There’s a tendency among long running movie series – especially those which have no business being there – to launch into outer space. And so, in its fifth and conspicuously tired outing, the “Ice Age” franchise looks to the heavens for salvation.
When Scrat (the spiritual descendant of Wile E Coyote) accidentally reactivates a buried alien spacecraft in his continuing quest to bury his nuts, he sets in motion a hilarious chain of events which threaten to bring asteroidal doom raining down on Sid, Diego, Manny and the gang unless Buck can figure out a way to save them.
To be fair, I don’t actually have much of a quarrel with the alien spaceship part of the plot – after all, it’s a nice call back to the very first “Ice Age” movie where the gang pass by one buried in the ice (and whatever happened to the humans from the first movie anyway? The franchise has completely forgotten about them).
Unfortunately, the reminder of the original movie (and it’s pretty darn good sequel) only serves to further emphasise how far this series has [continental] drifted from its roots. The characters have each arrived at the end point of their journeys so there’s nothing interesting for the original characters to do. Even Manny and Ellie’s angst over their daughter Peaches’ life choices is a rerun of the driving character arc from the previous film, 2012’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift”.
There’s a slapdash feel to the whole thing, like the principal cast each wrote and recorded their own dialogue separately and it was then mashed into one movie in the editing suite. Whenever the action starts to falter, another one-note character will be thrown into the mix or they’ll trot out some gophers to perform some sub-Minions shenanigans to distract the audience.
There’s an awful cameo from Twitter’s resident Grinchy movie science pedant Neil deGrasse Tyson to lend a veneer of technobabble scientific credibility to the utterly nonsensical McGuffin of magnets, crystals and a fountain of youth run by – wait for it – Shangri Llama [slow hand clap] but it’s Simon Pegg’s Buck who takes the prize for most non sequiturs in the service of simply moving the story along.
There’s little here for all but the littlest cinemagoers who’ll like the bright colours and may not yet be weary of the tired antics of Sid the Sloth. It all ends, of course, with the obligatory pop music singalong to complete the lazy tick box approach to animated sequels, “Ice Age: Collision Course” makes a good case for the franchise’s extinction even if it does feature more realistic dinosaurs (feathers!) than “Jurassic World”.