Thursday 30 June 2016

Review: Ice Age - Collision Course

Ice Age: Collision Course (3D)
Cert: U / 94 mins / Dir. Mike Thurmeier & Galen T. Chu / Trailer

For some reason, it wasn't until I sat tonight trying to audibly identify the narrator of Ice Age: Collision Course's opening segment, that I realised how much cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson sounds like Seth Rogen. Either would have been a welcome vocal addition to the animated comedy-adventure, but that fact that it's Tyson is definitely cooler.

Yes, everyone's favourite Mammoth-entourage is back*1, and trying to save the earth from an existence-threatening meteor shower (inadvertently caused, in this case, by Scrat the accident-prone sabre-toothed squirrel). The adventure builds gently onto its four predecessors, meaning that while there's a sense of character continuity, this will also be fine as a first or standalone entry for younger viewers. It's fairly amusing, it's fairly charming and the U certificate means it holds no real challenges.

Sadly, this also means that the film doesn't try to work very hard in meeting those 'no real challenges'. There's some fantastic animation and slapstick trying their hardest to prop up an incredibly mediocre screenplay (basically The Croods). In fact truth be told, the silent-comedy segments with Scrat are arguably more inventive and fun than the rest of the film put together. It's a shame that these reels are so few and far apart in the film, really.

The voice-cast is a mixed bag, too, with stalwarts Ray Romano and Denis Leary sounding thoroughly bored with delivering their dialogue, while Simon Pegg, Adam Devine and Jessie J overact to the point of irritation.

At a clock-punching 94 minutes, it feels like damning with faint praise to call a film "inoffensive", especially one of this kind, but that's really the best way to describe it. Collision Course is sweet-natured enough but there's not going to be a great deal there for anyone who's not in the young target-audience demographic (and when you consider that fans of the original 2002 movie will now be in their late-teens, it's odd that there's little to appeal to their nostalgia).

While it's certainly admirable that Ice Age is the first animated franchise to reach five theatrical installments, it kinda feels like this should have been a straight-to-video release…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Well, the other Ice Age films, to be fair.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Only if you've got padawans who simply can't wait.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Not with any particular flair or enthusiasm, no.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: As mentioned above, this movie's got voicework by Simon 'Dengar/Unkar' Pegg in it.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And you'd think there's be a little more excitement, frankly. There were twenty-five people in the exclusive advance-screening tonight. That's a lower head-count than last week's Independence Day double bill (just), but higher than the X-Men triple. Either way, twenty-five isn't particularly encouraging for the newest installment of an established international franchise. Although it was a 7pm on a weeknight. Although regular preview-showings aren't usually of this genre, there's no getting away from the fact that Collision Course is a kids' movie, through and through. While the Unlimited Card is available to children, film-ratings mean it's not going to be quite the same value for money (ie monthly-cost vs film-count) as the adults get, so you see far fewer of them on nights like this. Maybe this preview should have been run last Sunday afternoon and allowed paying customers to accompany card-holders? I only say this because one of my esteemed colleagues skipped tonight's showing so that he can see the movie with his son when it opens. Which is entirely understandable.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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