“Ice Age: Continental Drift” is a story with two morals: one it teaches in the story, and the other it preaches while the credits roll.

And thankfully – as in the real world – the power of story is much more moving than the power of rhetoric.

Let’s start with the good stuff.

The tale itself is primarily about the love Manny the mammoth demonstrates for his family in overcoming all obstacles to be reunited with them when a geological cataclysm separates the mammoth clan.

“No matter how long it takes,” Manny calls out as he drifts on an iceberg away from his family, “I will find you!”

Later he’s confronted with the threat of death if he continues the quest, yet he insists, “Nothing is going to stop me from getting to my family.”

Other positive messages pepper the film, such as, “You don’t leave a friend behind,” and, “I’m trying to protect you! That’s what fathers do.”

And though Manny’s teenage daughter considers him an overprotective fuddy-duddy, she later is humbled and reconciles with her dad.

These are the primary themes of the film and what most audiences will discern and learn – so far, so good.

The movie itself if often funny and well-acted, even if the story is a little played out (this is the fourth “Ice Age” film). Most audiences will enjoy this movie, though hardened film critics may be a bit bored by the lack of originality. Frankly, I think the film is light fun, albeit quickly forgettable.

My only concern is the ongoing thread that has persisted from the very first “Ice Age,” the idea that bonds of affection and loyalty define a “family,” rather than the institution established by God. The concept doesn’t really show up in “Continental Drift” until the final credits roll, when the song pushes the redefining-family agenda with a vengeance.

For the record: “Family” is not defined by whoever loves whom, but as a married man and woman, likely with children. This is the best, healthiest and God-designed plan for familial relationships and raising the next generation.

And while death and divorce too often bring about single-parent homes – which are no less a “family” – these face unfortunate trials and struggles, which God’s perfect plan, only in an unfallen world, would spare them from.

Yet there are ideologies and worldviews that reject God’s ideal for the home and would like to redefine “family,” just as they seek to redefine “marriage.” They would like to see “family” freely include two men, or two women, or children and two daddies, or children and multiple mommies or … who knows what’s next.

And the message that Manny the mammoth and Sid the sloth and Diego the sabertooth make “a family” fits the agenda of these saboteurs of biblical truth perfectly. If I were planning to effectively but covertly undermine the nuclear family as the ideal, frankly, I couldn’t come up with a better plan than the “Ice Age” movies.

The fact that two raging leftists – Joy Behar and Wanda Sykes – are part of the voice cast for this film also gives me pause: Am I just spinning conspiracies, or is this being done intentionally?

Thankfully, and unlike “Ice Age 3,” “Continental Drift” isn’t primarily about redefining the family. In fact it’s more about affirming it.

I’d just recommend walking out as soon as the credits start to roll.

Content advisory:

  • “Ice Age: Continental Drift” contains neither obscenity nor profanity.
  • The film’s sexuality is primarily contained in a couple of scenes where sirens morph into curvaceous, seductive ladies (of the respective species) in an attempt to lure the animal sailors to their deaths. Some are enticed, others not. Two male characters snap out of the trance to discover they’re kissing each other – played for laughs. There’s also some discussion of romantic love and some sexual tension when Diego meets a female sabertooth and they tumble about as they fight.
  • The film does have some violence, particularly between the “herd” of heroes and a band of pirates they encounter
    on the seas. There’s sword fighting and swinging and punching and projectiles and other high-sea “warfare,” but no gore or serious injury. There’s also a fair amount of slapstick violence played for humor.
  • The film has very little religious or occult content. “Ode to Joy” is played at one point, and there is a Greek-like, ancient city with sculptures and some humanistic philosophy spouted, but this is a minor element. The film does assume and depict a geological history that includes the Pangaean supercontinent but does not discuss evolution.
  • Additional note: Prior to the film, audiences are likely to see previews for the deeply occult, animated films “Paranorman” and “Hotel Transylvania.” There’s also a short feature before the film featuring Maggie from “The Simpsons,” which includes a sign about TSA “groping,” contains some minor violence and repeatedly satirizes Ayn Rand.

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