Ice Age: Collision Course

(G) Voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo

In 2002, we were introduced to the oddball trio of mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), saber-toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary) and sloth Sid (John Leguizamo). The original Ice Age garnered subsequent sequels which have gone on to grab $2.8 billion at box offices worldwide. Of course, that means the Blue Sky animation studio will do all it can to keep its Ice Age franchise from going extinct. The sequels have traveled through an ice age, meltdown, the land of dinosaurs and sailed the high seas (collecting a multitude of new characters along the way).

So, where do the writers decide to take the fifth chapter of these unique mammals? Naturally, outer space and into the world of Shangri-La!

As popular squirrel Scrat continues to search after the ideal place to hide his acorn, his attempt yields him an interplanetary option. The proverbial hole that he falls into gives him the ability to power a space ship that inexplicably is buried on earth. In the process of retrieving the acorn, though, he is shot into space. Scrat then upsets the configuration of the universe and triggers an asteroid shower that threatens the very existence of earth.

The blended family of mammoths, possums and other species must figure out how to survive the meteor shower and possibly divert the life-ending projectile. Along the way, they come in contact with the utopian place of Shangri-La. The key to survival may be found in Shangri-La, if everyone involved is willing to sacrifice and work together to save the world.

The original world of Ice Age was comical and plausible, which made this cast of characters endearing and fun. In this latest instalment, it has moved into the mundane and absurd. The production team at Blue Sky has taken the initial formula for this franchise and bled it dry. Whenever an alien element is introduced, it is evident that the writers have come to the end of their creativity (just look at  the last Indiana Jones outing). All of the Ice Age elements that have brought audiences along for the past decade are now mere memories of a bygone era.

Ice Age: Collision Course is a glaring example of not understanding the franchise’s audience and attempting to be too philosophical for this genre. The children in the audience were bored and unengaged throughout the movie. The humour did not garner a chuckle from the little ones or from their carers. Even though this is a film for children, the writers seemed to be going after some deep philosophical issues, such as the origin of the world and the cosmos. This weighty exploration did not work on a multitude of levels. What has been played out in a humorous manner in previous films came off as a condescending biology lesson in Collision Course. Not only did it lack any comedic elements, it was poorly handled on a scientific and philosophical level.

My hope would be that Scrat and company would be allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs after this poorly executed evolutionary edition. For the sake of the children and their parents, please put this franchise to rest.

As a parent, it came off as insulting and lacked the magic for the original.

 What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?

If there were any redeeming components of Ice Age: Collision Course, they are to be found within its pro-family messages, as well as its positive view on marriage. Both of these social issues are well worth discussing with your children.

  1. What does the Bible say about family? (Psalm 128:3, Jon 15:12-17)
  2. Does God say about marriage? (1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Hebrews 13:4)

 Leaving the cinema…

Be merciful to all involved and put this franchise on ice!

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Russell Matthews

Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.