Starring: John Leguizamo, Simon Pegg, Denis Leary, Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Mike Thurmeier, Galen T. Chu
During his latest attempt to capture his beloved acorn, Scrat manages to find himself in a flying saucer, submerged in the icy depths of the polar ice-caps. Inadvertently turning the thing on, he zooms off into space to cause celestial mayhem within the solar system, playing planet snooker, causing vast electric storms on earth and eventually firing a huge meteor towards his home planet. Semi-mad adventurer Buck (Pegg) finds an ancient prophesy warning of the end of the earth from light falling from the skies and sets off with Sid (Leguizamo), Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and the rest of the usual crowd in an attempt to stop all life on the planet from being wiped out.
There is basically nothing new here, yet Ice Age is in a fortunate place. The makers have built such a solid franchise with excellent individual characters that just putting them on screen for ninety minutes with a pretty bog standard race-against-time story works fine. Sid’s self-pity never seems to bore and the strained relationship between Manny and his soon-to-be son in law manages to add a differing dimension to the impending planetary disaster.
Physicists and exobiologists may take issue to the temporal skulduggery at work here. Scrat’s inadvertent destruction of the emergence of life on Mars may have come a few billion years too late for the accuracy of history to be satisfied. But then we’re talking about a saber-toothed squirrel flying a spaceship around the solar system so the point may be somewhat moot.
There are enough slapstick gags to keep the younger ones happy, while Manny’s family issues are directed fully at the parents, as if Octonauts and Two Point Four children had produced a high budget animated offspring. One thing Ice Age does well is realise that it has enough characters already in place, and makes no attempt at introducing any more; a pitfall many long running franchises fall into (yes, we’re looking at you Kung Fu Panda). The balance feels just right and enough time is allowed for each character to have his or her moments in the sun.
The only real criticism about the Ice Age series is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to remember which film is which, such is their similarity. Collision Course never sets out to be anything other than an enjoyable, comic animated adventure, and it achieves that well. You get the feeling though that any further upcoming episodes may need a little more meat on the bones.
5 / 10