Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
What do you do when you have a successful animated movie that’s popular with the kiddies? You put out sequel after sequel. (How many Land Before Time Movies are there now? Is anyone still watching them?) So here we have the third movie in the Ice Age franchise. The same characters front up again with some new ones thrown in and a new adventure in store. Ultimately, there’s one big problem: this is a movie struggling to find a reason to exist.
I haven’t seen the first two Ice Age movies but I don’t think that really matters here. The premise is that you have a collection of ice age animals working together as a family. Though some family members don’t feel as much a part of the family as everyone else. Which leads to some comedic mishaps involving dinosaurs living under the ice is a pre historic tropical wonderland. The movie finishes with everyone realising that they are a real family etc etc.
Quick aside: Do we really need this many penis jokes in a kids movie? I know we need a reason for the parents to want to watch the movie too, but is this really necessary?
When you create a sequel, there’s a massive hurdle you need to overcome. You need to find a reason for all the same characters to return for another adventure. New conflicts need to be found to overcome. If you’re main character was struggling to overcome his fears in the first movie and succeeds, you can’t have him doing the same thing in the second movie. And when you have a large cast, you need a reason for every single one of them to be in the sequel. Oceans 12 is an example of a movie sequel that struggled (and I would say failed) with this dilemma. Each of the 13 characters in the first movie had a reason to be there. In the sequel, half the cast spend most of the movie in a prison cell because they didn’t have anything to contribute to the movie. I think the same thing is happening here in Ice Age 3.
Diego, the sabre-tooth tiger, is the best example here. The movie makers try to give him something to do, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t do much. They try and give him some character development but it ultimately comes to nothing. On the other hand, a lot of attention is paid to the new setting (dinosaurs) and Buck, an action adventure weasel. These two elements are so different to what has come before that they might as well have made a different movie. And that’s the biggest problem with this movie. Why didn’t they just make a Dawn of the Dinosaurs movie and get rid of the Ice Age characters? It would have made for a better movie. But the cynic in me is thinking that it wouldn’t have made as much money.
The idea of family as something more than flesh and blood is not unfamiliar to Christians. Everyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has been welcomed into the family of God. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you have been adopted as a son or daughter of God. “ But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, a Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:4-7) If you are a Christian, you will always be a part of this family. Nothing can take that away from you.