When you’re an animation house with the opportunity to grab a dollar, it’s a temptation hard to resist. These school holidays we’re about to receive the fifth ‘Ice Age’ film in 14 years - this is in comparison to, say, ‘Finding Dory’ which is a sequel 13 years after its predecessor. Animation studios such as Disney and Pixar know that whatever they produce has a pretty healthy, almost guaranteed chance of succeeding. Not just to succeed, but to make a killing at the box office. The truth is, almost any halfway-decent animated feature faces those odds, yet Blue Sky (the makers of ‘Ice Age’) and Dreamworks don’t seem to enter the field with that mentality. Once they get a taste of success they milk it for all it’s worth, hence five ‘Ice Age’ films, and four ‘Shrek’ films (courtesy of Dreamworks). Here’s where we run into a problem: Disney and Pixar stake their reputation on quality not quantity, while their competitors obviously see it differently.
We all know that the Big Bang created the universe, but what created the Big Bang? According to ‘Ice Age: Collision Course’ it was Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel inadvertently manning a UFO, once again trying to secure his precious acorn. Not only does he create the universe but he also, in a domino-like fashion, sends a massive asteroid hurtling toward earth, right where our cast of favourites reside. Back on earth Manny (Ray Romano) is struggling with the idea that his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is about to marry lovable good-guy doofus Julian (Adam DeVine) and move away. Diego (Denis Leary) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) aren’t quite sure if kids fit into their lives and Syd (John Leguizamo) is single and lonely. When they discover the asteroid their intrepid friend Buck (Simon Pegg) comes to the rescue with wacky ideas and a trio of dino-birds seeking their revenge.
We’re five movies and 14 years in - we’ve seen it all before.
Here’s the thing, we’re five movies and 14 years in - we’ve seen it all before. Same characters, same animation, same perilous situations. You could argue that while the actors and filmmakers get older, the audience stay the same age, and you’d be right - but at this stage if the filmmakers don’t care, then why should we? ‘Ice Age’ is no longer the laugh-fest we’ve come to love and expect. It’s still full of slapstick antics and million-mile-an-hour banter but it just doesn’t pack the same punch as it once did. This is lazy and uninspired filmmaking, all in an effort to chase the Benjamins.