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"The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild" (2022) Review: An Inept, Spleen-Powered Blemish of Animation

Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.

The official artwork for, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."

The official artwork for, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."

The Public Lynching of Crash Bandicoot

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is the first Disney produced film of the franchise and the first Ice Age film to go directly to streaming. None of the original cast members return other than Simon Pegg as Buck Wild. Scrat is nowhere to be found and the animation is a noticeable downgrade. This project began with the intention of being a new Ice Age TV series, but it was then repurposed into an 81-minute feature-length film.

Crash and Eddie (now voiced by Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris) have gotten the itch to branch out on their own. Being a part of the herd with Manny, Diego, Sid, and Ellie has finally reached a boiling point. After ruining a summer getaway with an ice-alanche, Manny encourages Crash and Eddie to go off on their own adventure. He never thought the death portraying duo would take his words to heart.

The possums venture back deep below the ice and back to The Lost World where they are reunited with Buck Wild (Pegg). However, their reunion is bittersweet as a big-headed and big-brained Protoceratops named Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar, Free Guy) has just returned from exile where he intends to use his raptor henchmen to rule over every living mammal.

This new Ice Age film is animated by Canadian animation company Bardel Entertainment. Other CGI related works Bardel has had a hand in producing include Angry Birds Blues, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), All Hail King Julien, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, and the Monsters vs. Aliens TV series. The animation in Adventures of Buck Wild is incredibly ugly. Scenery and background characters are minimally detailed and look like poorly colored blobs with a limited color palette.

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Utkarsh Ambudkar voices Orson the Protoceratops in, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."

Utkarsh Ambudkar voices Orson the Protoceratops in, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."

The film has a very direct-to-video ambiance to it. It’s kind of like watching Reboot or Beast Wars: Transformers today, but what those series lack in animation they make up for with exceptional writing. The Adventures of Buck Wild mostly feels like Disney’s quick attempt at a cash grab after dissolving Blue Sky Studios in 2021. The animation is a bit better when it comes to close-ups of characters as strands of hair have more detail. It still doesn’t help the horrendous character design. Orson is basically the dinosaur version of Yosemite Sam while his raptors look like Wheelie from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Directed by John C. Donkin (producer of the first three Ice Age films, Rio and Rio 2, and Robots) and written by Ray DeLaurentis (Fairly Oddparents), Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown), and William Schifrin (Quest for Camelot), Adventures of Buck Wild has stale writing that has a few noteworthy moments. Most of the attempts at humor are met with eye-rolling, severe facepalms, or shaking your head with disgust. The raptor that copies everything Orson does may be the best comedic relief the films has and the “Power of spleens” bit is easily the best line of dialogue.

Simon Pegg returns to voice Buck WIld in, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck WIld."

Simon Pegg returns to voice Buck WIld in, "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck WIld."

Buck Wild is a seriously bizarre character though. He formed his own team and inadvertently destroyed it since he last met Crash and Eddie. Being alone has obviously taken its toll on him. He now talks to his left hand in a silly voice and has a pumpkin daughter that is babysat by a cucumber. Zee, a former team member and ex-best friend of Buck, is a zorilla/striped polecat. She looks like a raccoon, but is super agile and can spray like a skunk. Her and Buck are incredibly similar other than the fact that Buck likes to rush into battle without any sort of preparation whereas Zee likes to train and plan before facing an enemy.

It would have been so monumentally satisfying if Disney had debuted an Ice Age film with solid animation, laugh out loud humor, a well-written story, and likeable or even downright despicable characters. Having those elements would have at least given fans of the franchise thus far hope that Disney had a vision of where to take Ice Age in the foreseeable future. Instead we get this lackluster dud of a film that is boring to look at and is mostly massively unfunny while making most of the characters – old and new – forgettable. When Zee first meets Crash and Eddie, Buck says something along the lines of, “What they lack in courage they make up for with bumbling ineptitude.” That is all The Adventures of Buck Wild is; an unnecessary animated excursion into bumbling ineptitude.

Crash, Eddie, Zee, and Buck Wild voiced by Vincent Tong, Aaron Harris, Justina Machado, and Simon Pegg.

Crash, Eddie, Zee, and Buck Wild voiced by Vincent Tong, Aaron Harris, Justina Machado, and Simon Pegg.

© 2022 Chris Sawin

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