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There is little to no expectations that precede the screening of Ice Age: Collision Course.The fifth out for the folks at 20th Century Fox has the feeling of a money grab and lacks any conceptual originality, there seems to be little hope for this outing of the pre-historic friends.
In 2002, we were introduced to Scrat and the oddball trio of Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo). The original Ice Age garnered subsequent sequels that have gone on to $2.8 billion worldwide, which means that the Blue Sky Studio will do all that they can to keep the franchise from going extinct. The team has traveled through the Ice Age, the meltdown, the land of dinosaurs and sailed the high seas with the inclusion of a multitude of new characters. So, where do the writers decide to take this chapter of theses unique mammals? Naturally, outer space and into the world of Shangri-La.
As Scrat continues to search after the ideal place to hide his acorn, his attempt yields him to an interplanetary option. The proverbial hole that he falls into gives him the ability to power a space ship that inexplicably is buried on Earth, but in the process of retrieving the acorn he is shot into space. In the process he sets things into motion for the configuration of the universe and begins an asteroid shower that threatens the very existence of Earth. The blended family of mammoths, possums, and other species must figure out how to survive the meteor shower and possibly divert the life ending projectile. In the process they come in contact with the Utopian world that may assist in this process, if everyone involved is willing to sacrifice and work together to save the world.
The original world of Ice Age was comical and plausible, which made this cast of characters endearing and fun. In this latest instalment, it has moved into the mundane and absurd. The production team at Blue Sky have taken the initial formula for this franchise and have bled it dry. Whenever the alien element is introduced (just look at the last Indiana Jones outing), it is evident that the writers have come to the end of their creativity. All of the elements that have brought audiences along for the past decade are now mere memories of a bygone era.
Ice Age: Collision Course is a glaring example of not understanding the franchise’s audience and attempting to be too philosophical for this genre. To the first misstep, the children in the audience for this screening were disinterested in what was happening on the screen. The humor did not garner a chuckle for the little ones or from their carers. Even though this is a film for children, the writers seemed to be going after some deep philosophical issues, like origin of the world and the cosmos that did not work on a multitude of levels. What has been played out in a humorous manner in previous films came off as a condescending biology lesson in Collision Course. Not only did it lack any comedic elements, but it was poorly handled on a scientific and philosophical level.
The hope would be that Scrat and company would be allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs after this poorly executed evolutionary edition. For the sake of the children and their parents, please put this franchise to rest.
Kids Korner: The children in the audience seemed bored and disengaged throughout the screening. As a parent, it came off as insulting and lacked the magic of the original.