Alright, why does this movie exist? Seriously, why does Ice Age: The Adventures of Buck Wild exist? Was anyone clamoring for a new Ice Age movie? Did we really need the sixth installment of a franchise that barely anyone remembers or even cares about? The more I sat watching this movie, a movie that stars two comic relief characters from the second movie and a supporting character from the third, the more it confirmed that there was no reason for this film to be made. None of the original cast, besides Simon Pegg, have returned. Even Disney doesn’t seem interested, going straight to Disney+, not even deeming it worthy of a theatrical release.
Now, none of that bodes well for Ice Age: The Adventures of Buck Wild. And I stared in silence at my screen trying to play devil’s advocate, straining to think of another franchise where this happened, but it eventually turned out for the better. I strained and strained and strained and strained until I could strain no more. There was no positive spin I could make about this movie. It was worthless from beginning to end. Sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade.
Ice Age: The Adventures of Buck Wild
Director: John C. Donkin
Release Date: January 28, 2022 (Disney+)
The film begins with a light recap of the first Ice Age film and brief mentions of the later sequels. The intro establishes that this is a series about found family, which is kind of undermined by our main characters, Crash and Eddie (Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris respectively), wanting to break away from that found family and make it for themselves. They go off and meet their old friend Buck Wild (Simon Pegg), but accidentally get involved in a rivalry between him and a super-intelligent dinosaur named Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar).
There’s really not much of a plot besides that. The stakes are incredibly low, which is fitting for a film that feels like a pilot for a spin-off TV series. Crash and Eddie don’t really have any defining character traits besides being small and hyper, so giving us an entire movie about them can get really old, really quick. They’re not insufferably annoying, like most comic relief characters in these types of movies, but they lack any charm to make them likable. Buck manages to be more enjoyable, but that’s almost entirely due to Pegg’s performance over any of the written jokes.
The best I can say about the jokes is that they’re present. There are attempts at humor that are made. Do any of them land? Not really, no. An example would be when Pegg is trying to describe the backstory of Orson. During it, Crash and Eddie weren’t paying attention for a bit, so the film rewinds and plays the exact same narration and visuals to catch them up. After consulting a panel of trained judges and conducting extensive scientific research, we here at Flixist can confirm that, yes, that was an attempt at humor. It was cold, calculated humor that I don’t think anyone found funny, but you can’t say the movie didn’t try.
But a part of me doesn’t even want to give the movie that much. It barely runs over 80 minutes and is so lifeless and apathetic that it plods along to its conclusion. It’s like no one wanted this movie to be made. They’ve done the bare essentials to make Ice Age: The Adventures of Buck Wild qualify as a feature film. The visuals in particular are a sticking point since they’re not even as good as the 2002 original. Sure, those visuals have aged like milk, but at least the textures and character models don’t make me feel like they’re going to clip through the world.
Honestly, the most fascinating thing about this movie is its director, John C Donkin. From what I can gather, he’s the only person on board this production who has had a hand in every installment of the franchise. He’s been the producer for the original five films and transitioned into the role of director here. For the record, this film is his only directorial credit ever, so my headcanon is that Disney was going to can the franchise after the Fox buyout, but Donkin was so attached to the series he gave a desperate plea to keep it going, offering himself up as a director to keep his beloved series alive. Disney relented, but only offered him a meager budget and a Disney+ release, which he gracefully accepted.
I mean, admirable sentiment if it was true, but it still gave us a movie that feels limper than week-old spaghetti. Also, the majority of the writers for this film came from Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get A Clue which is consistently regarded as the worst Scooby-Doo series. Just thought you should know.
Look, I got nothing here. It’s not often I run on fumes for a review, but this is as bland, boring, and dull of a movie I can think of. It’s not bad in any way that’s fun, but it doesn’t even feel bad. It feels kind of sad, a movie that no one wants, shuffled onto a platform that begrudgingly accepts it, only to die alone and starved in a back alley somewhere. Ice Age: The Adventures of Buck Wild has no reason to exist and no one wanted it to exist. This was watching a franchise die before my eyes, and all I can feel is emptiness and apathy.
So long, Ice Age. I… think you’ll be missed?