Misanthropic woolly mammoth Manny (Romano), lazy sloth Sid (Leguizamo) and wise-ass sabre-toothed tiger Diego (Leary) embark on a trek to reunite abandoned human infant Roshan with his nomadic family.
Sharing a similar plot mechanic to Monsters, Inc. - goofy creatures discover themselves through caring for an abandoned infant - Ice Age is a likable, fast-paced, computer-generated opus that opts for good gags and enjoyable action instead of sappy moralising and Phil Collins songs.
Sidestepping the attention to detail of Pixar, there is an intentional 'cartoon' quality to the character animation and backdrops. The comedy here covers all the bases, from the broad to the sly - in this world, creatures speak, human's can't.
While the journey throws up the requisite thrills and spills, Ice Age's real strength lies in sharply-defined relationship dynamics and likable characters that are worth rooting for. Best of all is Romano's world-weary yet big-hearted mammoth - cold on the outside, warm on the inside. Just like the film itself.
It may lack the fine-tuned inventiveness of Toy Story or the knowingness of Shrek, but it still delivers solid laughs and thrills wrapped up in an infectious sense of character.