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Not 'Batman'

'Ice Age 4' is highly skippable.

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"In a fairly obvious attempt to stay away from 'The Dark Knight Rises,' the major studios are only releasing one significant movie this weekend. 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' is debuting at 3,880 locations this weekend, 2,731 of which are playing the movie in 3D." — BoxOfficeMojo, July 12

The first thing you notice about "Ice Age: Continental Drift," some cartoon with a bunch of talking animals, is that it doesn't contain a single Batman anywhere. Instead some mammoths (Ray Romano and Queen Latifah are two, married) have some problems when about 10 million years of tectonic activity packs into the space of five minutes and the dad mammoth is pushed out to sea and has to come back for the mom mammoth and their daughter mammoth. The Ray Romano mammoth is stuck on an iceberg with a Denis Leary saber-toothed cat and a stupid sloth that sounds like John Leguizamo, who was in the "Spawn" movie that sucked compared with Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, which, in case you haven't heard, concludes this week.

This is the fourth "Ice Age" movie. That's a lot of ice ages. You'd think they'd be fresh out of jokes by now, but oh, boy, you'd be wrong — they ran out of jokes two movies ago. Still, there are some crazy parts in "Ice Age." At one point, the good mammals we're rooting for are floating on an iceberg and run into another iceberg run by bad, pirate animals! The captain is a scraggly, ferocious, leering ape voiced by Peter Dinklage, the short guy that makes "Game of Thrones" alone worth the risk of pirating HBO. He makes a fine villain. Sort of like Tom Hardy is going to be, as Bane. You know that part in the trailer where he blows up the football field while Hines Ward runs for a touchdown. Bane! Even more evil than a pirate monkey on the high seas!

Wanda Sykes also voices a character in this "Ice Age" movie. She's an old, doddering sloth character who winds up saving the day when her pet whale arrives and helps all the good mammoths and sloths and stuff beat up the pirates. You know it's Sykes because her voice is so distinct. But you know who just melts into his characters? That Gary Oldman. You gotta figure Commissioner Gordon is going to croak in "The Dark Knight Rises" because of that scene in the trailer where he's giving some raspy speech from a hospital bed with an oxygen mask hanging off his face, but still, it's bound to be incredible. You know Oldman also played Dracula? And Beethoven? And Lee Harvey Oswald? And Sid Vicious? And Rosencrantz? My stars, what a list. It's like that character Ray Romano played: Ray, in "Everybody Loves Raymond."

The reason the kids will sit through this "Ice Age" movie is that it has pretty colors, the vomit jokes land and it ends after 94 minutes. Adults will love it because it has a lovely little "Simpsons" short at the front that, honestly, you can sneak in and see real quick before "The Dark Knight Rises" plays, and if your buddy doesn't mind holding your seat when everyone and their dog pours into the theater to see Batman, you can seriously do both. Just make sure you go see a non-3D version of "Ice Age" when you do it because "The Dark Knight Rises" is in just two regular ol' Ds, just like 99.99 percent of watchable movies. Just try not to let your mind drift over to the next theater where kids are not laughing at 3D animated opossums when you're watching Batman and Bane kick the living hell out of one another for the fate of Gotham City. Because, seriously, you're not missing much.

Related Film

Ice Age

Director: Chris Wedge

Writer: Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman and Steve Young

Producer: Lori Forte

Cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Goran Visnjic, Jack Black, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Root, Diedrich Bader, Alan Tudyk and Lorri Bagley

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