The kids really enjoyed this. At first, "Ice Age: The Meltdown" looks like the inevitable sequel to the famous 20th Century Fox animated blockbuster, trying to cash in the success of the previous movie but that wasn't the case. This new adventure of the prehistoric mammals manages to stay on its own legs and delivers nothing but great fun becoming a worthy sequel. That alone is an achievement in its own right.
"The Meltdown" continues with the style of its predecessor both in humor and animation, so those who fell in love with the original will love the sequel too. The difference however, is in the fact that now Manny is our main character. We get to know more about this character apparently anti-social and cynic, but who in the inside feels very lonely after the loss of his family. Sid and Diego make good sidekicks in this adventure and while their roles in the film are somewhat diminished, they still are very well-developed characters. Scrat, the nut-obsessed squirrel is back too in his constant quest for his lost nut, giving slapstick humor of the finest type in every scene he is in.
It is always hard for sequels to live up to the expectations, specially in family-oriented animation films, but director Carlos Saldanha and his team manage to make a funny movie that never gets boring or tiresome (something vital as it is a movie mainly oriented for kids).
While probably the story is not exactly original or complicated writers Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow make up for it with good character development and funny one-liners that fit the movie tone very good. Two new characters, the young possums Crash (Sean William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) are a welcomed addition to the family, as well as Ellie (Queen Latifah), the lost mammoth.
Ellie, Manny and their relationship is a very important subplot in the movie, and one that was perfectly handled by the director and his crew. While Diego's subplot was also interesting and served as basis for very good jokes, it didn't had enough screen-time; a shame in my opinion, but overall the movie was very good. The only problem I had with it was the language and innuendos. Yes, the PG rating warned of that, however it is a cartoon and maybe we need to let the movie producers know that we don't have to have foul language and sexual innuendos to make a movie good.
To summarize, fans of the first "Ice Age" won't be disappointed by "The Meltdown", and it also breaks the "sequel's curse" this film is entertaining on its own right.