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The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild – Movie Review

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The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild – Movie Review

Rating: C- (Below Average)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Walt Disney Studios

The Ice Age series was able to impressively sustain five theatrical movies, albeit with varying levels of quality. Seeing it continue via a sixth movie, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, is a little surprising, but the powers that be clearly feel there remains an audience interest in seeing more of these prehistoric animals. Without the input of Blue Sky Studios, this movie does feel like something is missing and the focus on a couple of supporting characters doesn’t bring the freshness one would hope for. The experience is harmless enough, but it won’t exactly develop too many new Ice Age fans.

Director John C. Donkin, who previously served as a producer on some of the other Ice Age movies, is obviously familiar with the characters and the world they inhabit. Thus, it never feels like a betrayal of these animals and the concepts established in the earlier entries. The only odd omission comes from the lack of Scrat the Squirrel. A major scene-stealer, he doesn’t make a single appearance in Adventures of Buck Wild and his presence is missed. The main trio of Manny, Sid and Diego are also relegated to supporting roles, which are largely superfluous. However, credit should be given to Sid Kenin, who does a superb job of filling in for Ray Romano as the voice of Manny.

The primary focus of Adventures of Buck Wild is not the titular weasel, but rather the possum brothers Eddie and Crash. They served as amusing enough supporting characters in the theatrical films, but this larger role for them doesn’t do the job of fleshing them out. Their arc of trying to find themselves and prove their strength is a common one in animated movies and the writing doesn’t separate this film from the pack. Buck Wild provides some amusement, and it’s good to see Simon Pegg return, but his role primarily exists to provide exposition. The movie’s villain is an intelligent dinosaur named Orson, who won’t stop talking. His evil plot isn’t interesting and after a while, the character starts to grate on the nerves.

The film does attempt a few heartfelt moments, primarily when expanding on the relationship between Eddie and Crash and their adoptive mammoth sister Ellie. This portion even gets surprisingly heavy at one point and it almost makes one wish Ellie was in it more. The animation, provided by Bardel Entertainment, is passable with the animators attempting to recreate the look of the other Ice Age movies with a more limited budget. The backgrounds, depicting the frozen environments and lost dinosaur world, are the most eye-catching parts of the film.

As an attempt to extend the Ice Age franchise, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild does occasionally come across like a direct-to-video sequel. The writing and direction don’t have quite the snap and energy that the other movies were known for and it’s pitched towards a younger audience. The focus on other characters beyond the central protagonists the audience has grown to care about over the five previous films is a strange one, but the filmmakers do try their best to make us invest in Eddie and Crash and Buck Wild. Unfortunately, the story largely underwhelms and doesn’t deliver in making this an exciting or humorous escapade.

Stefan Ellison