Oscar moments here and there (not that The Academy would ever reward a superhero movie…). This is probably the film that made me like Garfield for the first time.
The comparison with the previous incarnation of “your friendly neighbour”, especially since we are meant to buy into another ‘origin story’ so soon after the first one, is not just unavoidable but also quite fair.
The ghost of Raimi is constantly behind the corner, but cleverly director Mark Webb (who has obviously studied his source deeply and intensely) managed to avoid most of the obvious comparisons by giving the story a completely new spin (pardon the pun), steering away from anything which could give us any sense of Déjà vu, making the story and the characters different enough at each opportunity, giving us a new baddie and most importantly a new girlfriend too.
In fact, what really makes this film work for me, despite all the action, the spinning, the spectacle (and the film has a lot of that!), is the relationship between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone: their chemistry is undeniable (Yes, I know those 2 were actually together at the time) and it’s the real heart of the film. I love watching them.

Three editors are officially credited and that’s usually a sign of a film that’s gone through several permutations, and some of those tweaks and reshuffles were apparent to a slightly trained (and nerdy) eye like mine. For example despite the 136 minutes, some of the transitions were a bit too quick: the explanation of how Parker was able to make his web seems to be those sequence that suffered more than any others.

Also, James Horner‘s score felt a bit too saccharin/syrupy and much too stirring in what should have been quieter and intimate moments, but more crucially, it seemed to lack that Hero-theme which these types of films require. The kind of theme you can still hum by the time you leave the theatre, just like when you watched the original Superman or Indiana Jones (God, is John Williams really the only composer who’s able to do that?).

But I know, I am really picking needles here! This might not be the most original story you’ve ever seen (well actually it’s definitely not but at least they spared us from seeing the ‘origins’ all over again in Tom Holland’s films!), but it’s still a thrilling romp and thoroughly enjoyable one too.

4 Stars (out of 5)

%d bloggers like this: