ActivismScience

Update: “Ice Age: Continental Drift”

Cross-posted on Georneys here.

Last week I blogged about the forthcoming movie “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” I have not forgotten about my campaign to try to have some plate tectonics science added as a DVD extra or website feature. Below is a letter that I just sent to 20th Century Fox, Blue Sky Studios, and Ray Romano, the main voice actor for the movie. This letter could very well be ignored as the “ramblings of a crazy geologist,” but we’ll see if I receive any response.

If you’d like to support my “crazy geologist” campaign, you can join the facebook group here. If you want to send your own email or letter, below is the contact information that I was able to find. Let me know if you find any better contact information.


Contact Information:

20th Century Fox:
Address:
10201 W. Pico Bld.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Email: [email protected]

Blue Sky Studios:
Address:
Attn: Public Relations
One American Lane
Greenwich, Connecticut 06831

You can send a message to Ray Romano here.

My Letter:

Dear 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios,

I am writing to you because I am hoping you might help me find an appropriate contact for someone working on the movie “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” the forthcoming 4th installment in the “Ice Age” cartoon movie series. I am a big fan of the adorable “Ice Age” movies. The teaser for the 4th “Ice Age” movie (available on youtube here) made me laugh and smile, even if plate tectonics by squirrel is a completely ridiculous idea. Indeed, the ridiculousness of the concept is a large part of why I find the clip so delightful.

However, I do worry– a little– about young children believing in plate tectonics by sabre-toothed squirrel after watching this movie. I think most children are smart enough to figure out that plate tectonics doesn’t really happen by squirrel. However, I wonder if there’s any way to talk the people in charge of the latest “Ice Age” movie into including an extra on the DVD or on their movie website that explains how plate tectonics really works. Even just a two or three minute clip– it could be a cartoon or an interview with a geologist– with a proper scientific explanation would be wonderful. I know that many children watch all of the extras on their favorite movies religiously.

Since so many children will be watching the latest “Ice Age” movie, this could be a great way to educate a large number of children (and maybe even some adults) about how plate tectonics works. Note that I’m not advocating any changes to the movie script. The “Ice Age” movies are delightful because they are so silly. At the same time, I think a scientific extra about plate tectonics would be a great thing to include. This could be a win-win situation– 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios could do some educational outreach, and many children could learn a little science.

If there is anyway you could help me express this idea to the people behind the “Ice Age: Continental Drift” movie, I would be most grateful. To give you a little background on myself, I am currently a 5th-year PhD student working on a Marine Geology & Geophysics degree in the joint program between MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In addition to my research pursuits in geology, I write a geology blog Georneys (http://georneys.blogspot.com/), and I write about geology, science, and skepticism for the Skepchick blog (http://skepchick.org/blog/).

If you would like to discuss the science of plate tectonics, I would happy to volunteer my services as a science consultant. I would also be happy to put you in contact with an education professional who has experience teaching plate tectonics to children.

I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Evelyn

[Fancy-schmancy contact information removed]

Evelyn

Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

Related Articles

5 Comments

  1. Evelyn,
    I hope that you are successful in get Dreamworks to include actual scientific teaching on the DVD for the latest Ice Age movie.

    We need scientifically literate children for the future of the country, however I wouldn’t fret too much if it doesn’t happen. I grew up watching Wile E. Coyote (super genius) and have yet to walk off of any high ledges thinking that, if I simply refused to look down, the laws of gravity wouldn’t apply to me.

    I realize that this is anecdote but I suspect there is a dearth of studies on the relationship between Loony Tunes and massive trauma, so what are you gonna do. :)

  2. Good for you! You’re letter hit just the right tone of not being preachy but seeing this as a great opportunity. I hope this works. This is just the sort of thing would be wonderful if it happened more; not to hold fiction and entertainment to a standard of realism that undermines their inherent fun and joy, but to use the attention grabbed by the movie (or book or cartoon or comic) to get the facts out there. Good luck!

  3. The movies are entertaining, but the writers’ grasp on geological and biological history makes my head hurt. The last sequel, “Dawn of the Dinosaurs”, is a perfect example. By the time large mammals were roaming the Earth, the last of the dinosaurs had been extinct for millions of years. But even if, as depicted in the film, there were a few holdouts hiding underground, wouldn’t they represent the “Dusk of the Dinosaurs”?

  4. I was initially against this type of interference in children’s entertainment and skeptical of it’s value to young children having just watched a silly funny movie that was based in fantasy.
    However I am persuaded by your point that if children get science from Scrat, then they might just get it !!
    It will put Scrat in the league of actors playing a part, who then become themselves, revealing how the movie was made and the factual errors made for the sake of art. It could be fun.
    Keep it light and make it fun. I applaud your effort.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close