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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Go Asteroid

Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Published Thursday July 21, 07:38 pm
The Ice Age series ran out of steam a decade ago

Ice Age: Collision Course
2 out of 5

When the first Ice Age came out nearly 15 years ago, it was received with open arms. The computer-generated imagery was crude but it had an anarchistic spirit embodied by a single-minded prehistoric squirrel with a disturbing acorn obsession.

It was a little dark and silly, and it had a heart. It also featured Diego, a duplicitous sabretooth tiger more complex than anything else in live-action American films at the time.

Cut to four movies later, the saga has none of the edge it once displayed. It has been weighted down by too many characters and uses bottom-of-the-barrel plotlines. Even Scrat is showing signs of fatigue (after you put the critter on a flying saucer, there is nowhere else to go)

Furthermore, it’s basically the same story cloned time and time again: a bunch of mammals on the run from certain extinction.

Ice Age: Collision Courseshows a slight uptick in comparison to Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the absolute nadir that was Continental Drift, not because the story is any good but because at times the creative team embraces the absurdity of their circumstance.

Having cheated annihilation for the umpteenth time, Manny, Sid, Diego and co. have settled in an idyllic forest alongside a cornucopia of antediluvian beasts. The woolly mammoth is enduring a midlife crisis — his daughter Peaches is about to marry the only other available member of the species — and some friction at home (he forgot his wedding anniversary, arguably the laziest plot device in the history of fiction).

Luckily for Manny, a massive asteroid is on its way to Earth threatening to wipe out all forms of life. The group’s effort to escape seem futile, until Buck — the demented weasel last seen in Dawn of the Dinosaurs — comes up with a plan to repel the rock. An added difficulty comes in the form of three feathered dinos out for revenge (Ice Age’s notion of geological time apparently isn’t that different from a creationists).

As long as the it’s not dealing with Manny’s sitcom problems, Ice Age: Collision Course is tolerable. Too bad all the watered-down All In The Family material takes about half the movie. As impending doom approaches, absurdity ramps up and some form of entertainment can be found. The discovery of a meteorite with fountain of youth-like properties gives the movie a shot in the arm that lets it limp to the finish line. Woo.

Next to Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, the voice cast of Ice Age: Collision Course is weak: from Ray Romano’s monotonous technique (or lack thereof) to Simon Pegg’s manic delivery, practically no one hits the right tone. The exception is Wanda Sykes as the dementia-ridden sloth Granny, by far the best-written and performed character of the bunch.

The abundance of slapstick all but guarantees kids will enjoy it, although some of the jokes may go over their heads. Like the one sitting behind me at the screening, who had to ask “mommy, what’s an arsonist?”

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