What's In It For Me? What Adults Can Take From 'Ice Age'

Taking a kid to see the new 'Ice Age' film next weekend? Here's what you need to know and what to look for.

20th Century Fox

The world of Ice Age movies is big. Like, weirdly big. And it’s getting bigger. The fifth feature film in the Ice Age franchise comes out next week on July 22 and will find a sloth, a mammoth and a saber-toothed tiger fighting for survival and looking for love. Naturally.

But, um, what the hell is Ice Age about? For those of you taking kids to the theater to see the newest Ice Age film, here’s what you need to know.

The Players

The Ice Age movies follow three main characters: Sid (the sloth), Manny (the mammoth) and Diego (the saber-toothed tiger). There’s also Scrat, the slapstick addition who’s constantly waging war with the world to find and hold onto his acorn. Big, clumsy, occasionally grumpy and often excitable, Manny is the mostly gentle giant. Diego is smart, quick, strong and typically cool and unaffected. Sid is relatively hapless, giddy and often the comic relief.

In the first film, Sid, Manny and Diego forge a friendship that transcends species, food chains and meal times as they narrowly escape prehistoric perils on their quest to return a human baby to his father after tigers attack the baby’s village.

The Plot

Good news: the stories do change with every Ice Age film. Though there’s a degree of linear storytelling and development in the characters, the challenges presented and the quests are new with every film. It’s not necessary to view them all or view them in order to understand what’s going on. For the most part, our protagonists stay the same while our antagonists, goals, motivations and roadblocks change. What we’re saying is: Don’t worry about bing

In the newest film, Sid’s going through a breakup and searching/wishing for his true love but maybe also accidentally ushers in the end of days. Honest mistake, really. In the spirit of the rest of the Ice Age films, Sid & Co. will do their best to survive in a world that seems all but doomed.

The Pull

So…is there anything in these films worth caring about if you’re old enough to drink? Sure, if you look hard enough.

Scrat’s usually good for a laugh due to the fact that animation can really push some bizarre boundaries within physical comedy. If you can find a way to really truly give a shit about his quest for an acorn, his scenes might be a bright spot.

Like most kid’s films, Ice Age has the subtle winks and nods to older audiences that tend to soar over kids’ heads, so you can count on a clever one-liner or two.

If you find that the new film is lacking in the “humor that appeals to anyone old enough to drive” department, perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on the impressive CGI pedigree that gave way to Ice Age. Coming from Blue Sky Studios, the Ice Age films exist in large part because of the work that Blue Sky did on films like Tron and Alien: Resurrection with xenomorphs and light cycles. If talking mammoths, sloths, and saber-toothed tigers don’t do it for you, it is, at the very least, a visually interesting experience.

And, if all else fails, there’s always taking a quick bathroom break to catch a Charmander.

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