In article about Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, a surprised close-up of Disney's Ice Age Buck.
Image via Google Images

‘The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild’ Hastens Extinction for the ‘Ice Age’ Franchise

Disney’s most recent addition to the series underwent an overhaul, starting with its cast members. Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason the movie flops.

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In article about Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, a surprised close-up of Disney's Ice Age Buck.
Image via Google Images

Disney’s most recent addition to the series underwent an overhaul, starting with its cast members. Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason the movie flops.

“The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild,” Disney’s newest addition to the franchise, catches up with the misfit herd of mammals as possum brothers Crash, voiced by Vincent Tong, and Eddie, voiced by Aaron Harris, decide to venture out on their own.

Finding themselves back under the ice by accident, they find their way back to the Lost World, joining forces with Buckminster — Simon Pegg — and new heroine Zee — Justina Machado — to save the dinosaur underground from a big-brained megalomaniac named Orson, whose voice is provided by Utkarsh Ambudkar. The film, like “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” is directed by John C. Donkin.

The film is available through Disney’s streaming extension, Disney+, and brings the latest chapter of “Ice Age” to life 20 years after Blue Sky Studios released their now-iconic original film. Unfortunately, fans of the early film’s voice actors won’t hear them in the newest movie’s 90-minute runtime. While this may bring younger viewers into the fold, it loses some of its value for older generations.

The only original voice actor that reprises his role for the film is Simon Pegg. Out of all the other characters’ new voices, the biggest change is Sid, who is now voiced by Jake Green in place of John Leguizamo. The unfortunate change in voice actors only adds to the narrative discrepancies, assuming the movie is meant to coincide with the other five.

The events of “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “Ice Age: Collision Course” are vaguely referenced at the beginning of the movie. But key moments and characters — such as Sid’s Granny and girlfriend, as well as Manny and Ellie’s daughter, Peaches — are nonexistent within the movie. This could be due to the low budget or the absence of the original voice actors; however, it still creates a large hole in much of the plot and the characters’ growth over the series.

There are other plot inconsistencies, such as the existence of another entrance to the Lost World when the original entrance was said to have been the only one and was destroyed to keep the two worlds separate. The plot is messy from the beginning of the movie, as we dive deeper into the life of Ellie, Crash and Eddie as siblings raised in the possum lifestyle.

While “The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild” uses this as the rationale for Ellie’s protectiveness of her possum brothers, it adds little to no value to the overall franchise or the film itself. Anyone familiar with the movies is well aware of the fact that Ellie deeply cares for Crash and Eddie and has protected them since the second movie, “Ice Age: The Meltdown.”

Taking a step back from the plot and characters, the animation seems to have reverted to a style reminiscent of the early 2000s. The textures, movements and graphics of the herd resemble that of “Ice Age,” made when animation capabilities, such as fine hair detailing, were much less developed. Technology has come a long way in the last 20 years, and this advancement can be seen most in the four films following the original.

Completing the list of criteria for a 2000s movie throwback is an out-of-place song about midway through. For reference, movies like “Shark Tale” and “Shrek” — as well as the original “Ice Age” — featured a defining song that fit each move thematically or tonally. “Shark Tale” has “Car Wash” performed by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott; the “Shrek” soundtrack contained Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” which is perhaps the most memorable song from early 2000s film. Ultimately, these songs had some meaning in the context of the film. “Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild,” however, tosses in “Bad Boy” by Yung Bae during a scene where Crash and Eddie picture themselves living successfully on their own. Unfortunately, the song (edited to be family-friendly) does not fit into the scene, or even the movie, in an organic way. It sticks out like an uncomfortable sore thumb.

Metascore as well as IMDB ratings reflect the poor quality of the sixth installment of the “Ice Age” franchise. A staggering 31 point decrease in Metascore from 20 years ago is all “Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild” has to show for its arrival. It may be notable to point out that the only other movie to sink to nearly the same score was “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” at 60%. Even IMDB’s ratings place “Ice Age” at a 7.5 out of 10. The possum brothers could not scrape up even a solid five, sitting at a 4.8 out of 10. It may be hard to beat an original movie, but at least the four right after improved upon it.

Bringing previously loved characters to a new generation is a wonderful idea. Under Disney, this had the chance to evolve further. The sad news remains, though, that the franchise faces extinction with its lackluster sixth movie. Without the original cast, the animation quality and important plot pieces, “Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild” takes on the feeling of a poorly done reboot. After all, a six-year hiatus from the silver screen is enough time to reconsider whether to bring back a movie that had plenty of screen time in 20 years.

The evolution of the plot and the characters would have been a step in the right direction. A film based on the offspring of the original herd would have been interesting and a good way to reintroduce the franchise. Had Disney looked at how the continuity worked in the other five movies, there might have been more to this film. It might have been worth watching. “Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild” does not carry the same weight as its predecessors, but it does carry the weight of an asteroid ready to wipe this 20-year-old franchise out.

Writer Profile

Rebecca Trevathan

University of Texas at Austin
Journalism

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