Ice Age: Collision Course
2016, PG, 94 min. Directed by Galen T. Chu, Mike Thurmeier. Voices by Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Chris Wedge, Jessie J, John Leguizamo, Adam Devine, Nick Offerman, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Michael Strahan, Keke Palmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., July 22, 2016
Rule of thumb: It’s almost always a bad sign when a film franchise suddenly sends an otherwise earthbound core character into outer space. When Ozploitation legend Brian Trenchard-Smith signed on to direct the fourth installment of the wackily sadistic, pot-of-gore Leprechaun series, he and screenwriter Mark Jones simply added a colon to the pre-existing title and voilà Leprechaun: In Space. Succinct and accurate, yes, but in the end, an astronomically mediocre addition to the CV of all involved. See also: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline.
While not exactly a horror – or for that matter a horrible – movie, this fifth installment of the prehistoric buddy comedy falls far short of its earlier promise. Once smart and funny but now witless and given to an overabundance of poop gags, Ice Age: Collision Course is, hopefully, the series’ extinction-level event. Speaking of, that’s the hook on which the film is hung. Scrat (Wedge), the films’ acorn-loving, squirrel-rat mascot and the single best thing about all the Ice Age films (the character is a Looney Tune unto himself) literally launches the plot into motion when he inadvertently activates a buried alien spaceship and, very long story short, ends up sending that massive, everyone-killing asteroid hurtling toward his homeworld. Scrat’s cosmic misadventures are a Rube Goldberg-ian blast, but back on Earth, Manny the Mammoth (Romano), wife Ellie (Latifah), and the usual gang are having problems of their own. The impending nuptials of daughter Peaches (Palmer) weighs on them nearly as heavily as that ever-growing fiery orb in the sky, while a bizarre side-plot revolves around the discovery of Geotopia, a highly magnetic (don’t ask), New-Agey community of newcomers led by the aphorism-spouting yogi, Shangri Llama (Ferguson).
All of this feels like much ado about nothing despite the astronomical peril the characters face. Collision Course is overstuffed with meandering, unnecessary micro-storylines, far too many new characters, and an obvious lack of focus, none of which should impact the movie’s target demographic, kids under 10. Hey Fox, give Scrat his own feature already, and then let the great die-off commence.