Screened Out – Ice Age Collision Course

By : Stephen Miller
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Voices of Ray Romano, Dennis O’Leary, John Leguizamo, Simon Pegg, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer, Adam DeVine, Neil deGrasse Tyson

It feels as if the makers of Ice Age listened to the early criticism of the franchise: “None of this is realistic!” and “This is scientifically implausible!”

Then they decided that talking animals, friendly saber-tooth tigers, and the lot were all really ridiculous. They went the route of the Looney Tunes shows – making it all ridiculous and funny. They realized they had a comic goldmine in the world-changing rat-thing Scrat, and they ran with it. For five films, now, they have eschewed any logic whatsoever.

So, it’s funny that they roped in uber-scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson to lend his voice and considerable scientific legitimacy.

See, dismissible animated movies like this should be primarily about having fun. Sure, their plot, characters, and themes still should also be solid. So, let’s get that criticism out of the way.

Scrat is still the funniest thing here.

Scrat is still the funniest thing here.

The plot in Ice Age: Collision Course is stupid and choppy. Scrat finds a frozen UFO. In launching himself into space – to chase that ever-elusive acorn – he brings a meteor into a crash-course with Earth.

Down below, the mammoths’ daughter is going to marry a goofball. The parents (Romano and Latifah) both fret. Sid the Sloth (Leguizamo) is still looking for true love. The tigers (O’Leary and Lopez) ponder whether they should have a litter.

That meteor throws all their plans up in the air.

The crazed, one-eyed meerkat Buck (ably played by Pegg) first notices the doomsday. A family of dinosaurs is chasing him – don’t ask.

Sheer stupidity.

The characters, though, are mostly worth a chuckle.

Sure, the theme – of letting go – is pretty standard (read: dull).

The question is whether the animated stuff is fun. Yes, it is. Buck’s wild slapstick is cartoon brilliance. Scrat’s fixation on his acorn is still goofy and hilarious. The mammoths and tigers are less and less funny as these films wear on, but Sid the Sloth is still worth a few belly laughs.

Let me be clear; none of this should win any awards. Blue Sky artwork (Madagascar) is still clunky and geometric. They still cannot animate hair correctly. A weird illumination still emanates unnaturally from absolutely everyone and everything.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

What’s more, the plot is still scattered. Nothing comes together. Furthermore, Ice Age: Collision Course – like the other four – introduces freakish tangents very late in the film. It has no interest in gracefulness or artistry.

But, when our world may feel like it’s ending, this fifth doomsday cartoon is at least worth the goofy distraction it offers.

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