Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade - don't eggs-pect much

television special review

Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade is spirited watch-together fare, but nothing exceptional 

Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade

Starring: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Josh Peck, Keke Palmer, Seth Green, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah
Directed by: Ricardo Curtis

Even though it started with a warm first instalment that was populated with lovable, amusing characters, the Ice Age series has since been losing its charm with each new addition to the franchise. As Blue Sky Studios prepares to release the fifth film in the series this summer, they have decided to whet our Ice Age appetite with a television special.

The short episode titled The Great Egg-Scapade celebrates two springtime occasions: The main arc revolves around Easter while a side plot focuses on April Fools’ Day.

Set after the events of the fourth film Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), Egg-Scapade finds the prehistoric gang dealing with the consequences of one of clumsy sloth Sid’s (voiced by John Leguizamo) latest goofs, while opossums Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) try, very unsuccessfully, to prank young mammoth Peaches (Keke Palmer).

After nurturing “three beautiful dinosaur eggs” in a previous instalment, the sloth comes up with the idea of an egg-sitting service, much to the concern of mammoth Manny (Ray Romano) and saber-toothed cat Diego (Denis Leary) who are certain this enterprise will not end well. Sid convinces a bird mom (Taraji P Henson) to entrust her precious, soon-to-hatch egg to him. At her recommendation, other animals also decide to avail the service, and Sid soon has a dozen eggs in his care. But, predictably, he falls asleep on the job, giving pirate bunny Squint (Seth Green) – who is seeking revenge for a prior slight – a chance to steal the eggs and hold them hostage while he demands that the group build him a new ship. It is thereby up to Manny and the gang to rescue the eggs and reunite them with their worried parents.

With each new Ice Age adventure, it becomes more and more obvious that the studio is eager to capitalise on the brand’s success, but hasn’t really been able to come up with the kind of compelling stories and interesting scripts that would make these outings a must watch for animation fans. In the same vein, this 25-minute special is fun and watchable, but doesn’t really offer anything particularly innovative or memorable.

As the proceedings are bombarded with Easter references while the origins of traditions, such as decorated Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, are established, it becomes fairly obvious how the events will unfold. The adventure is lively but predictable, and the zany antics are more likely to please younger viewers.

If you aren’t a diehard fan of the franchise, then you won’t miss much if you skip this special, and wait instead for the fifth, full-length film, Ice Age: Collision Course, which comes out this July. But if you can’t resist anything that bears the Ice Age title or simply love Easter specials, then The Great Egg-Scapade will help you while away half an hour and offer a few chuckles along the way.

Rating: 3 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

Hi Five, The Express Tribune - 1st May, 2016 *

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