Even card-carrying supporters of the Ice Age franchise would be hard-pressed to deny that it’s enthusiastically flogging the little that remains of this dead horse. As such, Collision Course is every bit the cynical, lazy cash grab you’d expect, but most offensively, it’s just plain boring.
When Scrat’s pursuit of his beloved acorn causes an apocalyptic event to head towards Earth, Sid (John Leguizamo), Manny (Ray Romano) and Diego (Denis Leary) must team up to ensure their home isn’t obliterated.
It’s fair to say that most casual viewers of this franchise probably can’t remember much after the first two movies; the third and fourth films are so inherently forgettable that they, along with this one, blur together into one dull, indistinguishable brand extension exercise and little else.
Collision Course is everything you should expect from over-confident franchise excess; the plot is bare bones, it milks the most charming element (Scrat) of the previous films to diminished enjoyment, and falsely assumes you still care about characters who haven’t done much interesting in about a decade.
Sadly this one isn’t even a basic, aesthetic joy; by keeping costs typically under $100 million per film, Fox have managed to turn an easy, substantial profit from each of them, and so when the personality and soul of the film is so lacking, it can’t lean back on its visuals like pricier animations can. The texture work on the “lesser” characters in particular is straight-up ugly at times, and it’s really only the mammoth fur that genuinely looks impressively state-of-the-art.
It’s a movie that thinks casting Neil deGrasse Tyson as a weasel named Neil deBuck Weasel is clever and funny, so it’s not exactly aiming high from the outset. Sadly, though, even those who put themselves through the previous sequels out of a misplaced sense of obligation may find themselves struggling to justify spending 94 minutes with this one. By this point, Scrat’s skits should probably be on a YouTube channel that you watch on your lunch break, and it’d spare you having to sit through 80 minutes of uninspired dreck.
What a sadness it is to see an initially enjoyable series suffer so fatally from a dearth of imagination, wit and necessity. And yet, it’ll almost certainly make enough dough to justify a sixth go-around in a few years’ time, critical drubbings be-damned.
Ice Age: Collision Course is in UK cinemas July 15th and US cinemas July 22nd