Ice Age: Collision Course is the animated equivalent of a disaster film for kids – not just as an end-of-the-world spectacle, but as an end of my rope tolerance for a poorly scripted film. This is – what? – the fourth instalment in a series that barely had enough laughs to carry through to the credits of Ice Age one.
In this instalment – the fourth, fifth or eighth – the mismatched crew of grumbling prehistoric creatures voiced by Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo plus an assortment of other mammals they’ve collected through subsequent sequels are now facing world annihilation – and as promising as that sounds (the annihilation part) the movie just doesn’t deliver.
Collision Course is a mixed stew of left over characters that if they were not consciously drawn and voiced, be nothing more than a bunch of obnoxious character actors vying for the most screen time.
Ice Age has been jumping the shark since they dropped off the only human character in the series – a cute little toddler whose been separated from his tribe. So in follow-up episodes the core group of characters a Mammoth, a Sabre-Tooth Tiger and a Sloth meet mates who – as is typical in sit-comish type of scripts – are smarter, more level-headed and even (in their animated fashion) better looking then their primal counterparts. As the series continues children arrive (at least for the Mammoth) a selective group of comical hanger-on’s show up and never leave and the whole thing turns into a mesh of personalities and situations until there is no room for story. Collision Course flows like a vaudeville variety show where half the acts fall flat.
And who among us has ever though the squirrel chasing the acorn bit is funny? Some of you? Okay, well I stand corrected – but I am not one who does see the humour. I get that it’s a gentle lob back to the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner schtick – but I never found that very funny either. But for the few who can’t get enough of neurotic squirrels who are in constant panic because they are probably starving to death – you’ll be pleased to know that the squirrel (that’s what it is, right?) has a substantial role in this. It’s still the same-old one-note gag but now it’s the same one-note gag dragged out through an entire movie: a goofy rodent who sits on-the-edge of sanity trying to nab an ever-elusive acorn – and isn’t it great the way the acorn has become a character too? No. Not really. It’s just silly – and rather tiresome.
Did my nine-year old daughter and her friend laugh? Sure. At times. About as often as they laugh at my joke so I’m not sure their laughs are a great gauge. I do know that it’s been a week since they’ve seen it and neither has said a word about it since. And that is pretty telling.