The "Ice Age" series is a rather strange one in animation. It's a series that started off on a strong note way back in 2002 with that first entry, but with the many sequels it garnered over the years, it got worse. I really liked the first entry from 2002, thought the second film "The Meltdown" was only okay, thought the third "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" was decent and pretty fun, the fourth "Continental Drift" pretty bad, and the fifth film "Collision Course" even worse. After that dreadful fifth film in 2016, I thought that "Ice Age" was done and that we wouldn't see any more installments with the herd. However, here we are in 2022 and we have yet another installment in the "Ice Age" saga with "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild" and it's by far the worst entry yet. Considering I thought that "Collision Course" was pretty bad and one of the worst animated sequels I've ever seen, that's saying a lot.
Shortly after the events of the fifth film, the possum brothers Crash and Eddie (Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris) have gotten bored in the heard family with Manny (Sean Kenin), Sid (Jake Green), Diego (Skyler Stone), and Ellie (Dominique Jennings) and want to be free and live independently. One night, they sneak away and end up falling back down into the Lost World, the jungle below the ice age filled with dinosaurs, and once again run into the crazed one-eyed weasel Buck (Simon Pegg). He informs Crash and Eddie that a rouge dinosaur named Orson (Utkarsh Ambudkar) is on the loose and is trying to cause trouble in the Lost World alongside his raptor army. Wanting to stop him and keep the Lost World at peace, Crash and Eddie team up with Buck alongside his own fighting partner Zee (Justina Machado) to take down Orson.
Let's put aside the fact that this is yet another "Ice Age" film and let's also put aside the fact that this film is being made by Disney less than a year after they shut down the studio behind the series, Blue Sky Studios, and that Disney is using the IPs made by them and branding them as their own. Let's put aside all of those details and just look at the film as another brand new animated film. As another animated film, it's not very good. Going into this film, I wasn't expecting much but I was still surprised by just how unimpressive this film was. While the story is certainly not as ridiculous as the fourth and fifth films, its main problem is that it's both predictable and mostly boring. The whole film mostly goes from scene to scene without any surprises or thrills to be found or not feeling fun at all. You would think that a film centered around the scene-stealing titular weasel from the third film would be fun and sadly you'd be wrong. For a film that claims to revolve around Buck Wild, the film instead decides to focus on Crash and Eddie who were not my favorite characters in the saga and do not work as protagonists here. These are sidekick characters at best and putting them front and center was a dreadful mistake. The whole film feels like it mostly retreads ideas and themes that were covered in the previous films and it doesn't do anything unique or interesting with them. It's also a film that doesn't feel very well written too. For example, after Buck saves Crash and Eddie from being trampled to death by dinosaurs, he bombards them with exposition about Orson and the main conflict of the film. Even Crash and Eddie's character development is most delegated to a montage before the big climax at the end of the film. It just didn't feel like a polished screenplay. I would be more forgiving if the film was funny, and it's not. At all. The jokes here are very desperate and it often relies on low-brow humor like fart jokes and pee jokes desperately trying to make the audience laugh and it fails miserably. If anything, the film to me came off more like a discarded draft of "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" than it did as another entry in the saga.
As far as the animation goes, it's not very impressive either. I want to be kind to the animators at Bardel Entertainment as I feel they had a huge challenge coming off the heels of Blue Sky and had a very limited budget to work on and I felt they did the best they could've done. For what it's worth, the sets in the film look very good. I was especially impressed by how good the Lost World once again looked and even the ice above didn't come off looking like plastic and the water didn't look like jello. I really thought the set designers did an outstanding job replicating the sets from the previous films. I also thought Peter de Seve's character designs once again were terrific as I always enjoy his work. I wasn't very impressed with the character animation though which was due to the film's low budget. The characters had very stiff and awkward movements that didn't feel natural to me and at times the film had some very noticeable errors. For example, when Sid scratches his neck, the claws from his fingers instead appeared to be going through his neck rather than looking like they were behind it. If anything, it made the film appear to be more like a direct to DVD sequel. It's especially notable near the beginning of the film when the animators tried to recreate the scene where Ellie meets Crash and Eddie and her adoptive possum mother in "The Meltdown". I also don't really have much to say about the characters. I guess we should start off with Buck who was one of my favorite characters in the film. Simon Pegg was the only returning member of the franchise to return here and bless his heart, he tried. He is always fun to watch as Buck and he is just as crazy as he was in the third film, but he was sadly moved into a supporting role in his own film and the new developments with him don't add much to his character. He comes off a bit arrogant in this film which was something that I felt his character wasn't in the third film and it just felt like adding conflict for the sake of adding conflict. I especially also didn't like how the film once again brought up the joke of him treating a pumpkin as his offspring. It wasn't funny in the fifth film, it's not funny here. Crash and Eddie also do not work as protagonists as they are too annoying and stupid to be compelling or interesting and there's not much else to say about the rest of the heard since they're barely in the film. The new characters also don't have much to them as Zee is just another female sidekick who bickers with Buck constantly and tries to be very smart know it all while the villain Orson is incredibly annoying and just won't stop talking and talking and wasn't in any way intimidating or interesting. He was just dull.
And dull is the perfect description to call "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild". The story is boring and not very funny, the animation has amazing background but lackluster character animation due to a limited budget, and the characters are mostly annoying and uninteresting. This is yet another uninteresting entry in the "Ice Age" saga and I cannot recommend checking it out in the slightest and I certainly don't blame the animators for how this film turned out. This whole film is Disney's fault. If you want to watch a better adventure with the crazy weasel, just watch "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" instead. That film is at least fun. This film on the other hand, like the last two entries in the series, just shows that this series is sadly creatively extinct.