I'd call The Ice Age Advenures of Buck Wild a bottom-of-the-barrel family film, but the last few Ice Age sequels were bottom-of-the-barrel. This one is the sludge underneath the barrel. Disney bought 20th Century Fox and has been using its Disney+ streaming service to make low-rent sequels to some of that studio's biggest hits. Last year gave us the horrendous Home Sweet Home Alone and now we've got this one. Stars Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, and Queen Latifah opted not to return. Heck, even Scrat the squirrel isn't here. They were smart to flee, because everything about this sorry movie is just a cash-in.
The central figures this time are possum brothers Crash and Eddie. They decide to break out on their own, heading into the Lost World – a.k.a. the dinosaur-ridden world from a couple of the previous films – in search of adventure. There, they run into weasel Buck Wild (Simon Pegg, the only returning cast member). He draws them into a battle against a large-brained dino named Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar) who wants to eliminate all the mammals.
None of that matters, because The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild doesn't bother to tell a story. Running a scant 76 minutes minus end credits, the movie takes no time to explain Orson's motivation in any kind of significant detail. Instead, we're treated to a series of dull chase scenes and dumb, obvious jokes. There are gags about urination, characters getting crotch injuries, and flatulence. One of the siblings gets his rear end stuck to a stump, thanks to tree bark. Such is the level of humor here. The script is so lazy that it almost feels like it was written by a computer that had analyzed the worst animated features of the past twenty years.
Speaking of animation, Buck Wild looks terrible. Likely because it was tossed off for a streaming service, the animation is cheap and far less sophisticated than the animation in the previous theatrically-released Ice Age installments. Characters move in a jerky fashion, especially when they speak, and there isn't a lot of detail in the settings. Visually, this sequel is a huge step down for the franchise.
I loathe the cynicism that brought The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild into existence. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Disney only cared about extending the series because another sequel could drive fans to subscribe to Disney+. Making a good movie clearly was not a big concern. This whole thing reeks of having been slapped together to capitalize on the Ice Age name. So many quality family films exist, including the classics that are also streaming on the service. Why subject your kids to unimaginative, uninspired dreck? Just let them watch Encanto again.
out of four
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is rated PG for some action and mild language. The running time is 1 hour and 21 minutes.