It’s been 14 years since the original “Ice Age” hit theatres. Sadly the time has not been kind to this series as one progressively bad followup after another was produced every three to 4 years. After “Ice Age 2:The Meltdown” numbering was dropped from the titles, likely to make it more difficult to remember just how bad which ones are. Essentially the 5th feature in the series, “Collision Course” reaches both new heights (Space!) and new lows.
The plot, and multi-planetary-destruction, get kicked into motion by the most beloved creature in the series, the acorn-mad Scrat! In a bizarre turn of events, Scrat finds himself inside a flying saucer buried within the ice, which soon blasts into space. His manic actions set into motion a chain of events that align the planets, destroy a few others, ends the evolution of life on Mars, and nearly wipes out the mammals of Earth as well. Who knew such a little guy could have such a big impact. This sequence is funny and visually looks far better than the rest of the movie, even if it is bizarre.
Bizarre is a key word when it comes to “Collision Course.” There are so many script choices that go beyond bad choices into the truly mad. It’s difficult to believe that the same writers and director (Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, and Mike Thurmeier) who helmed the original are still on board with this blatant cash grab. Beyond the sci-fi macguffin, the plot lumbers along under the weight of such classic sitcom tropes as “The Spouse who forgot the anniversary,” “The Father trying to bond with the soon-to-be loser son-in-law,” “The mother fearing empty nest syndrome who tries to intimated her child into staying,” and the never old “I’m not going to tell the group everything they need to know, because it would immediately end the tension, so instead I’ll keep a potentially lethal secret until the plot demands otherwise.” These gems were worn out by the mid 60s, but for some reason the team at Blue Sky Studios thought they’d be worth our time and money now.
Of course, this is just the filler between the main story… which is even worse than sitcom dialog. The “science fiction” plotline feels as if it was written by a second grader after their first semester of science. As a magnetic asteroid careens towards Earth, one character happens across a large stone obelisk, covered in ancient petroglyphs. This obelisk, or one tile in particular, tells the story of asteroids who hit the Earth, every 100 million years, in the exact same spot. The obelisk also reveals that when the asteroid hits, all life on earth is wiped out, begging the question of where the obelisk came from? A certain suspension of disbelief is critical during most films, especially a children’s cartoon. But when a form of entertainment go so far as this one down science farce in the guise of “SCIENCE!” it becomes insulting, and a disservice to impressionable minds. Too harsh? Consider this. Not only does Neil deGrasse Tyson appear as a character in the movie discussing their scientific plot involving ionized clouds and magnetic crystals, he also recorded a promotional short for the movie called ‘The cold hard facts in Ice Age:Collision Course.” Unfortunately he neglects to address the feasibility of shooting magnetic crystals out of a volcano in an effort to by divert a massive asteroid. (This movie makes “Armageddon” look like a college dissertation.)
— ICE AGE (@IceAge) July 18, 2016
What the first two got right, the rest exploited and abused, running this once enjoyable franchise into the ground. Save your money, stay home, and watch some old Wile E. Coyote shorts. They may not be in 3D, but they are funnier, have better dialog, and are more scientifically accurate!