Director: John C. Donkin
Writers: Jim Hecht, William Schifrin, and Ray DeLaurentis
Starring: Simon Pegg, Vincent Tong, Aaron Harris, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Justina Machado
It’s been twenty years since the original Ice Age was first released, an absolute classic in its own right, with a legacy that has been tarnished by a string of poor to awful sequels. Now with the franchise owned by Disney, there’s a new film available on Disney Plus, focusing on one of the better characters from the lacklustre sequels, Buck Wild (voiced by Simon Pegg). Sadly, this new instalment only further proves that this franchise should have been left well alone after the first film.
Even though this film is named after Buck Wild, with Simon Pegg being the only returning voice actor, he’s not in the film as much as you’d expect. It starts with a recap of what’s happened to the main characters in the series so far, focusing on Sid, Manny, Diego, and Ellie. As well as Crash and Eddie, who want to gain some independence from the herd and end up back in the Lost World and part of Buck Wild’s adventure. The extended opening seems on there to pad out the run time, which is barely one hour and twenty minutes – less without the end credits. It’s more the adventures of Crash and Eddie featuring Buck Wild.
It’s the opening sequence, with all the main characters, that makes this film really feel like one of those straight-to-video Disney sequels that were released in the 90s and early 2000s. The ones that I’d watch as a child because of my favourite characters, and kind-of knew were rubbish. This is what this feels like, which is made even worse by the recasting of almost everyone, the new voice actors don’t capture the characters in the same way and just come off as bad imitations. Maybe that won’t be noticed by children, but for people who’ve grown up with this series it’s hard to listen to.
Maybe you can look past the voice actors. After the opening it’s mainly just Buck Wild, Crash and Eddie. What really makes this awful is purely down to just how unfunny it is. There are tons of jokes, and absolutely none of them are funny. There’s enough in here for children to enjoy, but it doesn’t work as a family film, like the original did. The story is mildly entertaining as it is, and the animation is passable, but there’s nothing here that will leave an impression.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild works on paper, but any hope that a spin-off will breathe new life into the franchise are quickly frozen. The new voice actors aren’t as good as the originals, there’s no funny bits at all, and it just feels like a soulless cash-in left over from Fox, that’s only been allowed to survive to pad out Disney Plus’s library. There are plenty of other things on the platform that are worth your time.
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