Away from the consistent stream of remarkable family features released on a yearly basis by the likes of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, Blue Sky Studios are steadily getting on with things, and their flagship franchise Ice Age is now presenting its fifth feature film. In a competitive market it’s a testament to Manny, Sid, Diego and co. that there’s still a demand for these endeavours, and when settling in to see Ice Age: Collision Course, you can completely understand why. It’s like the Fast & Furious movies, but for kids.
During one of Scrat’s tireless pursuits of that elusive acorn, he accidentally stumbles across a spaceship, stuck within a block of ice. With a determination that knows no bounds, the squirrel somehow manages to power up the system and fly the UFO out into space, where he causes quite a stir – resulting in a powerful meteor being formed, and one that is heading directly to Earth. Blissfully unaware of what’s on the horizon, Sid (John Leguizamo) is concerned about getting a new girlfriend, while Diego (Denis Leary) is contemplating starting a family. For Manny (Ray Romano), however, it’s his family that are causing him problems, for his daughter is soon to be wed, and needless to say he’s not happy about it. However when Buck (Simon Pegg) informs the collective of the meteor that is heading in their direction, their principle concern becomes that of their survival.
Returning filmmaker Mike Thurmeier is joined by Galen T. Chu, injecting new life into the franchise while remaining affectionately in line with the preceding productions. What continues to keep things fresh are the interludes featuring Scrat; breaking up the narrative well, like a collection of short, silent movies, inspired by the likes of Tom and Jerry. It’s partly why this franchise still has so much life, for slapstick entertainment of this nature is timeless. It’s complimented well by a narrative that dips into human themes too, mostly evident in Manny’s sub-plot concerning his daughter’s forthcoming marriage. It’s something that many fathers go through, particularly with daughters, having to come to terms with the fact their little baby is all grown up. Now when she seeks advice and comfort, it’s not her father she will instantly call upon. This is explored, and handled, with a deft execution.
Ice Age films continue to adhere to their loyal fan base without contrivance, and have matured with them. Borrowing from the sci-fi genre in this instance, this should ensure that Ice Age: Collision Course appeals to those who have grown up with this series of film – now in their teenage years – while at the same time maintaining that playful sense of irreverence that will tap into the hearts and imaginations of a whole new collection of fans.