STREAMING REVIEW: Ice Age sequel still fun, but franchise freshness thawing out

It’s been 20 years since the original Ice Age hit theatres and delighted parents and kids alike. Throughout the decades, it’s remained part of the pop culture zeitgeist, and has no spawned a sixth franchise film.

While there were undoubtedly things to enjoy in this continuation of the exploits of all our furry friends in the frozen tundra, it’s become clear Ice Age is getting a little long in the tooth.

It might be ripe for its Disney+ streaming release, while folks are either locked down or wary about where to go due to COVID-19, I can confidently say I wouldn’t have paid $15 to watch this one.

John C. Donkin – who got his start in the film industry as an Associate Producer on the original in the franchise – tries his hand with The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild as his directorial debut.

It’s a fun, mostly innocuous affair. Watching Ice Age 6 was familiar and a great way to pass time, but this iteration won’t tap into your nostalgia or passion for the original.

Unfortunately, while trying to differentiate itself, it forgets that the original cast of characters was the reason everything worked so well. Manfred, Sid, Diego, and Ellie are peripherally involved, and likely only to draw fans in.

This one focuses in weasels Crash and Eddie, and their mission to find a place and home of their own. When they link up with Buck Wild, a legendary weasel himself, they get into all kinds of hijinks.

But what bothered me the most? Legacy characters had wonderful voice actors, including Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Jon Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Josh Peck and Seann William Scott are all replaced. The only returning voice is Simon Pegg as Buck.

Sure, it’s a pretty standard animated movie, but it’s a bit of a downer for fans of the franchise, who will undoubtedly notice the changes in voice cast. Neither as funny or exuberant as the early films, it’s fine for a day spent on the couch.

But as a release spending its runtime mostly just skating by, it’s hardly a movie worthy of celebrating exactly 20 years since the original. That in itself is s a sign this franchise should be nearing extinction.

2/5 Stars

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