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Ice Age: Collision Course

by DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette | July 22, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.
(From left) Sid (voice of John Leguizamo), Ellie (Queen Latifah), Manny (Ray Romano), Julian (Adam Devine), Peaches (Keke Palmer), Diego (Denis Leary) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) embark on an epic quest.

Despite its frosty setting, the first Ice Age warmed viewers' hearts back in 2002. Now the animated critters from the first movie succeed in making the audience's eyelids feel heavy in Ice Age: Collision Course.

After three sequels and a host of video games and TV specials, it may be time for Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the Sabertoothed Tiger (Denis Leary) to adapt or take a break until the folks at Blue Sky animation can find something entertaining for them to do.

Ice Age:

Collision Course

76 Cast: (voices of) Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Devine, Keke Palmer, Jessie J, Nick Offerman, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Directors: Mike Thurmeier and Galen T. Chu

Rating: PG, for mild rude humor and some action/peril

Running time: 94 minutes

At this point, watching Scrat the Sabertoothed Squirrel (series creator Chris Wedge) trying to catch and eat an acorn is tiresome because it's easy to wonder how he has managed to survive for the last 14 years. Yes, he's a cartoon character, but one wonders why natural selection hasn't saved him and viewers from further humiliation.

It seems like an act of desperation to have Scrat stumble into an abandoned spaceship in his quest for more food. In the process, he scampers across the controls causing the planets in the solar system to reach their current alignment. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, in a series of increasingly dull cameos, explains how Scrat's fumbles have caused heaven and Earth to reach their current shape. Tyson is so much more fun when he's talking about the real universe instead of the one in the film.

On the ground, Manny and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are getting ready to say goodbye to their daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) because she's marrying a young mammoth named Julian (Adam Devine).

Simply following the mammoths trying to deal with empty nest issues might have made for a decent film. Instead, screenwriters Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg and Yoni Brenner pile on enough new characters and subplots to fill the Grand Canyon, but none are developed enough to register more than a short yawn.

The animals have to leave their current habitat because Scrat's planet hopping has sent an asteroid to Earth, which might lead to total extinction. Because the animals have wandered for a new home before, there's no sense of urgency or even fun.

A lot of familiar-sounding actors pick up some pocket change voicing characters who don't really give them much room to work. Because all of us have bills, maybe it's churlish to criticize them, but the filmmakers could have made an effort to get more from the likes of Nick Offerman. His deep drawl is squandered on a dinosaur who doesn't fit the time period or the plot.

Simon Pegg at least makes an impression as a roguish weasel (is there any other kind?) who thinks he has found the path to salvation. It's too bad that path is full of pretty but distracting scenery. Then again, what's in the foreground is underdeveloped.

It's also curious that the filmmakers have felt it essential for Sid to finally find a mate (singer Jessie J). The romance isn't that involved, and it's hard to think there were that many people demanding Sid get a love life. Except maybe toy companies.

MovieStyle on 07/22/2016

Print Headline: Ice Age: Collision Course

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