REVIEW: ‘The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild’ Keeps the Franchise Fresh

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The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild - But Why Tho

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is a Disney+ Original animated movie, the sixth in the Ice Age franchise from 20th Century Animation. Crash (Vincent Tong) and Eddie (Aaron Harris), two possum twins, are starting to feel like they’re living too much under the weight of their mammoth sister, Ellie (Dominique Jennings). They want to be free and independent. Ellie, Manny (Sean Kenin), and the rest of the herd don’t exactly think Crash and Eddie are ready to strike it out on their own, but they sneak off anyway, chasing the dream of living a life of adventure like their hero Buck Wild (Simon Pegg).

It’s a children’s movie, sure, but The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is a surprisingly and impressively well-layered story. There’s the first plot, Crash and Eddie’s drive for independence and their family’s reluctance to let them grow up and fail or succeed on there own. And then there’s the concurrent plot, where the twins find themselves in The Lost World where dinosaurs and mammals live together and a mean one, Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar) is attempting to subjugate all of its denizens.

The former does a really great job of showing both sides of the argument for Crash and Eddie’s independence. It’s clear they deserve the chance to live their own lives, but the movie puts equal emphasis on the fact that rejecting your family isn’t the solution. They can learn to rely on one another while also living their own lives. Ultimately, showing that independence and leaning on family for support don’t have to be a zero-sum game. You can have both.

In the Lost World plot, there’s a really strong allegory for the divisive nature of our political and cultural times. Orson wants to divide the dinos and the mammals,  for no real reason besides him being petty. The movie actually goes out of its way to show Buck and Zee (Justina Machado), one of Buck’s one-time partners, attempt to befriend Orson and bring him into their fold. He rejects this on account of being stubborn, selfish, and thinking himself superior to everyone else. He even goes as far as to seal off The Lost World from the rest of the world because he so believes that mammals don’t belong among the dinosaurs. It’s an apt and timely allegory, and frankly, the fact that the only way to put a stop to Orson’s tyranny is to team up,  turn his supporters against him, and violently overthrow him feels equally fitting.

It’s a kids’ movie, so it’s filled with its fair share of slapstick comedy and corny jokes. They’re generally harmless, but one that did bother me was Crash and Buck’s refusal to call Zee by her name or correct species, despite being corrected several times. It was the butt of a number of jokes and just felt out of sync with the movie’s message of tolerance, and generally my expectations for a modern kid’s movie. If Zee said she prefers to be called Zee, they shouldn’t go on making jokes about it. The worst part is, their joking is rewarded in the end when they finally call her by the right name and species and she reveals that Zee is short for something after all. People shouldn’t be harassed or have jokes made about their names if they’re asking to be called something in particular, and this ongoing bit just felt out of taste.

Something also off-kilter, though not necessarily bad was the animation. Certainly, the animation in The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild has come a long, long way since the original movie. It’s almost difficult to go back and watch some parts of it, especially the humans, even compared to other contemporary 3D-animated movies. It’s not the quality of the models or the backgrounds themselves. The models are so detailed, whether fur or scales. And the backgrounds are perfectly lush and diverse. It’s just that it often feels like you’re watching toys playing in a toybox. Some things are stiff, the models and backgrounds feel like they’re on dramatically different planes, and it becomes very uncanny at times. It’s not a ubiquitous issue, but it’s jarring when it’s obvious. Additionally, despite having none of the original cast members in the film, they all hold their weight and do decent facsimiles of their original actors.

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is a perfectly enjoyable entry in the Ice Age franchise with nice morals and comedy that doesn’t get especially grating. The animation is just a bit uneven.

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is streaming now on Disney+.


The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild 
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is a perfectly enjoyable entry in the Ice Age franchise with nice morals and comedy that doesn’t get especially grating. The animation is just a bit uneven.