Ice Age has been comfort food in my household since 2002. Somehow, a big mammoth, a tiny megalonyx, and a medium-sized smilodon came together in a way that entertained me and a few other family members, albeit with mixed results, for over a decade. But all good (to middling) things must come to an end with The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild.
In case you haven’t heard, Disney shut down Blue Sky Studios, the folks behind the Ice Age franchise (amid a few other projects like The Peanuts Movie). Instead, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild was animated by Bardel Entertainment, and voiced by…basically none of the main cast, despite appearances from the aforementioned character trio. It’s kind of a mess.
Tracing the origins of how The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild was made is a bit confusing and sad. All roads lead to the end of Blue Sky, who, while not perfect, delivered a lot of smiles to families across the globe with a string of uneven hits and misses. But Bardel hasn’t translated any of the good parts here with this sorta-kinda-TV-show-production-quality project.
Weirdly, Simon Pegg is the only person who has reprised their role as a character featured in the third and fifth Ice Age films. It’s a bizarre setup, and I’m surprised he even came back. Justina Machado as Zee, his partner in crime (with whom he had a confusing falling out with before the events of the film), really tries her hardest to make things work. Machado is an animated actor in pretty much everything she does, live action or otherwise, and you can practically see her jump around the recording booth as she delivers her lines. But it’s not enough.
“Tracing the origins of how The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild was made is a bit confusing and sad.”
Because the film is framed around the misadventures of Crash and Eddie (the annoying possum brothers from the main series); any attempt at a meaningful or heartfelt moment grinds to a screeching halt whenever they’re on screen. Part of The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is spent recapping the basic gist of the first few movies, having sound-a-likes of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo wander through scenes (yep, none of them came back, even as a glorified cameo role), and generally allowing Crash and Eddie to muck about.
It’s exhausting. It takes what feels like forever for the pair to run away (as to not feel like a burden to their “sister” and forge their own path), and finally reach the Lost [Dinosaur] World where they run into Simon Pegg’s swash-buckling weasel.
When they finally do get there, you can see a glimmer of a fun family film in some of those moments. But all of that is washed away by the shoddy animation (which, in some cases, is more dated than the original Ice Age) and myriad moments where Crash and Eddie are forced into the script. It sounds silly to most to say that an Ice Age spinoff in 2022 had potential, but it did.
Wasting Simon Pegg and Justina Machado is no easy feat, and with a complete rework of the script and some animation polish, this could have been serviceable for hardcore Ice Age fans. Instead, the fate of this series is now more unclear than ever with The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild.