When it comes to the fifth film in any franchise (I was sure it was the fourth, but apparently there was also one with pirates…?), it should be expected that a lot of the steam that drove the first instalments has been lost. This is unfortunately exactly what has happened with Ice Age: Collision Course, and the film tries to make up for that lack by filling it jam packed with characters and jokes in the vague hope that something will stick. It largely fails in this.
No longer alone in their herd, our oddly matched trio of friends who we have been with since the beginning – mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), saber tooth tiger Diego (Dennis Leary), and bumbling sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) – are now nicely settled down in the animal community. Diego is considering fatherhood with his partner, Shira (Jennifer Lopez), while Manny’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), is now all grown up and getting married to Julian (Adam Devine), who Manny does not approve of. Sid is the only of the three who has been unable to find a mate yet. Other members of the herd include Manny’s wife, Ellie (Queen Latifah), Ellie’s opossum ‘brothers’, Crash (Sean William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck), and Sid’s granny (Wanda Sykes). Manny and his family take up the majority of screen time, which is good as they have the most interesting (if predictable) plot line.
Aside from their respective mid-life crises, our heroes must also find a way to overcome Armageddon, as such dilemmas so often happen concurrently. A meteor is headed for Earth which will wipe out all signs of life unless the herd can figure out a way to detract it. They turn to an old friend, Buck (Simon Pegg) the weasel, for guidance, and come across some eccentric characters on their way. Given the direction the plot eventually takes, whether the world is going to end or not, it’s the end of logic and science as we know it.
The stakes are certainly higher than they’ve ever been, with previous crises of the franchise including, in order, the (titular) ice age, the thaw following the ice age, dinosaurs, and the break-up of Pangaea followed by abduction by pirates (this fourth instalment marked the weakest of all the films, including the present, to date). Fan favourite Scrat (voiced by the director for the first Ice Age, Chris Wedge) is back as the squirrel who just can’t keep a hold on his nut. On this occasion, Scrat has accidentally flown himself into space (the writers have apparently run out of ideas for Earth…). Sadly, the humour falls flat here too.
In any case, Ice Age: Collision Course will be an enjoyable watch for children and just about tolerable for adults. As a by the way, if your kids (or you) haven’t seen it yet, do check out the original. It has as much humour as it does heart and it’s still a classic in my eyes.