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Forget what you have learned in geology about the continents forming as a result of massive tectonic turbulence and volcanic eruptions tearing land masses apart. ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ reveals that these seismic shifts came about from Scrat’s misadventures. Scrat has always been an audience favorite, but he is not the only one who will be featured more in this latest Ice Age film.
The film reunites us with Scrat as he’s going about his usual business: he has grabbed the acorn, set it down on the ground – and suddenly a mountain is torn apart and the earth itself opens up, separating land masses into the seven continents. Scrat hurtles toward the earth’s core, triggering massive earthquakes, which in turn isolates Manny, Diego and Sid from the rest of the herd.
From his introduction as a breakout character in “Ice Age” to becoming a celebrated movie icon, Scrat has brought joy to countless moviegoers – and to the filmmakers who bring him to life. “There’s no better or more enjoyable character to animate than Scrat,” says director Steve Martino. “Who else can you knock around, smash around – and he just keeps going after that nut?!” Adds supervising animator Nick Bruno: “Scrat is why I’m in animation. His adventure in this movie is like a classic tale, where he sees his goal, goes after it, and gets his butt kicked. But this time, the stakes for him and for the herd couldn’t be higher.”
Scrat’s continental crack-up has cast adrift Manny, Diego and Sid from the rest of the herd, including Manny’s beloved wife Ellie and their teenaged daughter Peaches (who was born in 2009’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”). Prior to the calamity, Manny and the headstrong Peaches have been quarreling, as dads and their teenaged kids tend to do. Their disagreements are relatable to any parent or teen, or everyone who knows a parent or teen. “Manny’s the prototypical overprotective dad,” says director Steve Martino. “He’s longing to hold onto those days when Peaches was a little girl, but now she’s at that age when she wants to step up and be on her own.”
“The Pleistocene world is pretty tough for a dad,” jokes screenwriter Michael Berg, who has also written or co-written two earlier “Ice Age” films. “There’s a lot of danger out there – and a lot of teenage boys.”
Ray Romano again voices the much put-upon wooly mammoth. “Ray is the best at what he does,” says Martino. “He gives a natural performance that plays to his formidable comedic strengths.” For Romano, returning to Manny was like visiting an old friend, though the beloved actor-comedian has unconventional methods of getting back into character. “Before he starts recording, he repeats one of Manny’s lines from the first ‘Ice Age’ – ‘I’m not going!’—and for some reason, that line turns him into Manny,” explains director Michael Thurmeier.
Romano’s reel life (as Manny) and real life (as dad to a daughter approaching adulthood) came together in unexpected ways. He explains: “Just as Manny has to deal with Peaches becoming her own person — or mammoth, that is – I’m kind of living the same thing, because my daughter just graduated from college. That’s a big thing for me, because I still think of her as a kid with a runny nose. The good news is, I’ve never been stuck on an iceberg.”
Image Courtesy of Ice Age Movie