Directed by Carlos Saldanha, starring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Queen Latifah, Will Arnett and Jay Leno.

'Ice Age 2: The Meltdown' is the inevitable sequel to 2002's very successful animated film 'Ice Age'. This time 'round, the ice is melting and floods are imminent with the result that death and destruction loom on the horizon - something that a troop of vultures lasciviously herald in a fabulous Busby Berkeley-styled version of 'Food, Glorious Food' from 'Oliver!'.

The main trio of characters - Manny the mammoth (voiced by Romano), Sid the Sloth (a slurring Leguizamo) and saber-toothed tiger Diego (Leary) - are back but the only way they'll survive the dangerous floodwaters is by a three-day trek down the valley to a wooden boat, fortunately not manned by Noah with his strict two-by-two rule.

The trip is enlivened by Manny, who had believed that he was the last of his species, encountering a girl mammoth called Ellie (Queen Latifah). She, however, happens to think that she's a possum, albeit a large nine-ton one who constantly falls out of trees. Although she doesn't get Manny's take on her mammoth-ness, Ellie and her two irritating, prank-playing possum "brothers" (Scott, Peck) join Manny, Sid and Diego on their trip to safety. The main action is interspersed with diversions from Scrat, the acorn-chasing sabre-toothed rodent from the first film, and his entertaining but futile pursuit of an elusive acorn.

With the Manny/Ellie situation giving the film a little emotional oomph, a couple of thawed menacing sea creatures providing much needed peril, truly fantastic animation and a few great one-liners (especially a nod to 'Jerry Maguire') 'Ice Age 2: The Meltdown' will please undemanding kids and even adults might find themselves able to keep one eye open when coerced along to the cinema.

A moderately engaging, if fairly unexciting, family movie.

Caroline Hennessy