Ice Age: Collision Course is the fifth installment of the series about pre-historic animal pals working together to survive natural disasters. This time the threat isn’t global climate change (boring!), but an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. Will the cuddly animals survive? That depends on whether you think a kids’ movie would end in a fiery apocalypse. Once again Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, and Denis Leary lend their voices, as well as Workaholic‘s Adam DeVine. Here’s what the critics are saying to help you decide whether you should go see it, or if natural selection will win out at the box office.
For Kids: The animation is probably the best of the series, and most critics think kids will be entertained enough. But don’t expect them to be wowed. “Young children will enjoy the helter-skelter action and animation but the charm has gone,” says Henry Fitzherbert of the Daily Express (UK). Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian advises you to just wait for it to land on Netflix, writing “This could provide some small-screen entertainment for bored kids on a rainy day. But really: Enough.” The animals in Ice Age didn’t make it out of the prehistoric era, and even as a kiddie flick, critics seem to think the series shouldn’t have made it out of the aughts.
For You: Pixar, this ain’t. These days, animated films have to work on multiple age levels and critics say Ice Age is no longer cutting it. “Yes, there’s visual spectacle, but the film is too predictable and mechanic. And not just adults will find it that way,” says Diego Battle of La Nacion (Argentina). Stephen Romei of The Australian praises the animation and says “there’s room for an interesting discussion with younger viewers if you know a bit about, well, the solar system,” but adds that “it’s light on jokes for the adult viewer and the plot is a bit thin.” Even one of the most positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes was kind of a neg. Eddie Harrison of The List writes, “Collision Course is a brisk, innocuous entry in a series that places silliness and colour before narrative drive, character or originality.”
Common Sense’s Take: Common Sense Media, the leading nonprofit source for helping parents make movie and TV choices for kids, gives Ice Age: Collision Course a solid mehhhhh, fine. They praise the teamwork theme and the “unconditional love/acceptance of the right ‘herd,’” but note that it’s no surprise things start to feel repetitive. They also caution parents of kids interested in space and prehistoric animals that the science in the film isn’t exactly sound. Yes, you might have to sit your kids down and tell them that sabertooth tigers sounded nothing like Denis Leary.
Bottom Line: Critics are bored by Collision Course and the formulaic plots of the Ice Age movies in general. But, at least 80 percent have also made an extinction joke in their review, so who is formulaic now? As Mike Zorilla writes for Blog de cine, Ice Age: Collision Course is “the lowest point of a franchise that wasn’t even that good to begin with.” In 2016, you and your kids can and should expect better from your animated features. If you really want to see Ray Romano be great in something terrible, go watch a few episodes of Vinyl.
Rating: PG (for mild rude humor and some action/peril)
Running Time: 100 minutes