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After a four-year break you’d have thought they might have come up with something a bit more ingenious than the wafer thin premise of acorn-loving Scrat (Chris Wedge) discovering an alien spacecraft, being propelled into space, realigning the planets (hadn’t they already been aligned by this point?) and then inadvertently deflecting a meteor towards a devastating Earthbound collision.

This idea might have carried a little more impact had any of the stories surrounding mammoths Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Co, back on Earth – as they see the slow-moving meteorite likely to initiate impending doom – offered anything other than predictable re-hashed stereotypes.

The main ‘Father of the Bride’ sub-plot based around Manny accepting her daughter’s (Keke Palmer’s Peaches) ‘goofy’ husband-to-be Julian (Pitch Perfect’s Adam Devine) definitely feels a little tired, and then we have other side-plots – like sabretooth tiger couple Diego (Denis Leary) and Shira (Jennifer Lopez) being able to cope with offspring – shoe-horned in as an afterthought, to equally uneventful results.

Fortunately the best thing about the series-best third film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs – Simon Pegg’s one-eyed dinosaur hunting weasel Buck – is back to provide the movie’s comedic high points, as it meanders along doing the bare minimum to get by.

The main reasoning of how they avoid the incoming meteorite is as preposterous as it is inconsequential – centred around a community of animals living inside a long-fallen asteroid that could hold the key to deflecting the hurtling rock – but bizarrely includes an extremely annoying spiritual leader called Shangri Llama (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) that brings very little to the party.

Again, like with Pegg’s inclusion, British singer Jessie J provides a nice turn (and also the theme music) as sloth Sid’s (John Leguizamo) love interest Brooke, and definitely adds something notable to the film’s final third.

For Ice Age fans, and kids who want a colourfully silly hour-and-a-half, this is harmless innocuous fare – but for anyone wanting something more taxing from their animations this does show franchise weariness, with the series probably having run its course for the foreseeable future.

After this it will undoubtedly be put on the endangered list for a while, and will have to seriously adapt if it ever returns – or it will sadly become extinct in the increasingly competitive animation market.

Rating: 2/5 
Gavin Miller