DIRECTOR: Steve Martino

VOICED BY: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, JLo, Drake, Nicki Minaj, John Leguizamo, Wanda Sykes, Denis Leary, Keke Palmer

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes


RATING: ****

The never-ending pursuit for the prized acorn is back on, along with the much-loved prehistoric animals.

Returning to the screen for another adventure, the Ice Age franchise is as strong as ever.

Similar to the previous three films in the popular animated series, Ice Age: Continental Drift maintains its magical ingredient of the significance of family.

This time Earth has been dismantled to its very core by Scrat, the long-snouted, squirrel-rat, whose crazy chase after his elusive treat causes the continent to split and the ice to separate.

This division leads to the separation of the lovable trio of Manny the mammoth (Romano), Sid (Leguizamo) the goofy, buck-toothed sloth and Diego the sabre-toothed tiger (Leary) from the other animals. It becomes their mission to reunite with their families at all costs.

Sailing the rough seas on a chunk of ice, their colourful journey comes alive in 3D.

Watching an animated film always raises the mystery and fun quotient by trying to guess whose voices are behind the characters. For some it won’t be too hard with the use of popular celebrities for new characters added to the cast to freshen up the film. Castings include JLo and hip hop sensations Nicki Minaj and Drake.

Sid’s character remains a firm favourite, with his beliefs that there is a rainbow around every corner and bad news is really just good news in disguise. And it is his grandmother, also a new addition to the cast, voiced by comedienne Wanda Sykes, who is entertaining as the toothless granny, who makes a habit of innocently wandering into precarious situations. Granny chats to her imaginary friend Precious and offers plenty laughs with her crass humour: “If they kiss I’m going to puke” and “I’ll push him overboard and you guys say it’s an accident.”

As seen in a thrilling sea ride and battles with pirates, the film boasts crisp and detailed 3D animation as characters and objects seem to pop out of the screen. Children aged five and older (minus too many sugary drinks) are bound to be glued to the screen by this 3D novelty.

Emotionally powerful and humorous – “When you drink water through your nose, does it taste like boogers?” – and heartfelt, the storyline emphasises morals and values, tackling issues from peer pressure to facing your fears.

All in all it’s a family winner.

If you liked the other Ice Age movies this one will not disappoint.