As a lifelong fan of the art of animation, and someone who spent a significant amount of time and money studying the artform, one of my biggest peeves in life is when someone says animation is just for children. I point to so many different titles that skew more to adults than kids with their themes and content, in the hopes that it might make that person realize that the art is not just relegated to the juvenile subset.
The latest entry in the popular franchise, the first release under the Walt Disney Company banner (the familiar castle title card opening into an Ice Age film was jarring in its own right), does not strive to be anything truly remarkable or change that view but rather, play to that key demographic of children, and for that it does a very good job. Kids don’t even need to view the previous Ice Age titles, as most of the backstory of the family of misfit prehistoric creatures is given at the beginning.
Despite the title, this film is very much about the possum brothers Crash and Eddie, who will be quoted by children viewers until the next film du jour debuts. Their antics, one liners, and dance moves might not appeal to the adult audiences, but kids will absolutely love them, and will likely replicate them around their living rooms for quite some time. The film follows them and their juvenile hijinx to The Lost World, home of Buckminster (or “Buck”), who we’ve previously met in other Ice Age fare. Simon Pegg returns as the character, and seems to be the only Cast Member reprising their role. While Crash and Eddie return in a prominent role, their original vocal talent, Seann William Scott and Josh Peck, did not return. Also noticeably different are the voices coming from Sid, Manny, and Diego, though this can be considered excusable as their roles aren’t as substantial this go-round. Plus, we know John Leguizamo (original voice of Sid the Sloth) may have been busy doing something “we don’t talk about.”
We are also introduced to new characters that delve into the backstory of Buck, including Zee, voiced by Justina Machado (Superstore, One Day at a Time), whose character brings a strong female presence to the film and while providing her own wackiness to the ensemble, keeps the boys in check. We’re also introduced to a brainy-villain who’s rivalry with Buck will also earn numerous kids quoting the banter between the two.
Parents watching with the kids will likely pick up on the family themes conveyed in the film, giving the green light to the youngsters to keep watching because despite the rambunctious humor throughout, the morals will still get into their heads, especially upon the countless repeat viewings that one screening will warrant for the kids. The animation is vivid enough to retain their attention and uses the medium to great effect, taking them to the prehistoric era yet again for another Ice Age adventure. No sequence in the film truly stands out as a signature moment of the artform, but again, they’re not trying to do that with this movie. This is a fun adventure that tells a charming story about a group of fun characters in a new chapter of another fun, well established universe. The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, while entertaining enough, likely won’t be a contender for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but it’s sure to garner at least a few Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award noms.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is now streaming on Disney+.