This time around, in a sequel I'm not sure anyone really asked for, Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego (voiced by Denis Leary) and Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) are faced with a cataclysmic event: a giant meteor is on a collision course (get it?!) with Earth, knocked into its catastrophic trajectory in outer space (!) by squirrelly Scrat in what can only be described as a ludicrous plotline about an alien spacecraft. On the ground, our heroes race to find safety and a way to stop the impending impact, encountering all manner of annoying characters, old and new, along the way.
A subplot involving Manny's daughter Peaches (voiced by Keke Palmer) getting engaged to goofy, eager-to-please Julian (voiced by Adam Devine) is woven in as, presumably, a way to generate a hint of emotion in what is otherwise a flat, super-thin story that feels plagued by narrative ADD, constantly jumping from inconsequential vignette to vignette and character to character. The result? A film for which the only emotion I could muster was pity.
Gone are the charm, wit and heart of the first couple of movies, replaced instead with an obnoxious need to be "hip" and "current." Having prehistoric characters utter lines that include terms such as "hashtag!" or "profile picture" is not only weirdly out of place but lame, and the now-requisite dance number (which seems to crop up in every B-grade computer-animated film) that's included feels equally unnecessary. See also: creating a prehistoric version of Neil deGrasse Tyson (here named "Neil deBuck Weasel"). I groaned.
The filmmakers have the anthropomorphic creatures repeatedly trying to out-one-liner each other, but nothing zips or zings, and there's nary a catchphrase among them despite the screenwriters' obvious attempts to get one to stick. Worse, all the characters have become irritating or cheapened versions of their former selves (Sid, I'm looking at you) – only Julian retains an ounce of likeability, and it's a pretty small ounce.
I'm throwing a couple of slices the film's way because it does contain some really cool design work and visuals... but I give them begrudgingly. Otherwise, Ice Age: Collision Course is a disappointing entry in a series of films that should really end its run now.