When I first looked at this title, I thought to myself "hey, cool, another 'Ice Age' movie!" Of course, I came to that thought without really thinking of anything past the second 'Ice Age' title, not fully realizing just how much this franchise has been run into the ground. Still, though, I thought this might at least make for a fun family adventure more than something made for little kids. I'm not gonna full fault the movie for that but at the very least, the first handful of 'Ice Age' movies were made for the whole family.
For those of you who have been like me and totally losing track, this is actually the sixth 'Ice Age' movie, following the original, ''The Meltdown', 'Dawn of the Dinosaurs', 'Continental Drift' and 'Collision Course'. And, while you've no doubt probably heard of all of those, there was also an Oscar-nominated short called 'No Time for Nuts', featuring everyone's favourite sabre-toothed squirrel, Scrat. So I was kind of under a rock during most of that, and the ones I tend to primarily remember (although I know I've seen at least a little bit past them) are the first two. Going into this, I was relatively blind, although it's kind enough to give us a recap of events up until this point.
While this is called the 'Adventures of Buck Wild', the primary characters are actually Crash and Eddie (Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris, respectively). Their adoptive mammoth sister, Ellie (Dominique Jennings) is a bit concerned about them being independent in the wild, but they don't want to listen, and it eventually leads them to sneak away from their herd of misfits to try an adventure of their own, straight back to the Lost World (as seen in 'Dawn of the Dinosaurs'). There, they run into adventurer Buck Wild (Simon Pegg), who has established peace among the Lost World with a watering hole for species to live together in harmony.
However, a Protoceratops with a huge, off-putting and exposed brain named Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar) believes that society should operate where the strong dominate the weak, so he kind of becomes the big baddie in this one. Largely, the plot involves Buck, Crash, Eddie, and the help of a zorilla named Zee (Justina Machado) putting a stop to Orson's plans, and the whole thing plays out more or less like a Saturday morning cartoon as opposed to a feature film. In fact, apparently this was meant to be a series, but they were like "no, movies are better". The funny thing is, if this were a series, it would make a hell of a lot more sense.
Now, what about our other favourites from the past 'Ice Age' movies? Well, they're all here, but every one of them has since been voice-replaced. Ellie (originally Queen Latifah), along with Manny (Sean Kenin, originally Ray Romano), Diego (Skyler Stone, originally Denis Leary) and Sid (Jake Green, originally John Leguizamo) spend the movie searching for the two runaways, Crash & Eddie (originally Seann William Scott and Josh Peck, respectively), while the two runaways are busy trying to prove themselves as independent. The big message of the movie is a bit of a combination of not biting off more than one can chew, but at the same time, letting the "birds" leave the proverbial nest.
So, if you're a fan of all the 'Ice Age' movies, I might suggest either taking this with a grain of salt, or even just avoiding it altogther. People my age may remember Disney cranking out various animated series based on their movies; primarily 'Aladdin' (although I'm almost certain there were others). This is a LOT like watching something like that. The voices are all different, there doesn't seem to be a lot at stake, and it's very, very basic in the way it flows. And although I'm not sure I've seen anything past 'The Meltdown', I might suggest that this is probably the weakest of them... at least so far, as it seems like they wanna milk this as far as it can go.