It’s hard to believe that Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and the animals they voice are on their fifth feature-length lap with the Ice Age series – that’s a long time for any franchise. Then again, there’s always going to be a crowd for these adventurous, likeable mammals because Blue Sky Studios knows how to make a slick-and-quick movie for families. Ice Age: Collision Course is no different.
Manny the mammoth (Romano), Sid the sloth (Leguizamo) and Diego the sabre-toothed tiger (Leary) embark on another mission while their ragtag friends tag along – the stakes are higher this time around. After a perilous meteor shower, the gang spots an incoming asteroid. Despite its illuminating purple glow, the giant rock hurling towards the planet doesn’t exactly guarantee safety. A plan to alter the course of the asteroid is devised by the one-eyed, underground-dwelling nutbar Buck (Simon Pegg), prompting friends and family to move quickly before their habitat becomes a crater.
How was this asteroid created? Well, Scrat (everyone’s favourite spastic squirrel, voiced by Chris Wedge) stumbled upon a UFO, launched himself into space, and accidentally created the solar system which caused massive rocks to drop towards Earth. I’m sure at one point, as the UFO soared over oceans, Scrat also jumped a shark as well.
Filmmakers Mike Thurmeier and Galen T. Chu seem to be very interested in hysteria and seeing what it looks like through 3D effects. If you’re watching Collision Course through 3D specs, I expect it’ll feel like a roller coaster ride. But, to someone watching Collision Course in a flatter format, this is overwhelmingly apparent. Nonetheless, I can’t deny how much fun these high-strung sequences are, even if our heroes are trying to outrun impending doom.
Collision Course is, however, extremely random. Some outbursts from hyper pipsqueaks Eddie and Crash are unnecessary (a “hashtag” debate is especially cringe-worthy), Buck has a stupid running joke where he fathers a pumpkin, and a sub-plot involving blood-thirsty dino-birds feels like an afterthought (“ok, we have Nick Offerman on board. How do we use him in our movie?”). Sometimes, the film’s gall is so weird, I actually started admiring its “everything but the kitchen sink” mentality (see: Neil deGrasse Tyson’s cameo).
By this fifth feature, a recommendation for Ice Age: Collision Course is entirely based on whether you’re a fan of the series or not. Personally, I find the films lively and funny, with Scrat’s physical gags providing most of the laughs (a low-gravity sequence is hilarious in the most morbid ways). The series has always found a way to balance heartwarming stories of bonding with exciting action sequences. However, Collision Course tilts the scale in favour of the action-packed chaos. It’s superficially entertaining, but different from the winning formula of the other movies.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie