By Liz López

Rating: B-

The first digital animation Ice Age film was released in 2002 and although I like the story and characters, it is hard to believe fourteen years later I walked into the theater for the fifth chapter in this franchise, Ice Age: Collision Course. There is comfort in knowing this group of mixed and matched animals are still together taking care of one another, no matter where their adventures lead them. The Ice Age: Collision Course film is co-directed by Mike Thurmeier, who also served as co-director for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Galen T. Chu joins him at the helm of this comedy.

Collision Course takes us into the cosmos at the start of the film, with Scrat (Chris Wedge), the saber-toothed squirrel, in his pursuit of the beloved acorn that lands in a control lever to a flying saucer. As we have seen before, his action creates a chain reaction, and in this case, eventually causing the inhabitants to face the coming end of the world. Luckily for the long term group of friends and family, Buck, a one-eyed British weasel returns from his adventures as he escapes from being eaten by winged creatures. He creates a plan to stop the gloom and doom. The screenplay is written by Michael Wilson, Michael Berg and Yoni Brenner, based on a story by Aubrey Solomon, and it is entertaining with good comedic lines (not throughout, but overall) and the voice cast is always phenomenal. Although it is hard to take this seriously, fans of the franchise don’t want to see the characters become extinct.

Buck (Pegg) joins the group of old friends from before, Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary), Shira (Jennifer Lopez), Manny the woolly mammoth (Ray Romano) and his wife, Ellie (Queen Latifah) and daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), who is now engaged to a mastodon, Julian, (Adam Devine). We can’t miss the toothless, scraggly-haired Granny sloth (voiced by Wanda Sykes). Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott and Josh Peck) are the skinny twin opossums who never fail to add their banter and we have a brief view of Sid’s ex-girlfriend, Francine (Melissa Rauch).

An interesting and humorous character is the spiritual leader of Geotopia, Shangri Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who loves yoga and being eternally young. Another humorous scene is when we “see” Buck thinking and an astronomer appears named Neil deBuck Weasel (Neil deGrasse Tyson). Carlos Ponce has a small part as Mariachi Beaver. Hmmm…. And co- director Thurmeier is also a voice actor for Gravedigger Beaver and Party Molehog. Among other voice talent is Max Greenfield, Jessie J, Nick Offerman, Stephanie Beatriz, Lilly Singh and Michael Strahan.

This is one to take the family to when you have had enough of the Texas summer heat. It has an MPAA rating of PG and has a running time of 100 minutes.

Source: 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox Animation

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