Frosted Flakes

Billed as being the latest in a “chillogy,” Ice Age: Collision Course is actually the fifth in Twentieth Century Fox’s durable animated franchise, begun in 2002 and last visited in 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift.

The three principals – Manny the mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (voiced by John Leguizamo) and Diego the saber-toothed tiger (voiced by Denis Leary) – are all back for another round, as is perpetual scene-stealer, Scrat the squirrel (voiced, or squeaked, by executive producer Chris Wedge).

Over the years and through the films, a number of new characters have joined the fold, including Manny’s mate Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah) and their daughter Peaches (voiced by Keke Palmer), Diego’s mate Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez), Sid’s crotchety grandmother (voiced by Wanda Sykes), the reckless possum duo Crash and Eddie (voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck), and self-styled adventurer Buck (voiced by Simon Pegg).

By this point in the Ice Age series, it’s very much an ensemble endeavor, and the kids – many of whom likely weren’t even born when the original film was released – will enjoy renewing acquaintance with the characters.

Having faced extinction in four films already, Collision Course posits a fresh threat when a meteor shower – caused, naturally, by Scrat, in his ever-panicky pursuit of his beloved acorn – threatens to heat things up considerably.

Directors Mike Thurmeier (who codirected the previous two installments) and Galen T. Chu (graduating from animator to make his feature directorial debut) don’t stray far from the warm and fuzzy elements that have made the series so successful. There’s the usual nice message about family and friends and working together to overcome problems, as well as some inspired comedic bits

– most of which involve Skrat and some of which approach classic Looney Tunes level. But even the introduction of some new characters doesn’t prevent the second half of the film from dragging a little bit.

Nevertheless, Ice Age: Collision Course does maintain the fairly high standards of the earlier installments. There’s still life – and liveliness – to be found in the ice age. !