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Ice Age 5: The Mysterious Asteroid (Movie Review)

ice age 5 thumbThe Ice Age film series is about a strange a beast as Sid the sloth. While sequels and diminishing returns can often go hand in hand, this is the rare big-budget animated series that lost its way quickly, yet still manages to find success. Ice Age: Collision Course is not a very good film, as it traffics in all the worst things you would expect from animated family comedies (frequent pop culture references, indifferent stakes, big pop song and dancing into the end credits) and really has nothing to offer in the way of cultural relevance. It’s a shame, as hard work must have gone into the making of the film, yet we are very far away from what made the first film somewhat unique.

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There are a few stories going on here, but the main plot involves our herd (Ray Romano’s Manny, John Leguizamo’s Sid, Denis Leary’s Diego and their families) trying to find a solution surviving an asteroid on a collision course with earth. Yes, this is a film where prehistoric animals are somehow going to stop an asteroid from crashing into the planet. As this is happening, Manny is dealing with his daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) and her fiancé Julian (Adam Devine). Sid is still in search of love and Diego and his wife Shira (Jennifer Lopez) are trying to establish themselves as less of a threat to others.

It’s not all that complicated, the film just has to juggle a lot of characters. Sadly, this means less of the group dynamic that made the first film work as well as it did (Leary’s hardly in it). The real treat comes from Simon Pegg’s Buck, first seen in the third film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Buck’s role as a one-eyed weasel has been to protect some of the last remaining dinosaurs and it is in his interest to not see the world destroyed. Pegg injects plenty of life into his character and has a standout sequence showing just how effective he is as a protector. It’s enough to make you want a spin-off dealing with his life over the shenanigans with the herd.

Oh…and Scrat is still going after his acorn – in space!

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The shame about a film like this is seeing how far away it has gone from the original film’s conceit. While there was plenty of fun to be had with the cast dynamic, Ice Age was essentially a comedy-drama placing emphasis on Manny’s choice to be alone, after losing his herd and reluctantly forming a new (offbeat) family of his own with other outcasts. The sequels have lost all of that in favor of doubling down on the humor and never supplying much of a message. That wouldn’t be a terrible thing if the films were still entertaining, but that’s the other rub.

I’ve actually appreciated some of what the sequels have had to offer, as there have been good gags and some impressive animation to help them get by. This time around though, there’s just very little here. The jokes are never all that funny and the story, for all the drama of an asteroid headed towards earth, feels very slight. With world ending stakes, I would have hoped I’d care more about what is going on, but I never really did. At the same time, having madcap humor would ideally be very entertaining, but this felt a lot more like business as usual. The main cast showed up, along with anyone else with a Fox contract, and they provided the work required.

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As always, there is the crowd that can simply accept this as easy entertainment for the kids, but kids are allowed to enjoy better films. I’m not saying that a full-length Scrat movie would have been better, but given how consistently entertaining those segments are that serve basically as act breaks, it makes me wonder why the writers can’t focus that same energy into a film so busy with comedic talent. Instead, Collision Course just feels like a Mad Libs take on an Ice Age script.

With the film feeling more like a shell of what this series began as, Collision Course is easily the worst entry yet in the Ice Age series. I have nothing against Blue Sky Studios, but it very much feels like it’s time to move onto something more inventive. That’s not saying Rio 3 needs to happen (although Peanuts 2 – yes), just that the world of animation is a vast one and Blue Sky is more than capable of adding to it in a better way.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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