New­est ‘Ice’ is cold for view­ers

Gra­tu­itous se­quel fails on many lev­els

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - MOVIES - By Katie Walsh Tribune News Ser­vice

Four­teen years after the first “Ice Age” an­i­mated film was a hit, the fifth in­stall­ment in the fran­chise, “Ice Age: Collision Course,” rolls into the­aters. Is it in­evitable? Yes, 2012’s “Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift” was the high­est-gross­ing an­i­mated film that year. Is it nec­es­sary? Ab­so­lutely not. “Collision Course” is sim­ply a per­func­tory, wa­tered-down en­try in the se­ries that feels like it should have been re­leased on home video.

In this world of an­cient an­i­mals — woolly mam­moths, saber-tooth tigers, fly­ing dino-birds — fac­ing apoc­a­lyp­tic, era-shift­ing, as­ter­oid-borne prob­lems, it feels pro­foundly odd that the emo­tional stakes of the film re­volve around the wed­ding of Manny (Ray Ro­mano) and El­lie’s (Queen Lat­i­fah) daugh­ter Peaches (Keke Palmer). Not to get too nit-picky about a fan­tas­ti­cal film for chil­dren where a group of an­i­mals blow up a bunch of crys­tals in a vol­cano to set an as­ter­oid off course, but the con­cept of mar­riage is de­cid­edly anachro­nis­tic here. Also, they’re an­i­mals. When any­thing’s pos­si­ble, cen­ter­ing a story on some­thing as mun­danely het­eronor­ma­tive as a wed­ding feels wildly unimag­i­na­tive.

Roma no’s Ma n ny re­mains the heart of the group, but the chem­istry and the writ­ing be­tween the char­ac­ters are pro­foundly lack­ing. It’s al­most as if they seem to be on sep­a­rate, equally un­der­de­vel­oped sto­ry­lines. The most time is given to Manny’s is­sues with his im­ma­ture fu­ture son-in-law, Ju­lian (Adam Devine), who plans to move away with Peaches after their wed­ding, in a sort of “Father of the Bride”-style sto­ry­line. The other char­ac­ters are granted tossed-off story scraps as they are led on a hunt for mag­netic crys­tals by the swash­buck­ling Buck (Si­mon Pegg).

There’s an oddly grotesque style to some of the char­ac­ter de­sign, in­clud­ing the popeyed sloths, as well as the hi­jinks of the sin­gle-minded and phys­i­cally elas­tic squir­rel, Scrat. In chas­ing an acorn, Scrat ends up on a space­ship that sets off the whole as­ter­oid de­ba­cle. There’s a cer­tain amount of vis­ual com­edy fun to be had with sim­ple­ton Scrat, but his ad­ven­tures in space take an ex­treme phys­i­cal toll on the ro­dent.

The laser fo­cus on some­thing as in­nocu­ous as a mam­moth wed­ding weighs the story stakes in the wrong di­rec­tion — away from the ac­tual world-end­ing part of the tale, which you would as­sume would ta ke prece­dence. All of the apoc­a­lyp­tic stuff feels so very slap­dash and silly, par­tic­u­larly a so­journ to “Geodetopia,” an op­por­tu­nity to pil­lory yo­gaprac­tic­ing, crys­tal-lov­ing hip­pies (much in the same way “Zootopia” al­ready did this year).

Nothing comes to­gether in “Ice Age: Collision Course,” which feels like the fran­chise grind­ing to a dis­ap­point­ing halt. De­spite all the star power in­volved, the voice act­ing per­for­mances don’t in­spire, the vi­su­als are ba­sic, and in 3-D, dark and dim.

This is one in­stall­ment that didn’t need to be made, and in a sum­mer of fine an­i­mated fare, “Ice Age: Collision Course” is only for the die-hard fans and fran­chise com­pletists.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.