Ice Age: Collision Course Review
Sid, Manny and Diego are all back, facing mammoth tasks to save themselves from extinction.
Fourteen years and five films later, the Ice Age saga has started to go cold.The franchise has spawned short films, TV shows and countless merchandise, and looks set to dominate TV-ad space over the summer holidays. It sort of feels as though the Ice Age film series has lasted longer than the actual Ice Age did, with film after film recycling the same basic structure: furry friends accidentally find themselves in danger, they set off on an epic/funny/disastrous quest to save themselves, kids laugh. Would you believe me if I said this film – number five, for those of you counting along at home – changed it up and is a breath of fresh air?No, didn’t think so. Collision Course sees Scrat the sabre-toothed squirrel (Chris Wedge) torn from the earth and blasted into outer space – all in the name of protecting his acorn (if you’re at all familiar with the Ice Age series you will be more than well acquainted with this trope). This sequence is one of the most entertaining of the film, as Mike Thurmeier and co-director Galen T. Chu parody Oscar-smash Gravity as Scrat is sent out into space and comes face-to-face with the colossal meteor hurtling towards earth and threatening extinction for all the Ice Age gang.
The gang are now facing dull sit-com problems: Sid (John Leguizamo) is on the lookout for love after being dumped, Manny has family problems as his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) prepares to marry Julian (Adam Devine) and Buck (Simon Pegg) is trying to reunite a lost dinosaur egg with its mother. When Buck uncovers an ancient monument that prophesises the meteor’s impact on earth, he gathers the gang and they put their heads, fangs and tusks together to try to save their lives, and the future of all the mammals on earth.
Young kids will still love the bright colours, loveable characters and familiar voices, but there’s even less for beleaguered parents in this film than in the last few instalments. The first few riffs on pop-culture and knowing pastiches will raise a smirk, but after a while it feels as though Thurmeier, Chu and the team of screenwriters realised they were running short on plot material and so tried to squeeze as many hollow laughs out as possible.
And it is hard to blame them – not many sequels are well-loved, let alone the fifth sequel. The previous sequels pretty much (ice)skated by on the loveability of their characters, and this one’s no different – for big fans of Sid and co., this still contains plenty of amusing and endearing moments. Collision Course features more Scrat than other films, which is a huge plus, and introduces an all-star voice cast bringing an array of new characters to life.
Would you believe me if I said this film changed it up and is a breath of fresh air? No, didn’t think so.
One thing you can usually count on Ice Age for is a good visual, and you might be distracted enough by the great use of 3D to not even notice the lack of an interesting or innovative plot. Collision Course does use the 3D really well, and each and every animal looks both extremely cartoony and touch-ably realistic, which is a feat in and of itself.
While the film feels a lot like a recycled version of all the other Ice Age plots, there are enjoyable and original moments. The Ice Age charm is all still there and will still work a treat on children, and every time Sid lisps mournfully you’ll get a whiff of nostalgia. This is one of those rare films that works well in 3D, and talking sloths are always going to be a positive.
All that being said, this is definitely one for the kids to laugh at and you to smile wanly at. I’m not a kid anymore and there’s only so many times you’ll laugh at slapstick comedy involving an animated sloth and an asteroid. After five films I’ve pretty much had my fill of mammoths, sloths and near-miss apocalypses; hell would have to freeze over before I’d see another Ice Age saga.
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