‘Antlers’ Review: Buck Wild

If this is your first experience with the massively successful Ice Age franchise, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild begins with a brief synopsis of the other films in the series. It’s an admirable effort to help viewers who haven’t seen the prior films catch up, and the recap is effectively done.

This, sadly, is the best five minutes of an otherwise terrible film. If this is how new viewers are introduced to the Ice Age franchise, then I seriously doubt they will ever become true fans of the series.

‘Antlers’ Review: Buck Wild

Beginning of the Spinoff Series

Crash and Eddie, played by Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris, are possums who, at the beginning of the spinoff series, decide to leave their original family because they feel overwhelmed by their sister Ellie’s protectiveness. They feel it’s about time they strike out on their own and become responsible adults.

Unfortunately, they misunderstand maturity to mean unlimited fun, new experiences, and no accountability. As a result of their enthusiasm, they end up in the Lost World, a mysterious underworld where things aren’t as rosy as they first appear.

To achieve his goal of dominance, Orson the wicked dinosaur (Utkarsh Ambudkar) plans to exterminate all animals in the vicinity (those who aren’t eaten first, of course). Together with the weasel Buck (Simon Pegg) and his closest buddy Zee (Justina Machado), Crash and Eddie approach the battle as enthusiastic onlookers who don’t take things too seriously until it’s almost too late.

Two Lovable Rascals

This film chronicles the coming-of-age of two lovable rascals of a possum species. In the end, they triumph because of their bravery, their loyalty to the group, and their focus on their own abilities.

The story of Crash and Eddie isn’t interesting enough to hold your attention throughout the full film. My favourite parts of the story are the brief scenes with Ellie, Manny, Sid, and Django as they deal with a sudden change in their herd and travel in pursuit of the possums, while the sequences with Buck and Zee are significantly more exciting and propel the action ahead.

However, instances Like These Occur Far Too Infrequently.

Orson is one of the few truly entertaining characters because he is so frightening and terrible. His persona is both terrifying and unpleasant. When he is finally reduced to a powerless, helpless figure, you can’t help but feel some sympathy for him and the torture he has through.

Crash and Eddie Important Point

An important point regarding dictatorship and its potentially disastrous downfall is made in the film. Unfortunately, the film’s message is not explored in depth or with delicacy, just like the rest of it. Crash and Eddie, who seem so committed to the cause of freedom otherwise, don’t seem to mind when others aren’t afforded the same opportunities they have. That an authoritarian regime can be replaced by another authoritarian power is a cynical message to send. Ultimately, if someone else has just taken command of the terrible animals in Orson’s army, then what does it matter if Orson is defeated?

Many people in their twenties will be seeing the film, and for those who grew up with the Ice Age franchise, it will feel like coming home. A film that reacquaints audiences with their favourite characters and the media they grew up with, evoking warm feelings of fondness and reflection.

If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, you might not enjoy this film very much because there isn’t a lot going on. While only 1 hour and 21 minutes in length, the film drags on for what seems like far longer.

Ratings: 2/5