For years Disney pretty much had it their own way as far as the animated feature goes. That was until Dreamworks released a film about a green ogre in 2001. The next year 20th Century Fox got in on the action when they released Ice Age (Chris Wedge, 2002). It told the story of 3 prehistoric animals who are on a mission to return a human child to its family. It was a huge success and here we are 14 years later with the 4th sequel Ice Age Collision Course.
I am a bit of reformed animation fan, films like this I used to avoid like the plague. Ever since becoming a Dad however I am usually at the front of the queue. Following the last film, I struggled to see where this franchise could go and I was surprised to see a 5th installment, so is part 5 a bridge to far?
We open with the amazing Scrat on his eternal pursuit of his elusive acorn. This time, he discovers a hidden alien space craft, is blasted into space and triggers a meteor storm that will wipe out the earth. We then meet up with the herd, Manny (Ray Romano) has forgotten his anniversary and dealing with his daughter getting married and leaving home, Diego (Denis Leary) and his wife are contemplating children and poor Sid (John Leguizamo) has been been dumped again. Following a destructive meteor shower, they are joined by crazed weasel Buck (a welcome return for Simon Pegg), who warns of the Earth’s destruction. He has a crazy plan to save the world, so once again the herd are off on a quest, this time the entire planet depends on them.
I love these films but this is easily the weakest entry in the series since Ice Age 2. The story is just beyond daft. I am all for the suspension of disbelief, but this pushes it too far. The film also feels a bit of a rehash, heroes on a quest, again. The other issue I had is that are just too many characters, with Adam Devine’s Julian (the suitor to Manny’s daughter) and the return of Buck, we have 11 characters to follow and this results in the marginalisation of our original heroes, in particular Diego, who literally has nothing to do.
As I mentioned, the return of Simon Pegg’s Buck from Ice Age 3 is a welcome one, his musical introduction is a highlight. Good too is Adam Devine as the goofy, fun loving Julian. While the threat in the film is the meteor, we have some marginal antagonists in the form of a family of Dormaeosaurs (flying dinos) voiced by a great collection of sitcom actors, Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec), Stephaine Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine Nine) and Max Greenfield (New Girl). They are entertaining enough, but once again there are just too many characters and by the time we meet Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s (Mitchell from Modern Family) new age Llama you are just fed up. While the voice talent is fine, they just don’t quite get it right the way Disney do.
The biggest problem with the film beyond its rehashed format and ludicrous set up is the vocal performance of Jessie J, she inexplicably turns up in the final third as love interest for Sid and she is absolutely excruciating. The only thing worse than her awfully delivered dialogue and embarrassingly bad timing is the fact that they have her sing at the end. She is not an actress and that is blatantly obvious, she is so terrible, she makes Rhianna’s wooden, soulless turn in Home (Tim Johnson, 2015) seem Oscar worthy.
It is not all bad though, I love these characters, so it is always good to spend time with them, especially Manny. He deals with some Daddy/Daughter issues that will hit close to home to any dad sitting there with his little girl. Then there is Scrat, these interludes are a joy to watch, you can almost sense the kids (and let’s be honest, the adults too) in the cinema re-engaging with the film every time the action cuts to him. There are also a few nice nods to pop culture and the Armageddon homage is great.
While there is enough Scrat to keep the kids entertained, this is a disappointing chapter in the series and as much as I love them, this is just one journey too far.
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.