Does Ice Age: Continental Drift Give Foresight to Pop Stars future in Animation Film?

On Friday night, I attended the box office opening of Ice Age: Continental Drift. Upon deciding to check this film out, I pondered how normal it would be for me, a 30-year-old chic with no kids, to see this movie alone. My first inclination was to invite my sister Brielle, who is also an adult but a kid at heart like myself. The previews for this film is what brought me to the theater. I was drawn in not only by the diverse all-star cast which included Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, and Jennifer Lopez, but also the beautifully animated photo-realistic water and ice scenes and the impeccably textured hair of the animated characters. To the average viewer these techniques may not mean much but after spending two years of my life studying 3D techniques from friend/colleague Xiu Liang (Owner of Cloud M1, 3D Animation studio in New York), I have the deepest respect and admiration for the level of skill that goes into executing this type of work. Another thing that raised my antenna on this film was the use of music stars Drake and Nicki Minaj as supporting voices in the film. I was blown away to see that both Young Money/Cash Money label mates were tapped to voice roles in this film which leads me to ask…. “Will Pop Music Artists become the next wave of animated film stars?”

Animated films “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” and “Happy Feet Two” boasted pop music stars Taylor Swift and Common in 2011. Both films topped their box office opening weekends earning $70M and $21M respectively. Continental Drift is the fourth installment of the ‘Ice Age’ series by 20th Century Fox and the film raked in a whooping $46M this past weekend. My $10 movie ticket contribution to this huge opening was solidified by the appearances of Drake and Nicki Minaj. I really wanted to see (what I think is) history in the making with these two music artists who have transcended the Hip Hop genre to become massive international pop stars and brands. Now onto my review of their performances…

Drake (born Aubrey Drake Graham) was refreshing and believable. His role as Ethan, a rambunctious in-crowd teenage mammoth, was reminiscent of his role as Jimmy in Degrassi: The Next Generation. I looked forward to hearing to seeing his character in the film and hung on to every animated word. I didn’t have a hard time believing Drake as a teenager. He got it dead-on. Unfortunately my feelings on Nicki Minaj’s performance was the complete opposite. Nicki voiced ‘Steffie’, a high-strung teenage mammoth, who sounded much like an around-the-way girl from the Boogie Down Bronx which was confusing as hell for me because I thought the film was set during the continental drift of the Ice Age… way before there was a New York – let alone a Bronx-Girl accent. Nicki’s character lines and vernacular were way too close to a stereotypical version of herself which left little to the imagination in terms of her actual ability to deliver a unique character as a diverse voice-over actor (i.e. her English alter-ego character Roman). I would have much rather experienced Nicki’s ‘Roman’ or anything less typical than what she was casted in.

All in all, Ice Age: Continental Drift was a great movie. The film incorporated plenty of good wholesome themes like the value of family, friendship, individuality, and loyalty. Many of the scenes were simply breathtaking when you consider that the film was completed done in computer-generated imagery. my sister and I laughed a lot and we didn’t feel too out of place in the theater of mostly little kids with their Mommies and Daddies. Kudos to Blue Sky Studios, and 20th Century Fox. I can’t wait for the next installment… who knows… maybe they’ll cast Willow Smith or Justin Bieber (just saying).

-Erika

My sis and I, excited to see Ice Age: Continental Drift.

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