Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Directed by: Mike Thurmeier & Galen T. Chu
Starring: Nick Offerman, Adam Devine, Simon Pegg, Jennifer Lopez
According to science there have been five major ice ages in Earth’s history and now we have arrived at the fifth instalment in the Ice Age franchise. Although, this must all be a lucky coincidence. It’s quite clear any paleontological or scientific accuracy is non-existent when the film opens with the nut obsessed sabre-toothed squirrel, Scrat, creating the Milky Way with an alien spaceship frozen in ice. Yeah, just a coincidence.
This time around Manny’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), is all grown up and ready to get married and roam with her fiancé, Julian (Adam DeVine), but then an asteroid three hundred miles wide turns up and puts plans on hold. Leaving it up to Manny (Ray Ramano), Buck (Simon Pegg) and the rest of the gang have to travel to the old crash site in order to throw the asteroid off course and save the world. Also, there are feathered flying dinosaurs hunting them, as well as a Dalai Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who lives in the old comet and is obsessed with being youthful. Yeah, it’s very convoluted.The first Ice Age film wasn’t groundbreaking but it was an enjoyable enough caper with some genuine laughs. Yet, as the franchise has gone on it’s slowly lost what made the original so good, although the fourth instalment was something of a return to form. And that’s this instalment’s biggest problem; there is simply too many things going on and too many characters fighting for screen time. The central group has become cluttered with partners, relatives and annoying additions that have caused the central three, Manny, Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo), to get lost. It was their interactions in the original film that provided the biggest laughs but now they share minimal time in each other’s company.
Diego fares the worst with barely anything to do, as well as his partner, Shira (Jennifer Lopez). They make noise about starting a family but nothing ever actually happens. Sid is still the film’s best comic relief, a joke about a poison ivy bikini will have both the kids and adults laughing for different reasons, but even he struggles to find enough laughs. Manny is hamstrung by a plotline we’ve seen all too often in recent animations, a la The Croods and Hotel Transylvania. All the additional characters get in between the trio, becoming an annoying distraction.The kids in the audience will continue to find the franchise’s architect of chaos, Scrat, as endearing and hilarious as ever while the adults in the audience will continue to find his fruitless endeavours moronic and annoying, only there as a gimmick to sell toys. The best new inclusion is Max Greenfield’s Roger, the runt of the dinosaur litter conflicted by his morals and his father’s lack of them. All the other newbies, including Nick Offerman’s dino dad, never get enough time to really make much of an impact. The animation is colourful, the work on the fur is impressive but Monsters Inc was fifteen years ago and it pales in comparison to Pixar’s groundbreaking efforts. The stereoscopy is a pointless addition that only becomes noticeable with a few visual gimmicks that will entertain the young’uns in the audience.
Collision Course’s overstuffed narrative won’t bother the kids who will be too busy laughing at the slapstick humour but it’s a little dull to keep up with if you’re older than about ten. But if the kids enjoy it, who are we as cynical, jaded adults to tell them what’s funny?