Monday, July 18, 2016

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE

Voices of:  Ray Romano   Queen Latifah   Keke Palmer   Adam Devine   John Leguizamo  

Denis Leary   Simon Pegg   Jennifer Lopez   Wanda Sykes   Neil DeGrasse Tyson


          This is the seventh in a series of Ice Age films, and is largely empty animation and special effects without much of a story.  My interest was piqued when I saw that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was going to be one of the voices in the film, in hopes that it would have some educational value; but alas, it is a hodge-podge of story lines with tired themes like broken hearts, forgetting an anniversary, and a father reluctant to let his daughter grow up and forge her own path.  There was only one scene that went against stereotype, and that was the father-daughter (it’s usually a son) competition on an ice hockey rink.  Manny (Romano) is certain he can best his daughter Peaches (Palmer) handily—and tries to make out like he actually did, but she is the clear winner.
        A bit of novelty is seen in the efforts to avert a killer meteor coming to destroy the animals’ home, and Tyson as Neil deBuck Weasel (I like the play on his name) explains in scientific terms how to use magnetic forces to throw it off course.  It’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t expand this sequence and make it the heart of the movie instead of silly love stories. 
       As in all the Ice Age films I have seen, the squirrel creature Scrat (Chris Wedge) appears in the beginning and reappears periodically hugging and chasing his acorn, swarming all around space to introduce and supplement the animation and special effects.  Next we hear about the mammoth family [Manny, Ellie (Queen Latifah), and Peaches] and get the update that Peaches is engaged to Julian (Devine), who is eager to join the family and impress the reluctant Manny.  They’re friends with lions Diego (Leary) and Shira (Lopez), who are wanting to be parents. 
      There is a digression to a yoga fitness community, Geotopia, where Shangri Lama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) is in charge and where Granny (Sykes) is discovered to be enjoying yoga and massages. 
        But Sid (Leguizamo) as the local scientist is giving fair warning that a meteor that will obliterate them is coming.  After Neil deBuck Weasel instructs them about what they need to do, the animals band together to avert the strike.
        Not much of anything is new and fresh in this production, which should be a message to the writers (Michael J. Wilson, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner), directors Galen T. Chu and Mike Thurmeier, and producer Lori Forte to hang up the franchise.

Uninspired 7th iteration of the Ice Age franchise.

Grade:  D-                                    By Donna R. Copeland

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