If you’re like me, you may have missed Ice Age: Collision Course when it breezed through theaters earlier this year. Surprisingly, it’s the fifth entry in the series, which has seen the same pack of friends outlast primitive man, melting glaciers, dinosaurs, shifting landmasses, and pirate monkeys. Like any franchise with five films, it’s had its ups and downs, but where does the latest installment land?
I should begin with a full disclosure: my kids really enjoyed the first film. Which, if we’re being honest, was a touching story about the meaning of family that had some honestly hilarious moments. It’s a really good movie. I have no memory of the sequel, The Meltdown. My kids love the third film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, so I’ve seen it a few times. And we’ve never even seen the fourth one, Continental Drift.
And, like I said, I don’t even think I realized there was a fifth movie earlier this year. So when the Blu-ray of Collision Course arrived for review, I popped it in the player with no expectations at all.
Let’s be clear: the Ice Age movies have never been concerned about scientific or historical accuracy. If they wanted dinosaurs during the Ice Age, they found a way to make them work in the story. So shut off the rational part of your brain before you hit play. In Collision Course, a gigantic meteor is on a… collision course for Earth, and it’s up to a mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, and sloth to stop it. Really, that should be enough to convince you that logic has no place here. Because if that’s not enough, Scrat—everyone’s favorite acorn-obsessed squirrel—ends up on a spaceship and is the one who sets all of the events in motion.
I’m not going to walk you through the plot (that’s what Wikipedia is for) or focus on the negative aspects of the movie (that’s what Rotten Tomatoes is for). Instead, I’ll share the surprise of this movie: that having no expectations at all freed me up to find some genuinely great things about Collision Course.
- The voice cast. I may not be the biggest fan of Ray Romano, but this franchise has managed to keep the same actors in every role for five feature films and numerous shorts for more than 14 years. That’s impressive. And the actors have become those characters. In short, no one else could be Sid the sloth except John Leguizamo.
- Simon Pegg is back as Buck. If you saw Dawn of the Dinosaurs, you probably remember Buck (“short for Buckminster, long for Buh”), the slightly insane weasel who stole that movie. He’s back in a big way for this movie and basically saves the planet. And Simon Pegg is amazing in the role.
- Nick Offerman as an antagonistic dromaeosaur who believes he can survive the meteor by flying above it all. Really, I shouldn’t have to say any more than that.
- A poignant and sentimental message about fatherhood without hitting you over the head. Peaches the mammoth is all grown up in this film and is about to be married. Manny (Ray Romano) is having a hard time accepting that fact and cannot bring himself to cut the cord. I mean, it’s not Atticus and Scout, but it’s still a nice conclusion (presumably) to their story.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson provides a bit of narration, appears as the amazingly awesome Neil deBuck Weasel, and gets the best one-liner of the movie. He also debunks some of the “science” from the film in a Blu-ray extra worth the price of admission alone.
The film is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD. It comes with a nice selection of special features, including a few shorts starring Scrat, the aforementioned featurette with Neil deGrasse Tyson, a “story so far” short that recaps the first four films, and a tongue-in-cheek “documentary” with some of the creators about the “mysteries of the Scratazons.”