Few film franchises remain interesting on the fifth installment, because by then all pretense of making good cinema is replaced by a desire to secure a quick cash grab.
Animation films are especially susceptible to such a trap because their audiences, which is kids of all forms, are readily available at any time of the year. The Ice Age films are a case study in cash grabs – every subsequent film is louder and much inferior in quality and all the good will built from the first film keeps evaporating into nothingness.
So it’s not a surprise that Ice Age: Collision Course, the fifth film in the franchise is the least interesting of the lot. Director Mike Thurmeier, who made the previous two films Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Continental Drift continues to delve into familiar jokes and tropes. The story is painfully similar to the previous movies.
For the fourth consecutive time the world seems to be coming to an end, and our heroes Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary), Ellie (Queen Latifah) and gang must band together to survive, while facing comical consequences and meeting new characters. The threat in the previous movies ranged from the ice caps melting, dinosaurs emerging, and global warming, and this time our heroes are in trouble because of asteroids falling from the sky.
There’s no faulting the filmmakers for continuing with the tried and tested formula, but when the jokes stop being funny you expect something new in the story department. The only thing that keeps changing in the Ice Age films is the number of characters – Collision Course crams all the faces from the previous four films into this one while still adding new ones. The problem is none of them, despite having amazing voice talents like Simon Pegg are particularly interesting – they’re simply loud and shrill, indulging in comical acrobatics in a lame effort to keep the kiddies giggling.
Even visual comedy works better if the story is good, and with such a vast menu of animation films nowadays, even kids are able to pick out the good ones from the bad.
With a weak story and characters one expects a visually satisfying movie, but Ice Age: Collision Course is rather bland to look at, which is surprising for Blue Sky studios which has made some of the best looking films ever made. The animation in the movie might be enjoyable in 2D but it’s a real headache in 3D. Because most of the characters move swiftly and the camera zooms often it’s hard to focus your eyes through the awful 3D glasses. It really is about time 3D disappeared from movie theaters.
The only entertaining aspect of Ice Age: Collision Course is Scrat and his adventures with the elusive acorn. Five films in, the cutaways to Scrat struggling to grab his beloved acorn feel like a different film altogether. Like the Minions, he needs a standalone film of his own – perhaps watching a silent film would be a much needed change for those exhausted with the cacophony of the Ice Age movies. It’s a shame that Blue Sky studios continues to make these inane sequels when they’re capable of making classics like The Peanuts Movie.