Share & Connect
Taking center stage in ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ is Mother Nature herself, via the filmmakers’ depictions of: the Scrat-induced continental cataclysm, the ocean upon which the herd is swept away, a vicious storm that puts our three heroes at great risk, and the looming threat of the palisades – an 800-foot wall chasing, and threatening to crush Ellie, Peaches and the other creatures remaining on land.
The word “epic” was at the top of everyone’s mind in the design of these environments and natural disasters. “It is epic when you see a mammoth, Manny, look like a tiny dot atop an iceberg being hurtled through an oceanic storm,” says Thurmeier. “With each new ‘Ice Age’ movie, we take major steps forward in putting our characters in larger, more elaborate, and more thrilling environments.”
Chief among those environments is the vast and unforgiving ocean. To maximize the scale of the characters’ peril – and to sweep audiences along for the ride – the filmmakers employed newly developed technologies. They were successful beyond their expectations: when the voice cast saw some early footage of the storm scene, they thought the filmmakers had filmed an actual ocean, which, they assumed was blended with the animated characters.
The ocean is no less compelling when it’s becalmed. Its rich atmospherics – the mist and mystery of being at sea – are an extension of the characters, especially the pirates, as are the vast, open skies punctuated by cloud formations. To capture the environments, the filmmakers, for the first time in the “Ice Age” franchise, shot in the widescreen aspect ratio of 2:35: 1, which enhances the feeling of the characters being dwarfed by their surroundings.
The ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ research and development team also developed new technologies for some spectacular land-based locales, including a cave where trees hang from the ceiling, literally turning the earth under the characters upside-down; the ubiquitous threat of crumbling earth and rocks; and the icebergs serving as the ships, each possessing a unique “personality” and color.
Another key filmmaking tool was 3D. Notes Martino: “Our story takes audiences on an adventure, and 3D further immerses them in the story. When Manny, Diego and Sid ride some giant waves during a storm, 3D allows us to place the audience with the characters on the waves, and have them feel like they’re part of the action.”
“We were always looking for new ways to give the audience a really interesting experience, to bring them into the world of ‘Ice Age,’ adds Thurmeier. “You will feel like you’re experiencing everything with the characters, whether they are swashbuckling aboard a ship, or triggering massive seismic shifts from the center of the Earth.”
Image Courtesy of Ice Age Movie