Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Movie Review: Ice Age: Collision Course

Ice Age: Collision Course
Directed by:  Mike Thurmeier.
Written by:  Michael J. Wilson and Michael Berg and Yoni Brenner and Aubrey Solomon.
Starring: Ray Romano (Manny), Denis Leary (Diego), John Leguizamo (Sid), Queen Latifah (Ellie), Adam Devine (Julian), Jennifer Lopez (Shira), Keke Palmer (Peaches), Simon Pegg (Buck / Pythagorus Buck / Robo Buck), Josh Peck (Eddie), Seann William Scott (Crash), Wanda Sykes (Granny), Stephanie Beatriz (Gertie), Robert Cardone (Freaky Bobby), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Neil deBuck Weasel), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Shangri Llama), Max Greenfield (Roger), Jessie J (Brooke), Nick Offerman (Gavin), Melissa Rauch (Francine), Lilly Singh (Misty / Bubbles), Michael Strahan (Teddy), Chris Wedge (Scrat).
Was there any demand for a fifth Ice Age movie? In the past 14 years, we have followed Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth and Diego the Sabretooth Tiger and their ever expanding flock through one misadventure after another. To be honest, none of the films have been very good – but up until this one, none have been all that bad either. They have mostly been forgettable, generic animated adventures (to be fair, I thought I had seen all five films, but I just double checked my big list of movies, and apparently, I missed the third installment – so maybe that sucked, or was the high point of the series – I’m not racing to find out). The one memorable part of the movies has always been Scrat, that lovable squirrel, who wants nothing more than to get and keep his acorn. Somewhat miraculously, Blue Sky Studios has resisted the urge to give Scrat his own standalone movie – which probably would have been as painful as the Minions movie last year, as a little Scrat goes a long way. Nevertheless, as I have an almost five year old, and I want to get her into the habit of going to the movies, I plan on taking her to see every kids movie there is (for the record, for the those paying attention, the reason there has been no review of The Secret Life of Pets, is because my lovely daughter completely freaked out when the snake made an appearance – she hates snakes – and try as I might, I could not settle her down. I liked what I saw – and will catch up with the whole movie when it comes out for home viewing options). On the plus side, my daughter liked the movie. Her succinct review of the film was basically "It was funny when the squirrel fell on his butt". Touché – that was kind of funny.
The rest of the movie wasn’t really very funny or entertaining. By this point in the series, there are so many characters that the film either has to introduce or reintroduce, that it feels that half the movie is over before the main two plots really kick in. The whole crew has to go on a journey to a mountain, because Buck the Weasel, says there is a giant asteroid hurtling towards that mountain that will wipe them all out. If that wasn’t enough, Peaches, the daughter of Manny and his wife Ellie, has announced that she is getting married to Julian – a goofball of a mammoth, that Manny doesn’t much like, and worse that the two plan on moving away. It’s a whole Father of the Bride of the Mammoth world that is handled, like the rest of the movie, rather lazily. The rest of the cast have various subplots – the nadir of which has to be Diego and his wife Shira, wondering if they would make good parents – it is shoehorned in, for no other reason than if it wasn’t, than Diego and Shira wouldn’t have anything to say for the rest of the movie. Sid the Sloth is still looking for love, and his wisecracking Granny is still wisecracking. The two annoying comic relief rodents are still annoying comic relief rodents. There are also a family of dinosaur birds, still hanging around for some reasons, who want to kill Buck. And eventually, the herd will end up in a hippie commune, led by the Shangri-Llama. That’s about the level of cleverness were dealing with here.
Scrat it responsible, of course, for that asteroid hurtling towards Earth – as his subplot takes him into space (not kidding). Oddly, considering how much time he spends on Twitter bitching about EVERY science fiction movie around, Neil deGrasse Tyson shows up playing a weasel version of himself to explain the science side of things – which even he admits is stupid.
Hopefully, this is the end of this franchise. It was never all that good, but I guess it kept making money (apparently even more overseas than in North America). The box office so far for this film hasn’t been all that good – so perhaps this series will be put out of their misery. The film labors under all the characters, and the writers clearly are barely even trying anymore. When the only thing a five year old will say about the film is that it was funny when the squirrel fell on his butt, it’s time to put an end to things.

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