“Ice Age: Collision Course” Review

Prior to watching this movie, I marathoned the previous four Ice Age movies over the past 3 days; my findings were surprising and annoying at the same time.  The first film was one of my childhood favorites.  Sure it ripped-off Shrek and had dated animation, but it also had incredibly funny banter between its characters, memorable voice-acting, a fun sense of adventure, and beautiful music.  Not to mention that it did its drama pretty well.  Look me in the eye and tell me that you didn’t get close to shedding tears when you saw the “cave-drawing” or “returning the child” scenes!  The sequels are a completely different matter.  Granted, the animation has improved with each film, but the once-clever humor is nowhere to be seen.  The only decent sequel is Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and that is mostly due to Simon Pegg’s character, Buck.  He was energetic, crazy, funny, and very-well animated.  I’m not surprised that this is the fifth sequel, check the box office results of the last two ($850+ million each!).  So, without further ado, let us review a movie that has a worse Rotten Tomatoes rating than Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.

Ice Age: Collison Course is directed by Mike Thurmeier/Galen T. Chu and written by: Aubrey Solomon, Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, and Yoni Brenner.  Stars-Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Adam Devine, and Simon Pegg.  Premise-Due to Scrat’s wacky acorn escapades, a gigantic meteor is en route to annihilate the earth and everything on it.  Now Manny and his herd must find a way to evade certain doom, while Buck finds a way to save them all.

This movie is not nearly as bad as you’d think.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty bland, but I know for a fact that the worst movie in this franchise is Continental Drift.  The character arcs in that movie were clichés, the villain was pathetic, and the new characters were either stereotypes or useless tools.  Not to mention that the jokes were at an all-time insultingly dumb level.  After watching that film, I was expecting the worst when I walked into the theatre.  We are talking about Blue Sky Studios here; the company that, out of 11 produced films, only has Ice Age and The Peanuts Movie to feel proud of.

The first thing anyone is going to talk about is the once-entertaining Scrat (that squirrel-rat thing).  Remember how his antics would only start the plot?  In Collison Course, he is constantly interfering with what is going on where are main heroes are.  If you saw the Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe short film (which is actually the first 5 minutes of the movie) you’d know that he ends up in outer space, where his accidents end up creating Earth’s solar system (don’t ask). First off, if you plan on watching any of the Ice Age sequels (which you should not), you have to go into it having defenestrated your suspension of disbelief as I have.  The second I saw an underground dinosaur world under a thin layer of ice, during the dang ice age mind you, I was like, “Ok movie, that’s just dumb enough for me to lose all sense of tension and logic, but not infuriating enough for me to lose interest.”  Plenty of critics are complaining over the lack of logic and improbability of Collison Course, but if you know that it’s not supposed to be realistic in the slightest, then you won’t be surprised by the “science” of this movie.  What I am surprised by is that Neil deGrasse Tyson voices in this movie!  Apparently the directors wanted him to cameo for the sake of humor.  I don’t know why he signed on, the logic in Collison Course is incredibly screwed-up, but then again, he’s the astrophysicist.

Scrat’s antics are what keep this painfully short film going.  If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that every one of the Ice Age movies is extremely fast-paced.  This is because each film has a plot that does not have enough potential to reach the 90 minute mark.  Therefore, they have to add at least 3 new characters every movie, and give Scrat more time to eat up.  His scenes in this movie are much more frequent, and last much longer than before.  Most of the time, his scenes boil down to delaying the heroes from saving the world.  This gets annoying very fast, because you’ll be silently shouting, “C’mon man!  I know they’re going to live, just let the movie end!”  The plot is essentially your generic disaster movie with a bit of DreamWorks awkwardly thrown in.  It does resemble Armageddon in more ways than one, but it’s mostly standard.  They do try to create some genuine family drama, but most of it is rushed, or just poorly done.

The characters are probably the worst thing about this movie.  Manny and Ellie are uninteresting, Sid is annoying and his granny is still a stereotype (and a waste of Wanda Sykes), Diego does little, Shira has less than 5 lines, Crash/Eddie are only used for immature humor, and every new character (of which there are at least 5) is bland.  Most of the character arcs are too easy to be compelling, and the dialogue is quite overdone.

There are a few saving graces, for one the animation.  This movie probably has the best animation of all 5 films.  They use different art styles at certain points, the character designs are unique, and the environments are pretty.  Buck returns as well, he’s not as funny as he was in Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but his presence at least adds some energy to the movie.

Oh yeah, the humor.  I forgot that this movie is a comedy.  That’s probably because I hardly ever laughed.  Most of the jokes are immature or lazy, and at least half of the jokes have something to do with slang that is more outdated that the time period the movie takes place in.  There are a lot of cartoony sound effects which attempt to make you laugh at the pitiful slapstick in the movie.  The worst thing is that all the great banter between the three leads is nonexistent.

As I said, I don’t hate this movie, it’s just bland.   Despite that, I completely believe that this franchise would work much better as a series of children’s novels.  Think about it: there are five movies, each one of them has the same core characters going though mind-blowing adventures while making friends, discovering new worlds, and creating families.  In a book, the lack of logic or science could work because it would be a fantasy epic that would require the imagination of the reader.  Think The Lord of the Rings meets Babe.  However, if Blue Sky Studios has proven one thing, it’s that they can sell pretty-looking products without real effort.  Ice Age: Collison Course gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.

 

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