A squirrel with an obsession with acorns unwittingly sets off a bunch of fissures that end up splitting the earth’s landmass into a bunch of smaller chunks known as continents. The breakage doesn’t stop there; it threatens to vaporise the island that our cast of animals call home. After the chunk of island they were on breaks off and a subsequent tidal wave separates them from their fellow animals, Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and Sid (Leguizamo) try and commandeer their tiny block of ice past pirates and various sea creatures back to their home, while Peaches (Palmer) and Ellie (Queen Latifah), Manny’s family, lead the rest of the animals to the last stable place on their island praying that the castaways will be able to make it.

This film immediately seems like the emphasis is more on milking the cash cow for all it’s worth than on any sort of quality control. Where you can usually count on Madagascar/Shrek/Toy Story etc. for a balance between a good story and humour, Ice Age 4 barely works for adults and we doubt that kids, especially older ones, would prefer it to any of the aforementioned series. It’s highly formulaic, brings absolutely nothing new to the table and its villain – a monkey pirate – is as clichéd as they come; not to mention he isn’t scary, menacing or dangerous in the slightest. The film’s saving grace is its go-for-broke attitude and fast pace which stops it from being a total snooze fest, even if it does still lag a bit.

The animation looks strangely unfinished, as though it still belongs on a computer not a cinema screen. Either that or it’s just cheap, which probably explains why the franchise has spawned three sequels to date with no end in sight, or how they were able to afford such a star studded cast who, don’t elevate the material, but provide a good dose of entertainment in the form of guessing the famous voice behind the shoddily designed face. J-Lo, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Queen Latifah, that blonde chick from Glee, that awesome dude from Parks & Recreation; you get the picture.

The mute, acorn obsessed squirrel is a highlight though. It has a twitchy nose that any cat or rabbit lover would appreciate and its arc plays with history in a way that’s both imaginative and funny. The opening sequence of its acorn-chasing antics is hilarious – as is its fatal encounter with a squirrel infested version of Atlantis.

We’d only recommend Ice Age 4 to existing fans of the series, but if you’re looking to entertain a bunch of kids then go see the other animated film in cinemas – Pixar’s Brave – it’ll go down better with both older and younger audiences.