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Ice Age: Continental Drift
Composed and Produced by:
John Powell

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Conducted by:
Edie Lehmann Boddicker

Co-Orchestrated by:
John Ashton Thomas
Dave Metzger
Andrew Kinney
Rick Giovinazzo
Randy Kerber
Brad Dechter
Germaine Franco

Additional Music by:
Paul Mounsey
Helene Muddiman
Beth Caucci
Victor Chaga

Performed by:
The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
July 10th, 2012

Also See:
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Audio Clips:
9. Pirating the Pirates (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

11. Sirens (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

13. Herd Reunion (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. Scrat's Fantasia on a Theme by LVB (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


Ice Age: Continental Drift
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Buy it... if your sense of humor jives with John Powell's insanely creative methods of bringing fresh ideas to a concept past its prime.

Avoid it... if you seek consistency in these inherently schizophrenic Powell efforts, for this ride is even wilder than its two predecessors.

Ice Age: Continental Drift: (John Powell/Various) For some critics and audiences, the allure of the Ice Age franchise melted away sometime over its first decade, leaving the 2012 entry, Ice Age: Continental Drift, a tiring exercise in redundancy. Still, the fourth film charmed audiences out of hundreds of millions of dollars and was immediately deemed successful enough to warrant yet another sequel. The leading trio of a mammoth (Manny), a sloth (Sid), and a sabre-toothed cat (Diego) continue their unlikely friendship and once again discover themselves in a predicament that requires a perilous journey. In this case, they find their civilizations threatened by the breakup of the continents, a circumstance caused by, without fail, the squirrel named Scrat who has spent the entire franchise chasing allusive acorns in a parallel storyline. The shattered ice sheet causes various bizarre animals to team up, build ice-ships, and become prehistoric pirates, a variety of antagonists blocking the returning characters from reuniting with their friends and family. The story is indeed redundant and thus vacuous, but the appeal of the returning cast and 3D imagery will keep nine-year-olds entertained while parents seek something more substantive to digest. The vocal talents for Ice Age: Continental Drift include a number of great singers, but don't expect their contributions to influence the soundtrack outside of the end credits and, by consequence, in John Powell's original score. Powell needs no introduction to those familiar with either the Ice Age series or animated films of the 2000's. He has written the music for so many of these types of films that they have come to dominate his career and possible cost him his sanity. If you believe that a healthy sense of humor is a mask for the loss of one's mind, then perhaps Powell has already gone around the bend. With each successful animated effort (at least for the silly side of the genre, which represents most of his output), he meanders with even less focus through musical genres that have nothing intuitively connected to the subject at hand. For Ice Age: Continental Drift, he infuses the Latin, bluegrass, pop, and classical genres into a frantic mixture that is so wild that it surpasses the most schizophrenic nature of his prior assignments. Yes, it's still an Ice Age score in line with his previous efforts for the concept, and it's better than its immediate predecessor, but expect a greater range of pizzazz and heroism in this choppy ride. That also means a return of the impressive constant in Powell's music for these films: the unnecessary intelligence of his compositions.

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While some of the technically outstanding material in these scores is farmed out to Powell's ghostwriters, their entireties are usually interesting to appreciate on album... once. Some listeners have built up a tolerance for the composer's frenetic sense of movement, both rhythmically and through genre switching, and Ice Age: Continental Drift will appeal to precisely this crowd. The exhausting experience does base its foundation on Powell's score from Ice Age: The Meltdown, and loyalists will be pleased to hear that work's range of themes developed to a greater degree here than in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The primary idea still recalls Chicken Run more than anything else, unfortunately. There sadly exists no explicit suite of themes in Ice Age: Continental Drift, though Powell does wrap up the ideas from Ice Age: The Meltdown in a nice summary in "Herd Reunion." The themes for the trio, Scrat, and the concept in general mingle extensively with Powell's new material, which includes a love theme for Diego and a theme for the evil pirate gang. To be expected, of course, are a fair number of outrageously dense and hyperactive action cues, another highlight for Powell collectors. The mix of the orchestra doesn't seem to be as dynamic this time around, though most of the individual attention is afforded to guitars and other specialists. A handful of unique assets do grace Ice Age: Continental Drift, ranging from the absurd to the cool. For the pirate element, Powell decided to replace the bass trombones with a collection of 20 accordions playing at their lowest reaches. While an intriguing idea, the execution ends up not being as obvious as one might expect in "No Exit Gutt" and "Pirating the Pirates." Far more entertaining, and arguably a highlight of the new original material, is "Sirens," in which innocent 1950's-styled vocals rotate between each of the three characters in their seductions. The lyrics and retro-pop mangling are not be missed, especially as the cue becomes more urgent when it passes Diego and goes from Manny to Sid. Finally, you have the tribute to "Symphony No. 9" by Beethoven in "Scrat's Fantasia on a Theme by LVB," an admission by Powell that he could not best "Ode to Joy" for Scrat's adventure and thus did not try. This track, with "authentic" lyrics credited by Powell in part to Hans Zimmer, is among the most disgraceful mutilations of Beethoven that a person could imagine. And that's the point, of course. Let the siren voices, accordions, and sleazy lounge specialists destroy the piece, why not? Anyone who listens to that track for mere enjoyment is as demented as Powell himself. Overall, there's a point at which the composer's sense of humor in this kind of assignment ceases to appeal to anyone outside of his dedicated fanbase, and Ice Age: Continental Drift is straddling that line. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Powell reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.1 (in 40 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.03 (in 45,173 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.83 Stars
Smart Average: 2.91 Stars*
***** 26 
**** 46 
*** 54 
** 48 
* 43 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Scrat's Fantasia
  Zack -- 9/15/12 (10:38 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 58:08

• 1. Morning Peaches (2:22)
• 2. Schism (2:28)
• 3. Storm (3:50)
• 4. No Exit Gutt (5:37)
• 5. Escape From Captivity (3:02)
• 6. New Loves (4:50)
• 7. Hydraxes/Prison Talk (2:57)
• 8. Diversion (3:57)
• 9. Pirating the Pirates (4:37)
• 10. Teen Cave (4:42)
• 11. Sirens (2:35)
• 12. Land Bridge Trap (8:22)
• 13. Herd Reunion (3:08)
• 14. Scrat's Fantasia on a Theme by LVB* (5:30)

* composed by Ludwig Von Beethoven

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers and a note from Powell about the origins of "Scrat's Fantasia on a Theme by LVB."

  All artwork and sound clips from Ice Age: Continental Drift are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/14/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.