Rating: * * *
Verdict: More of the same, but the sharper animation and extra action keeps it interesting.
The Ice Age gang are back and, while they're going through a pretty similar routine to previous movies, a snazzy new 3D approach, increased action, and madcap characters mean it's worth visiting for a third time.
Just like Bolt and Monsters vs. Aliens , the 3D imagery adds depth to the visuals and interest to the story, but isn't so overdone it will frighten the smaller members of the audience. You can view IA3 in 2D, but as the 3D effects are half the fun, you're better off looking a fool in the goofy 3D glasses.
All the favourite characters - Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary), Scrat (Chris Wedge) and the most adorable clumsy dimwit on the big screen, Sid the Sloth (Leguizamo) - are again at the centre of this story, and the family theme remains strong. Manny is expecting his first mini-mammoth with Ellie (Queen Latifah), making Sid feel a little in the way.
All in all, life is relatively settled in the ice age, until Sid takes a tumble through the ice and discovers three dinosaur eggs which he takes home, adopting the mischievous baby T-Rex when they hatch.
When their real mother comes looking for them the custody battle doesn't go Sid's way, and he finds himself being dragged back under the ice into a mysterious world filled with giant triffids, volcanoes, and dinosaurs.
The gang, including Ellie's stepbrothers Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) head off on a rescue mission, guided by a mad weasel called Buck through treacherous territory which is reminiscent of Land of the Lost meets Journey to the Centre of the Earth - and gets around evolutionary quibbles about the 50 or so million year difference between the dinosaurs and mammals like mammoths.
The voice cast in the Ice Age series has always been excellent, and Simon Pegg's performance (Scotty in Star Trek ) as Buck, is no exception. He takes on the job of voicing this fearless one-eyed adventurer and, taking inspiration from Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, he's one mad little critter.
The 3D upgrade has given Ice Age a new lease on life after the mediocre second instalment though, even with an increase in action, it does start to drag a little as it heads towards its inevitable conclusion.
If you've grown to love this prehistoric bunch of misfits you'll find this slightly scarier tale an enjoyable adventure.
Voices: John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Denis Leary
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Running time: 93 mins
Rating: PG (some scenes may scare very young children)