With the memory of Titan AE's embarrassing fall to Earth fresh in its collective mind, Fox studios must have had its fair share of sleepless nights praying that its next visit to Toon Town would work. After all, how do you compete with the twin titans of Pixar and DreamWorks?
Ice Age's answer is to ramp up the Warner Bros-style madness, cram in as many one-liners as possible and load the cast with comedians, and it works beautifully.
We first meet our three hapless heroes (well, two heroes and one who, in true, `here's the moral kids' fashion, could go either way) as the world's animal population starts a huge migration away from the creeping freeze to warmer climes. But the plot - Manfred The Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid The Sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego The Sabretooth (Denis Leary) must quest to reunite a human sprog with its parents - - is really just a hook for the quick-fire verbal and physical gags.
And it's all the better for it. Chris Wedge's movie is a pacy, wild adventure, with a real ace up its sleeve in the rodent-shape of Scrat, an amped-up, nut-loving nutcase who steals every scene he falls, flies or stumbles into. So good that not even the odd trip into schmaltzville can ruin it.