Ice Age IV

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The Ice Age glory :: The Ice Age is that movie series which made me interested in animated movies, after an age which had only the action and horror movies. Its significance can’t be lessened by the fact that I would have started liking them with Kung-fu Panda or Finding Nemo and I would have reached its zenith with Megamind, and I have liked all the three movies, especially Ice Age: The Meltdown, even though I have to say that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs had the best moments in the series. The first movie might be the one which I liked a little less, as the team wasn’t established and the better characters were yet to come, having that origin story problem. As far as the foreign revenue of the franchise is concerned, it has been on the increase – this fourth movie is the first time an Ice Age movie has been released here in a theatre, that too in a multiplex. The talking pre-historic creatures have never ceased to interest the viewers. Ice Age: Continental Drift, the first not to be directed by Carlos Saldanha would go on to become the highest grossing animated movie of 2012 and the second highest grossing Ice Age movie in total collection.

On Ice Age: Continental Drift :: The director has changed, but we will see more from him with Rio 2, and I have got a feeling that it is going to be awesome. The Rio franchise might be the one with more life than this, considering the continental drift has already occurred. Another movie in the Ice Age series might still occur, but how far they can go with this is a question worth asking. They have got the mammoth married and now has kid, and by the end of this movie, the sabretoothed tiger also has his love, so the story is moving through a path which needs more material. There is so much the predictable side working throughout this one, but they have hidden it well. Ice Age: Continental Drift is no different, but it has managed to keep high standards in what it showed on the screen. It has successfully managed to stay above its immediate challenger Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as well as its unworthy challenger Brave as well as the non-challenge which was Hotel Transylvania to finish as the fifth highest grossing movie and the best grossing animated movie of the year.

What is it about? :: Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) faces problems as their unruly teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is going through social crisis. She seems to have inherited the stupidity of Sid (John Leguizamo), and has a crush on a mammoth named Ethan (Drake) despite the warnings of her molehog friend Louis (Josh Gad). Meanwhile Sid’s family abandons Granny (Wanda Sykes) with him. Manny gets separated from the herd along with Sid, Granny and Diego (Denis Leary), thanks to the effects of having an ungrateful and worthless kid like Peaches who even degrades her own friend, or rather her only friend. Meanwhile the continental drift is occurring, and Ellie, Louis, Peaches, Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) have to make it to safe lands while our heroic team is caught floating towards nowhere until caught by pirates led by a gigantopithecus, Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) who owns a giant floating iceberg which he calls his ship, from where they manage to escape. His crew includes Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a sabretoothed tigress whom Diego shall fall in love with. Chased by pirates and the continental drift, the question remains if Manny can get to his family and Diego can attain his true love.

The defence of Ice Age: Continental Drift :: The Ice Age movies are mostly easy to defend, more than any other animated movie, even as most of them can also come up against simple defence. This is another simple movie from the franchise, with the same characters, Manny, Sid and Diego going on another adventure (a forced one) joined by Granny only to later combine forces with the new-found member Shira. Ellie, Eddie and Crash are not part of the adventure this time, and it is surely for the good. To add to it, there is also Scrat, the squirrel who has his own adventures which is somehow indirectly connected to the lives of each and every creatures of that age. It is going to be very interesting for the kids, no doubt – its innovations and the use of the pre-historic setting will also interest the older ones. This movie lives up to the 3D added to the end of its name too, as it has its pre-historic creatures of awesomeness coming towards you from the screen along with some of other stuff which are not alive. They have indeed tried their best to put something nice and things of good standard into this movie which is part of a franchise that deserves attention.

Pre-historic positives and negatives :: Well, this isn’t the most creative and innovative movie of the series, and it follows the path of its predecessors, with another adventure which happens due to a dumb squirrel and an equally dumb teenage elephant. These characters are too familiar, and so the whole thing had to work perfectly, with the favourite characters on screen. The most loved character would be Sid’s grandma though, as Granny brings more fun than anybody else. The new creatures are well selected for their roles, and as they are close enough to their real pre-historic world in the first look, there won’t be any questions asked. Still, asking questions in a movie like this might be a little too cruel. We know what kind of audience it makes really happy, and as long as it has a lot for the rest of the viewers too, there is not much chance for complaints. At the end of the day, Ice Age will be Ice Age, and most of us will be fans of the series. If taken in the way it is to be taken, this one is a worthy world of snow and ice, next only to a few.

Soul exploration :: The movie tries too much to venture into the world of teenage problems of the new generation which doesn’t give a damn about the opinions of the parents. It is a theme which has been eaten to the core by many other movies without pre-historic creatures, but just this time, it is rather cute, and in the end, we love them all and no harm is done – they all had a great adventure and has returned with no bones broken or teeth fallen. Everybody is happy and feeling good. The end moment of Scrat is also worth a mention when he is told “rise above this base desire; be more than a rodent”, to which he answers by going for his most basic desire which deprives him of everything – he takes out the oak nut which lets the water in and sinks the island full of nuts and lands him in the Death Valley desert. Scrat has always been the symbol of the materialistic man, and here they have taken it to another level as he destroys his Garden of Eden and falls from the paradise. It is not direct, but it is a lesson for the present society after money, just like Peaches is a symbol of anti-family new generation which can end up losing them all.

How it finishes :: I was just wandering through the Hollywood movie channels until stopping at Star Movies the day before yesterday when this movie was showing. It is good to watch the movies you watched on the big screen on the television for a change. But Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is indeed better than this one in many ways despite the box-office results. I would also say that Rise of the Guardians is a much better animated movie of the year compared to this one. But which movie is more enjoyable could be rather left to the people, even as I have already recommended Rise of the Guardians as the animated movie of the year 2012, just like I felt that Frozen is the best animated film of 2013. Ice Age 4 is indeed a success, but it doesn’t come as an improvement to its predecessor. Its fun is still so undeniable that most of us would love to have it. As they say in the movie, “the spifeful ones live the longest”, we can hope that this franchise doesn’t go down in quality, as there surely are some signs around.

Release date: 13th July 2012
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Starring (voice): Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Nicki Minaj, Keke Palmer, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Chris Wedge, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Aziz Ansari, Nick Frost, Heather Morris, Alain Chabat, Joy Behar, Ester Dean, Rebel Wilson, Kunal Nayyar, Alan Tudyk

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Croods

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This one brings back the memories of The Flintstones and Prehistorik, the first one being one of the most watched cartoons of that long lost childhood while the second one was among the first computer games I ever played – still, surely not the first ever. Both of them can be thus said to belong to my pre-historicism. Even as they could be categorized into the same category as cavemen, based on those ideas which originate out of assumptions about something which would never be known as how it exactly used to be, one could dare to say that this one is different – as a story of a predecessor of the modern family and as what came before what was to follow in a world of chaos, disorder and confusion which was not caused by the humans at that time; but now, as the nature has no need to cause the same as humans have themselves become the cause; this story is nothing less than an adventure rooted on more than one philosophy, and a tale of prehistoric truths belonging more to this age than any other, thus creating that connection which the audience could decipher in a three dimensional world of the theatre. They are no longer the stock characters, but the audience are – with their thoughts about specific individuals having certain ways of doing things, and what they are creates that infernal stereotype.

This movie was actually troubled by the large number of trailers which they showed right before the movie, and the interesting fact is that none of them were of English movies; for they were Hindi and Malayalam, and I shall not be depressed and say that they made no impact either, as I might just watch a few of those movies whose trailers were shown – something about which I can be sure as long as those Hindi movies are concerned and about the Malayalam movies, there would be more uncertainty surrounding them. But this long a trailer show was a first time experience for me, and I shall surely be ready to face such a thing from the next time onwards. But the positive impact is that the interval time had no advertisements, and still never did it impress me as the time taken for the second half to being again was long enough. To be frank, this not a movie which deserves an interval – it is quite short and continuous, and there is no loss of flow as it goes on like a river during the monsoon; full and powerful. It could have never inspired an interval with its length, but as we are so much used to having the first half and the second half, it is quite natural to be upset without a break in the centre and therefore it is justified.

The way in which the early prehistoric humans might have looked and behaved has been pretty much similar in most of the depictions in many ways. Their association with caves and pre-historic creatures have been commonly shown. This movie is about a family of Neanderthals who keep themselves confined to a cave as much as possible so that they could be safe from the outside world of predators. They are actually the last of the families out there to survive, as the others have already fallen victim to the creatures of the world as well as the deadly diseases of the age like common cold. Their survival can be attributed mostly due to the strict rules of the overprotective father and leader, Grug. Eep is the cavegirl, his daughter and the protagonist who forms the centre of the movie. The rest of the family includes Grug’s wife Ugga, his daughter Sandy, his son Thunk, and also his mother-in-law whom he always wished dead – the disapproval is more of a two-way procedure than anything else. He keeps telling his family that all the new things are bad, and so is the outside world which is extremely dangerous and they should keep themselves to a cave to survive. Considering the end of their neighouring families, he might be justified by most of his family members.

But this shall not be accepted by all, as this irritates the bored and highly adventurous young cavelady known by the name Eep as she keeps looking for an opportunity to do something new and find new things, and when the family falls asleep after dark, she ignores her father’s advice and runs out of the cave when she sees a light moving outside the cave making her feel that the sun has come down. She might have been troubled just as the Greek hero and adventurer Ulysses or Odysseus, just as Lord Alfred Tennyson had mentioned, it little profits an idle king, and same should be the case of a cavegirl. She cannot rest from travel either, and even with an experience which is an absoulute zero, she has decided “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, and travel beyond the horizons to the end of the world. She is the pathfinder, lightseeker and the follower of the sun, even as they never worshipped the forces of nature. The situation of herself and her family is later described as “not dying” rather than living, by herself. But the other members of the family have been quite happy with that stuff about not dying, the only person with a slight doubt might be the oldes of them all, Eep’s grandmother.

Seeking the source of light which is synonymous to the sun for her, she meets Guy, an intelligent caveboy who doesn’t live in a cave, and neither does he believe in finding such a dark shelter without light. She is incredibly fascinated with the fire he manages to create and is eager to find more, and even own some fire as her own. He tells her about his new finding that the world is going to end, with earthquakes, volcanic erruptions and other not-so-good things and asks her to join him in his journey towards safety where they could survive. She refuses as she thinks about her family and Guy leaves, after giving her a loud noise-making shell to call him if she ever feels the need for help in a world of natural destruction and chaos. Grug, who had been desperately searching for her, finally finds the young lady and brings her back home, and what she tells them about the end of the end of the world is not believed by them due to the fear of the other and the new. But in a few minutes, an earthquake then occurs, leading to everyone running for the cave, only to be saved by Grug moments before their home and the cave is destroyed by huge falling rocks. When they climb over all the destruction, they discover a land with new types of vegetation, lots of colours and greenery, much different from their usual surroundings of rocky and desert-like terrain with no variety.

Grug is forced to take his family into this comparitively darker, but beautiful woods to find a new cave for them to be safe from the new dangers. While becoming aware of the strange world which surrounded them, the family are chased by a big saber-toothed cat and also by a swarm of red, piranha-like birds who act more like insects than good little flying creatures despite of their cuteness. Finding no solution to a possible question of death, Eep uses a bone from an unknown creature to sound a horn similar to that which Guy gave her. Guy is actually quite close to them and runs to them, creates a torch of fire, and scares the birds away at the very last moment. The rest of the family are incredibly impressed by the fire, having never such a light-giving, heat-giving and life-saving thing before, that they almost set fire to the forest playing around with it. After feeling impressed with Guy’s intelligence, or more of his usefulness in a strange world of unpredictable horror, they decides to use his ideas to save them from possible end. Grug puts him locked in a hollow log and carries him, as they travel to a cave of a nearby mountain mentioned by Guy as their final destination where they could be safe. Remember Ice Age: Continental Drift – for it is the same division of the landmasses that is happening in the background.

It is this journey towards the expected salvation that they undertake together, and even as Guy and the family finds themselves separate from each other in many ways, they co-exist and help each other in moving towards a world which is no less than what is undertaken in The Pilgrim’s Progress by Christian in a work which centres itself in his journey from his hometown, the “City of Destruction” (this temporary world filled with devastation), to the “Celestial City” (the world that which is to come a.k.a Heaven) on the top of Mt. Zion. The Guy is the Evangelist, the Interpretor, the Faithful as well as the Hopeful – they are all inserted into one, for his faith is his ideas and intellect, and his hope is his belief in himself as well as in something which is far beyond his comprehension, that is the light or the word of God. But such an interpretation is not easily comprehensible as the movie is not perfected enough in such a way. If the movie’s childishness was lessened without affecting the funny moments or the philosophy, the movie might have been a perfect depiction of a wonderful journey, and a flawless allegory of this world and world which preceeded. But for now, lets enjoy the movie with all its fun and its effective 3D elements without any expectation to tickle the logic, but still staring at the easily visible message of mutual understanding and co-existence, exploration & knowing & accepting the world for all that it is.

Release date: 19th April 2013 (India); 22nd March 2013 (United States)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders
Starring (voice): Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.