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Ice Age: Collision Course (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Ice-Age-Collision-CourseConfession time.  I’ve never seen any of the Ice Age films before.  The saga began back in 2002 when I was still a wee lad in college.  At that age, they looked too kiddie for my refined early 20s taste and certainly weren’t even looking the slightest Pixar-esque.  Now, its 14 years since that first film and I have two children.  I once tried to put the first film on for them and they seemingly didn’t care much for it (I was doing something else, no paying attention).  They claim to have seen one at a cousin’s house and it was all right. So, what I’m trying to convey here going into the review for this fifth excursion into the Ray Romano/Dennis Leary franchise, is that my experience and knowledge on these films is very minimal.  If I’m not getting a reference, or for some reason enjoy this too much, then there is my disclaimer as to why.

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Film 

Your favorite ICE AGE heroes are back and cooler than ever in this all-new adventure! Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn accidentally triggers cosmic events that threaten the ICE AGE world. Now Buck, Manny, Ellie, Sid, Diego and the rest of the herd must work together on a hilarious journey filled with nonstop action and colorful new characters in order to survive the global Scrat-tastrophe!

With its fifth journey and 14th year in existence, it was time to take the Ice Age franchise to that age old, well tried place for a long running film series; space.  Joining the ranks of Jason Voorhees, Leprechaun and Pinhead, Manny the mammoth and company…well…they stay grounded.  Its Scrat that goes to space.  So maybe not for a full story here, but a subplot goes there.  I think it counts.

This Ice Age finds the dinosaurs abandoning their home, learning that 2001: A Space Odyssey may  have been correct in the fact that monoliths planted the ideas of progression in the Earth-bound conscience, and that dads have a hard time letting go.  Its all loosely done and just sort of light guiding forces.  Most of it is done in a stereotypical storytelling fashion or is just not too interesting.

Mixed in with all this are…the laughs?  I dunno, I was battling boredom here for the most part.  My children viewed with me and seemed to sort of mildly be enjoying it.  They both told me they liked it well enough after it was over.  But, this is just sort of that hollow, strictly for kids entertainment.  This really could have been a straight to video adventure too.  Granted, the animation does look more expensive than that.  And with the box office returns, maybe the 6th one will be.

There are a lot of voice talents on display in the film.  And its a lot of people I do admire.  Simon Pegg is here, which is cool.  Stealing the show and doing the best job of all is Max Greenfield.  The New Girl star is all in and has such radiance that even if his scenes aren’t great or the humor isn’t working, they are still an entertaining due to his jovial deliver and overall enthusiasm.

I’ve seen far worse, but I’ve seen plenty of these route animated films.  The best I can describe it is that its just sort of there.  This one benefited from me getting to experience it in 4K and able to enjoy marveling at the colors and detail in the image.  If you’ve got very young kids or have some that you’re close with, they’re probably going to enjoy this.  And your enjoyment ultimately is that they are enjoying it.

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Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Ice Again: Collision Course hits 4K UHD Blu-ray with a pretty stunning picture that’s a definite uptick over its Blu-ray counterpart.  The image is crisp, sharp and far more defined.  The fur on the mammals looks almost pet-able and the Mammoths look like fresh carpet.  Surfaces feature lots of blemishes, glosses, scratches and more in their detail.  There’s a diamond-embedded cavern in the film that look pretty gorgeous here in the image.  Not to cheesily include the title here, but there is a moment with ice featured as a surface characters are standing on and its full of really intricate details and looks quite good with lines, scratches, footprints, scuffs and the like.  Melted ice looks pretty impressive too, as whether its just sitting at ease or being rushed up into the air via a meteor, it moves smoothly and naturally.  Clouds and explosions are quite vibrant and prove to be a grand spectacle any time action of that kind happens.

Depth:  Another area where this 4K UHD presentation leaps over its counterpart is the depth.  Without being a 3D presentation, this movie has some impressive 3-dimensional work in its image. Characters, be they in the close up foreground or in the middle feel very distant from the background image.  The background image is plenty detailed as well.  The outer space sequences are pretty impressive in this regard with the planets, space ships and other kinds of meteors or floating matter feeling so free and random.  Camera movements and sweeps help to add it this feeling as well.  When things float in the air its a real treat.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich, deep and do plenty well in outlining and shading the characters.  There are many different tints and shades the colors spans in this image.  No crushing witnessed at all in the picture during this viewing of course.  The scenes with Scrat set in space give a nice deep, dark look at our solar system with just dead rich nothing in appearance.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are very gorgeous here.  They look good in the regular Blu-ray, but take another step up in this image.  Purples (Lighting schemes, electric volts) are a strong and consistently used color here.  Blues (Earth, water, electricity) come on very strong as well.  Pink (Referring to the diamonds) and Red (feathers on the dumb bird-like guys) look full as well.  Greens find many shades and feels lifelike and bold in their look and appearance.  Browns, grays and the like aren’t the most fun colors but they do hit the spot quite well.  Whites alos find many shades and good form here, able to show off details with such definition.  Some of the prettiest moments involve electric zapping and weird sort of energies that come from space and meteorites.  That’s the big purple contribution.

Flesh Tones: Everybody is furry.  I guess some of the dinos have skin texture which is plenty detailed.  You can seen some rough and tumble as well as a hardened, scaly and cracked kind of look due to obvious hot weather over time of being exposed to a hot sun.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD default), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Spanish 5.1 DTS, Danish 5.1 DTS, Dutch 5.1 DTS, Dutch 5.1 DTS, Finnish 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Norwegian 5.1 DTS, Swedish 5.1 DTS, Chinese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Mandarin (Simple), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: Ice Age: Collision Course collides (rim shot) onto 4K UHD with an Atmos track that really thrusts a good experience upon Pangaea.  Sound is crisp, clear and features good range.  Its a loud mix that really involves and hits good action beats.  Songs featured in the film bump good without being completely overdone as they can be in some of these films.  Vocals, music, effects are all loose, free of one another and woven around terrifically with each getting their chance in the spotlight without feeling overly dominant.  Its an exciting track for an otherwise unexciting film.

Height:  The ceiling speaker brings about some solid ambiance right off the bat in the space sequences.  It also is a player during explosions and overall mass action on the screen.  There are some moments where a character may fly by and it gets its own piece of the action, but primarily it seems to be used just as support for environments and big action beats. Its fine and a very very minor quibble.  I could have turned mine up, honestly.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer does get involved in the action, but isn’t as deep and booming as I was expecting.  With a movie that features meteors crashing to Earth and main characters that are woolly mammoths that you would have the room shaking plenty.  I mean, don’t me wrong, its represented. They stomp, things explode, its deep, but I’d say on the mid range of effectiveness.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s are many moments of ruckus in this movie that feature a full 360 degree experience.  From chases to explosions, the mix has it covered.  It features a good deal of accuracy with character locations on the screen and the movements and involvements in the action.  Side speakers and rear also project a good amount of ambiance to fill the room with an accurate and involving sound.  They also provide some assistance on the score too.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clean.  Animated films always have a good presence with vocals as they sound very full, and catch all pieces of diction and breaths.  Volume and placement are accurately place into the surround.

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Extras 

Ice Age: Collision Course comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet copy of the film.  Bonus material is found on the Blu-ray disc.

Scrat: Spaced Out (HD, 14:42) – This is the opening of the film, but then ends up going beyond that for an extra little adventure featuring Scrat.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Ice Age: The Story So Far (HD, 13:15) – It wants to be a sort of recap to refresh or get new viewers up to speed, but sorta plays like a random assortment of scenes.

Scrat: Spaced Out (HD, 14:42) 

Scratasia: Scrat’s Solo Adventures (HD, 4:13) – A montage of all the best moments from the Scrat short films.

Mysteries of the Scratazons (HD, 5:13) – Set up like a fake mockumentary to spoof History Channel shows and the like, but its also slightly serious about their ideas for newer characters and plot devices.

Star Signs of the Animal Kingdom (HD, 4:42) – Similar to the previous bonus feature, this mockumentary focuses on a few of the animal characters (Scrat, Buck, the Possums, Manny).

The Science of It All: deGrasse Tyson deBunks (HD, 9:18) – Neil deGrasse Tyson, who voices a character in the film, goes through questions related science and events in the film.

Figaro “Sing-A-Long” (HD, 1:47) – A scene in the film is given words on the screen to sing a long too, even though its not much at all.

Gallery (HD, 1:05) – Features concept art for the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)

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Summary 

Woof.  This fifth Ice Age film is one solely for the kiddos.  While I enjoyed the impressive merits of the 4K UHD Blu-ray (Remember, I’m still a noob to the format), I just couldn’t get into the film.  There was a snicker to be had maybe once or twice, but this is just tons of kid filler.  And that’s okay, they’re allowed to make films like that.  This one boasts strong picture quality and audio.  Bonus lacks on the 4K UHD disc, but you’ll find it all on the Blu-ray that comes with it, so you’re not missing out.  You just have to get up and change the discs, and who couldn’t use a few more steps?  Good for the kids, boring for the adults.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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