It’s an inter-generational story to which everyone, anywhere, can relate.
Audiences everywhere love the Ice Age films, which is the second biggest animated motion picture franchise in the world. Each new story increases the stakes, scale, adventure, humor and heart—making Ice Age: Collision Course the biggest and most ambitious film of the series. Propelling audiences to new environments, like the cosmos and a crystallized world known as Geotopia, this is the defining chapter in the Ice Age “chillogy,” with many of the characters beginning new journeys.
Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age world. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, as they travel to exotic new lands and encounter a host of colorful new characters.
The new film’s story is deeply rooted in the mythology of the original Ice Age.
Producer Lori Forte, who has been with the franchise since its inception, and whose ideas have sparked several of the films’ stories, explains: “In the first film, there was a scene where the herd passes through a kind of ice ‘museum,’ where we see a prehistoric fish, a dinosaur, the evolution of Sid, and then a spacecraft or flying saucer.
“We always recognized that the spaceship was intriguing and knew there was some kind of mythology attached to it that we’d someday explore, but at that time we didn’t know exactly what it was,” she continues. “So we decided the time was right to come back around to that piece of Ice Age, and sowed the seeds for Collision Course.”
There was also a precedent for Scrat’s life being turned upside down by technology. In the Oscar-nominated short No Time for Nuts, the character finds a time machine, which creates a different kind of techno-havoc for Scrat.
Another connection to the original film—and to its subsequent chapters—is the herd’s relatable family dynamics, which provide heart and emotion, and complement the comedy and adventure. But like most families, the herd must adapt to a world that’s always in flux. “We take our family of characters further than we’ve seen them before,” says Forte. “We have a great time seeing how far we can push the characters, their world, and the obstacles they must overcome. And we love throwing our heroes into environments they’re not yet equipped to handle.”
Yet, the Ice Age characters always triumph because they’re constantly adapting to their situations. “The herd is always evolving,” Forte continues. “As the world around them transforms, they must change as well.”
…Where No Scrat Has Gone Before
Scrat is, of course, one character that never changes. In Ice Age: Collision Course he continues his pursuit of the cursed acorn. But this time Scrat’s quest is taking him where no Ice Age character has gone before—the cosmos—where the consequences of his antics are nothing short of “Scrat-tastrophic.”
In this film, Scrat drives the story, instead of merely providing comic relief to the main story of the herd.
And it’s about time. Scrat is literally at every major moment in the history of the natural world. He ushered in the Ice Age, started the Meltdown, unleashed the Lost World of the Dinosaurs into the Ice Age, started the separation of the continents—and now, he’s triggered a series of cosmic disasters that threaten the Ice Age world. “In this film, Scrat is pretty much responsible for the expansion of the universe as we know it,” notes Forte. “It’s his version of the Big Bang.”
Director Michael Thurmeier embraced the opportunity to find a unique environment—and catastrophes—for the cherished acorn-chaser. “I see so much potential with what you can do with Scrat,” he notes. “He’s become a true classic animated character. Scrat never stops persevering, no matter what happens to him.”The filmmakers’ new path for Scrat also presents fresh obstacles to overcome. This time, he must deal with gravitational forces, otherworldly technology, and the infinite mysteries of the cosmos.
The Empty Nest: Shockwaves Of A Different Kind
When Scrat starts playing pinball with the planets, he creates the ultimate Scrat-aclysm, sending the mother of all asteroids hurtling toward Earth. Again, Scrat’s misadventures have life- and world-changing consequences for our sub-zero heroes on the ground. At the same time, there are earth-shaking events of an entirely different nature playing out for the gang. Manny and Ellie’s daughter Peaches is getting married, and to Manny that’s as unwanted a development as an asteroid landing in his backyard.
“The asteroid heading toward Earth is the equivalent of Manny’s future son-in-law Julian coming into the mammoth’s life,” confirms Thurmeier. Both the feared cosmic collision and Manny and Ellie’s looming “empty nest” have a huge impact on the characters and their world. “The Ice Age films are always about the milestones in the characters’ lives and watching them evolve as a family,” adds the director.
So, Manny’s world is changing—and he’s not happy about it. Peaches has dropped a bombshell on her parents, and, says co-director Galen Tan Chu: “Manny sees that as a threat. She’s not only getting married, she and her soon-to-be hubby Julian are moving away to begin their lives as a couple.”
To Manny, no one is good enough for Peaches, especially at a time when the world may be coming to an end. Can Julian protect his daughter? Manny’s doubtful he’s up to the task.
As any dad—including the film’s director and one of its stars—can attest, that’s a relatable and understandable sentiment. Says Thurmeier, with a smile: “I’m a dad with two young girls, and when I look at Manny I see my future. My girls are going to grow up and get married, and that’s obviously a fact of life. Hopefully, I’ll learn from Manny’s mistakes.”
Manny’s better half, Ellie, joins her hubby in dreading Peaches leaving home. But she has a different, more measured approach to the family disruption. “Ellie wants to make sure she’s done all she can to prepare Peaches to go out into the world,” says Chu.
You can sum up the Ice Age films’ incredible global appeal with one word: family. Here, the family of filmmakers on Ice Age: Collision Course reflects on that central theme.
Lori Forte: “The films are about a group of disparate characters who found each and created a family. That connection keeps expanding and evolving, and that resonates with audiences. You don’t have to be related by blood to be family.”
Galen Tan Chu: “What strikes a chord for audiences around the world is that the members of the herd look out for each other. They’ve grown up together as this family, and people really connect to that journey.”
Indeed, the Ice Age films are also love stories: Manny has Ellie, Peaches has Julian, Diego has Shira. Even the crazy brotherly bond between daredevils Crash and Eddie is a kind of love story. But what about Sid the sloth? Sure, he has his pals in the herd, who are like brothers and sisters to Sid. Yet, romantic love has proven elusive, if not impossible.