Ice Age 4–at war with science

I like the Ice Age franchise but watching number 4 today was a strain at times. In fact, all of the times when they featured an iceberg or a tectonic plate movement. There were other aspects or themes that also grated but those were aimed at younger ages groups than me (i.e. most age groups).

So, let’s look at the film’s total disregard for science.

  • Ice does not float ON water like a boat. Doesn’t everyone know this? You cannot have a block of ice – especially one embedded with boulders and trees being ridden by an 11 tonne mammoth – sitting on top of the ocean like it’s been cut from polystyrene. Ice floats IN water and has 10% above the surface, not the other way round. I can see they would have had to change some scenes – icebergs are pretty hard to flip over when the centre of gravity is so deep underwater – but the film would not have suffered at all as a result.
  • Tectonic plates do not travel fast enough to put you at risk of being crushed, even if you are a tortoise with a broken leg. They should not be used as a source of peril in a movie seen by impressionable people (children, creationists, etc.). I can accept the point that, based on the opening part of the film (which is way off the science scale in its own right), the plates could be moving a lot faster than they are today but in response I would say that the Earth’s creatures would be in a right mess if they were. If you need to resort to this sort of stuff then maybe, as a film maker, you’ve just plain run out of ideas. At least there was no mention of neutrinos heating up the Earth’s core for which I am grateful.
  • Journey to the centre of the Earth. We’ll let this one go – it’s OK to have fun with science. Probably the only scientifically educational part of the whole film.

On a different note, I think Nick Frost was a victim of typecasting as Flynn, a 4,000 pound elephant seal.

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