Scrat’s (Chris Wedge) epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid (John Leguizamo), Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.
I will admit that I haven’t seen all of the past Ice Age films because when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I guess you can chalk this one down to completionism. I didn’t quite believe that this is the fourth film in a series which started 14 years ago. I don’t even remember ever hearing about the middle two films. Whether or not this new film is necessary, I can’t speak to it after not seeing the previous two films but in a world with Pixar, Walt Disney Animations Studios, and others, it’s getting even harder to fit in.
Probably the best part of the Ice Age series is a large-toothed squirrel named Scrat (Wedge), with his crazy antics that have entertained children for the last 14 years. This is still the case here with the film’s opening sequence devoted to Scrat and his journey to protect his acorn. This journey takes him in space, for some reason, which has mostly been shown in the film’s various trailers. Sure it can induce smiles but it’s getting old. These antics are what leads to the events of the film.
This could be due to not watching the previous two films but there were definitely some things that happened in those two films which have carried over into this one. Manny’s (Romano) daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) is about to marry another mammoth named Julian (Adam Devine). The problem for Manny and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) was that Peaches wanted to leave her parents with Julian to go exploring. This worried them as they preferred that they stay with them since they weren’t quite ready to let go. Manny was not a fan of Julian and did not want Peaches to marry him.
This family drama got interrupted, however, once they are hit with a meteor shower which completely destroyed their home. Soon after, they learn from a one-eyed weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg) of a prophecy involving a large asteroid that is heading straight for them, threatening to make them extinct. Alongside Buck, Manny, Sid (Leguizamo), Diego (Leary), and the others must try to derail the prophecy to ensure their survival.
Of course they met a bunch of silly characters along the way but they didn’t really add anything to the plot. They were a means to an end which was stopping the asteroid. Some younger children may find them funny but a lot of the humor felt cheesy and outdated. The film just felt like it had too many characters with many getting barely any screen time. The script seemed like things were thrown in for the sake of throwing things in. The biggest example of this is a family of dino-birds who were supposedly bad guys but they weren’t even threatening and served no purpose. None of the characters here were very interesting and were rather dull with the exception of Buck who provided all of the best moments of the film.
It was just hard to ever get engaged with the plot because of its dated nature. Everything about it has been done to death before many times in many films. The film tried to teach a lesson about change, about moving on and letting go but it kind of got lost in the whole asteroid subplot and all the silliness. The problem was that the majority of the silly stuff wasn’t funny and like the useless extra characters, felt forced and contrived. It wouldn’t exactly be fair to say the voice acting was bad because it’s only as good as the script which wasn’t good. You sometimes can’t help but to ask why would all these actors agree to sign on for this since everything about this screams phoning it in.
Overall, this is just another unnecessary and outdated animated film with good animation but most animated films today do