A Tale of Two Possums
'The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild' spins off a new animated adventure.
Now Streaming: Follow your heart, if you can find it.
First introduced in Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), possum brothers Crash and Eddie are the fulcrum of a new spin-off animated adventure that is titled in honor of rascally weasel Buck Wild, voiced by Simon Pegg, who was first introduced in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009).
A 2D prolog recaps the past adventures of an unlikely collection of mammals who are living through the end of their world, which is most helpful to those of us who may have seen all five previous feature films, produced by Blue Sky Studios and released by 20th Century Fox, over the past 20 years, but forgotten what happened. (All five, plus two television specials, are now featured in a new collection on the Disney Plus streaming service.)
Disney, which assumed ownership of Blue Sky Studios as part of its purchase of 20th Century Fox, decided to close the studio last year. Canadian studio Bardel Entertainment produced the animation for the new film, which perhaps explains why the new dinosaur characters look a bit different than the ones that were created by Blue Sky.
Granted, I am definitely not any kind of animation or technology expert, and I have not yet rewatched any of the previous Ice Age feature films for comparison. Thus, I'm really not sure why the new dinosaur characters look like their skin is rubber, while the familiar hairy mammals look even better than they did before. Maybe it's just my eyes, or my television, or my internet connection.
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In any event, the film itself is a satisfying adventure. To be clear, the animated backgrounds and landscapes are gorgeously detailed, and many of the characters look terrific. And probably only a single adult without children -- hey, that sounds like me! -- might notice the differences, which don't add up to a hill of beans in a story about two possum brothers who join forces with a weasel.
As long as we're talking about Things Only Adults Notice, I will note that Simon Pegg is the only returning voice actor among the players, so no Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, nor Queen Latifah. And no Scrat! The acorn-loving squirrel, voiced by Blue Sky co-founder Chris Wedge, is not even mentioned.
No scrat! Drat!
Possum brothers Crash and Eddie are dim companions. When they decide to leave the small yet protective herd and find their own place to live, their older adopted sister, elephant Ellie, is rightly concerned about their prospects for survival.
Meanwhile, Crash and Eddie bump into the rascally weasel Buck Wild, who leads them to the Lost World, where vegetation grows wild and in abundance to feed all the dinosaurs who have gathered to the hidden kingdom. Mostly, they're a friendly bunch, but a few sour grapes have manifested in the person of several ambitious dinosaurs, who pose dangerous threats to Crash and Eddie, as well as Buck Wild and a new female companion.
It's all friendly and firmly targeted at young people, yet The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild scratches my persistent itch to watch animated adventures, and I'm fine with these characters being granted center stage. But bring back Scrat, please, and not just in the trailer. [Disney Plus]