FILMS don't get much cuddlier - despite the title - than Ice Age.

This computer animated story from Blue Sky, the latest company to battle for the Disney crown, seems to have worked from a toy merchandising angle with most of the characters already looking like toys on screen.

The Ice Age tale has a collection of characters straight from the toy box.

There is Sid the Sloth looking, it must be said, nothing like the real sloth we know from nature films. This one has a cheeky expression with wobbly eyes and toothy grin.

He links up with the woolly mammoth Romano despite an obvious antagonism at the start.

When they discover a lost human baby, Sid decides they must return it to its human family.

Unfortunately a gang of sabretoothed tigers also want the baby and one of their number, Diego, is given the task of joining the others to steal it away.

Diego, with enough teeth to make Esther Rantzen jealous, is pretty nasty but it comes as no surprise that he starts warning to his fellow animal pals.

Surprisingly, the most loveable character in the movie is a bit part, a squirrel trying to bury his acorn. This is a really nutty character who gets the film rolling - literally - by starting an avalanche.

He pops up irregularly and one wishes there was more of him to be seen.

But the storyline is entertaining, not too long and the four main characters manage to combine comedy with a bit of excitement.

In fact, younger children might find the excitement a little too much with the attack by the sabre-toothed tigers quite frightening at times.

The main characters, however, develop distinct personalities and the animation - albeit computer generated - is quite fun.

Somehow, however, it is never quite the same as the old Disney cell animation, hand-drawn and - to my Luddite mind - eminently superior.