Ice Age: Collision Course Blu-ray Review

Frozen Solid

Ice Age persisted long enough for the lead to find a mate, marry the mate, the pair to have a child, to see her grow up, to see her date. Long series. Now the kid is nearing marriage, assuming an asteroid doesn’t wallop Earth first. Forget the natural timeline – Ice Age ruined that two or three movie ago. Collision Course shows the Milky Way’s planets weren’t in orbit yet.

Luckily, there’s Scrat, the screeching squirrel who, in other circumstances, would lose his luster. Yet, he still works, putting the universe in order by accident, channeling the best of Chuck Jones and Looney Tunes in doing so. Scrat wanders in space, causing havoc which, thankfully, carries impact on the core story. He’s no longer ancillary.

Earth-bound though, Ice Age drifts along. Despite overloaded star power, the series hits the wall where TV and theatrical animation blend together. Not in terms of the animation itself – money pumps through Ice Age in droves – but dialog and story events droop to sitcom level. Then there’s Buck (Simon Pegg), Scrat if Scrat ever spoke. Also, the example for why Scrat doesn’t talk.

Ice Age enters listless status, where finding a narrative proves bothersome…

It’s into the second act before Collision Course finds a plot, wandering through stagnant domestic issues concerning mammoths and sloths, the occasional poke from Wanda Sykes’ wonderful Granny the only highlight. Otherwise, Ice Age enters listless status, where a junk food narrative slips in and an adventure sprouts free. If there’s urgency, thank some carnivorous dinosaur birds. Outside of selling toys, their purpose wanes, though they add some villainy – as if the titanic asteroid barrelling toward Earth didn’t do so already.

At this stage, Ice Age nears Land Before Time syndrome, where so many sequels drift into production, keeping them in order proves difficult. In terms of resolution, nothing in Collision Course propels the minimal story. Some paternal issues and a wedding mildly add some charm, if familiar to anyone who dives into network sitcoms. Pleasing color in the back half becomes a bright spot. It’s getting harder to sit through these however.

Ice Age: Collision Course Blu-ray screen shot 19

Video

Some 14 years of technical growth help Collision Course one-up its ancestors. Looking back at footage of the first Ice Age, that movie looks like a modern animatic. Against other theatrical animation, Collision Course lags a bit. Fur and simpler backgrounds leave Blue Sky’s work a bit pale. The studio works best when creative – e.g., The Peanuts Movie.

When the time comes though, it’s clear where Collision Course put its money. Inside of a stunning asteroid cave, filled with various gemstones, the visual scope explodes. Stunning color, some of the best of any animated offering on the format, spreads into the 2.35:1 frame. Purples, blues, greens; they form an incredible collection of vibrant hues.

In the lead-up to those interiors, the sky becomes awash in orange, reds, and pinks, visually setting the asteroid’s closeness. Intense colors? The space rock is near. With the ice age sort of gone (maybe?), forest greens slip in and rocks become visible. Variety takes the series away from being bathed in white. Even if the core animation lags, the increasing color visibility helps.

Audio

Passive but effective, Collision Course won’t use most of its DTS-HD 7.1 mix. A lot happens in the front soundstage, with voices darting into the stereos whenever characters turn off-screen. Inside caves, echoes nicely fill space.

Action is unusually quiet, even for an animated offering. Even bumping up the volume didn’t bring much. Bass typically lacks until blowing up in the finale. The nearing asteroid and volcano eruption rocks the LFE, the only real instance of force. Falling rocks do add to the soundfield, spreading or passing through to create an enveloping soundstage. Some crackling electricity does the same.

Extras

The Story So Far recaps each movie in order over 13-minutes, arguably more interesting for showing the progression of animation than Ice Age’s narrative. All of Scrat’s scenes edit together to form Spaced Out, followed by a “Scratasia” version of his adventures. Two story recaps follow in Star Signs of the Animal Kingdom and Mysteries of the Scratazos. Neil DeGrasse Tyson shows up to explore the wonky science used in the movie via The Science of It All. A sing-a-long and gallery round this disc off.

Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process. Patreon supporters were able to access these screens early, view them as .pngs, and gain access to exclusives.