Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Drifting Waaaaay Left: Ice Age 4 Continental Drift

I am grateful that Ice Age 4: Continental Drift has a mere 39% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; it doesn't help too much because, just having seen it this afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, laughing out loud several times. However,... it was definitely a pro-Obama, leftist, liberal film and the reasons why it is so deeply saddens my heart, truly. It was fortuitous that I just got my post up for The Socialist Utopia: Journey 2 The Mysterious Island for both films employ the mythic island of Atlantis (well, archaeology aside, a generally considered mythic island) but arrive at radially different conclusions! Both films utilize chaos theory, the image of a bridge and a society collapsing (including storms), such as we have seen in too many to name films so far thus this movie-going-election-year season.
Sadly, this poster says it all. Captain Gut, the ape on the left, is a pirate captain and Manny, the hero, is trying to get back to his family, separated by catastrophic land shifts and stranded on a piece of ice. Please note the gold tooth of Gut: the mouth symbolizes the appetites and the gold indicates an appetite for wealth and booty. Captain Gut, as an ape, can also be taken to symbolize Darwinism, which we have had many occasions to discuss this film season (more on that below). Gut vows revenge on Manny because Manny took Gut's ship and lost all Gut's booty, which is how socialists see Republicans from whom Obama took the "ship of state" and the Republican wealth when the markets failed, only nasty pirate Republicans suffered and it was justice that they did so (according to the film). 
The film really could have gone either way up to about the last quarter of the film; what cinched it as a liberal film? The pirate captain, Gut, started abusing his pirate crew, the tell-tale sign of socialist vocabulary in today's films (please consider Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows). That's the only characteristic tying the Republicans/conservatives to the villainous side in the film, but to an audience, that "brutality" sufficiently stresses that employers are bad and pirates at heart. A herd is much better because everyone is "equal" and no one bosses you around; you can be as big of a loser as Sid and still be an important hero.
But it doesn't stop there.
This is Sid and the sloth in the water, in the purple fungus stain, is Sid's Granny. It's interesting how Sid and Granny were re-united. Sid's family that abandoned him when he was little made a trip to see Sid and ditch "dead-weight Granny" on him so they could make a fast get-away from the oncoming disaster in their sled with no steering wheel. Important point: Granny doesn't have any teeth. Granny symbolizes history because of her age, and since the "herd" are socialists, the "family" which abandoned Sid is the liberal view of Republicans who have abandoned the aged/history and want nothing to do with anyone "undesirable" including the Sids of the world (linking, in a way, the Republicans to Nazis). The vehicle of the Republicans is the out-of-control log they use as a sled. Granny not having any teeth until the end of the film (when Sid makes her an artificial set) is rather literal, "history doesn't have any teeth" until the socialists give history teeth. What gives Granny her teeth, symbolically? The whale, Precious. The whale is there because the liberals believe they have a monopoly on environmental protection, and Precious can save the herd because the herd (the socialists) saved Precious from the Republicans just seeing whales as "precious" resources and hunting them to extinction. The truth is, that even the film recognizes, is that "Granny" (as symbolic of history) hasn't had a bath in a decade and needs to be "cleaned up." The image above shows the foulness coming off history, supposedly how Republicans have mis-led Americans into thinking that America has always been a capitalist nation, when in fact--according to Ice Age, The Descendants, Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter--America was really going to be socialist. So, cleaning Granny, as pictured above, is also "reclaiming history" that socialists believe belongs to them.
What's truly under attack in the film is the American Dream, that belief in "hard work equals success" and the ability to improve your situation in life, equal opportunity and class mobility. Scrat, the little pre-historic squirrel that is so adorable, is the image of any of us who are "chasing our dream," be it big as a mammoth or small as an acorn, and what happens to him undermines the belief and reality in the American Dream.
The adventures of Scrat: he has just landed on an island after being at sea on a little ice berg for a long time and sees a squirrel skeleton pointing. Scrat looks down and finds his beloved nut; after sinking himself to the bottom and enduring the pain and consequences of the pressure of the water atop him, he realizes his nut has been split in two and is lost; but, on the inside of the shell is a map to the greatest of all nut hordes and he follows the map (like a pirates' map and that's important) and eventually ends up in Atlantis where the nut horde is (more on this below).
Part of the American Dream is the belief that, even though you have to "pay your dues" and suffer, endure hardship and sacrifice, you can make it, whatever it is you set your heart on. We saw this explicitly in Rock Of Ages, a rather liberal film still professing that, no matter how bad it gets, keep believing in your dreams because if you've got it, you'll make it. Ice Age, on the other hand, shows Scrat ending up at the island of Atlantis, where the great nut horde is, as well as the great intellectuals who discovered everything, and they live in a Utopian bliss amongst all the nuts they could ever want until Scrat arrives who destroys everything. What does it mean?
The crew of Captain Gut, so, if you are a capitalist/Republican--like I am--you are pictured here, because you take, steal and intimidate to get whatever it is that you have and hold onto to, but there's always someone you are answering to. Please note little Scrat, being held by Captain Gut, dressed in his mythic mermaid costume: that's those of us who don't have anything but hope to get something out of capitalism being "belittled" and humiliated by the Republicans.
We saw Atlantis being utilized in Journey 2 The Mysterious Island for the socialists utopia being promised that everyone is equally rich and well-off and it's an enlightened society that is socialist (but it sinks). Scrat, chasing his dream symbolized by the nut, goes crazy with so many nuts and wants to take the grand nut that holds the island together. The "father Scrat," the all-wise type of ancient philosopher, tells Scrat to rise above his appetites and abstain from the nut, but Scrat can't, and he literally pulls the plug, sinking Atlantis because of his appetites (capitalist greed for ownership and personal property) and loses everything; that sunken island reveals the desert in California, so--because only Democrats and socialists love the environment the film posits--Scrat must be a greedy Republican chasing his dream and destroying the environment because of his selfishness that is destroying the possibility of an enlightened socialist society. 
The only other Ice Age in the series I have seen is the previous one, but while watching it, I kept getting bombarded by the "virtues" the film presented of the "non-traditional herd." Why? It symbolizes a gay family. You're right, Manny and Ellie aren't gay, however, by promoting a non-traditional herd, it undermines the structure and values of the traditional family. Don't believe me? Part of the conflict of Ice Age 4 is that Peaches has fallen for another Mammoth, Ethan, but the mole Lewis (pictured above) is the one really "in love" with her. Because Ethan ends up being such a jerk, Peaches realizes that "Lewis" is what's best for her. Great: a mole and a mammoth. And, please don't forget--because the film certainly won't--that she's part possum which is why she sleeps by her tail in trees. It's not a matter of letting people be who they are (which is what the film wants you to think is the issue) rather, it's about letting what is unnatural be natural. Please remember that the word "perverse" literally means upside-down, and there are two upside-down moments in the film. First, when Ellie and Peaches are going to sleep for the night and the mammoths are tying their tails around a tree limb to hang like possums; that is not natural, but the film advances that it's okay because it is who they are. Secondly, when Peaches is with Ethan, they go into a cavern where the trees are growing upside down and it looks, as they say, that they are upside-down. So to be with those like her is nature that is unnatural. The issues aren't about being nice to people regardless of who they are or look like, but about going against nature and calling that natural!
The gist of the film reflects what happens in miniature form to Scrat: Manny getting separated from his family symbolizes all the hardships brought on by the last three or four years, and that--even though their home is gone--they have been led to a new home, a better home, which we see in the mock Statue of Liberty, that the land of socialism is true American liberty because no one has to do anything, the government gives it all to you.
Peaches and Ethan.
Another aspect we have seen in films is the difference between chaotic universes and Darwinist universes (the distinction is important because, while Darwinism rules out the possibility of God, chaos theory does not). As mentioned in a caption above, Captain Gut, as symbolizing the overlord employers and Republicans, also symbolizes a Darwinist universe, a universe of the "survival of the fittest" (as the regrettable phrase goes) but the film wants to drive into your head because you may not be one of the fittest to survive in a Republican world and only the socialist government can take care of you. Why then, in the adventures of Scrat, should the film side with a "chaotic universe" when films such as Men In Black III and The Avengers be positing chaotic universes?
It's not.
Scrat as a mythic mermaid to further enforce how mythic the American Dream is. Beside him is the nut with the "road map to success" in it which the film posits is also mythic.
In the trailer above, please note how ridiculously little it takes to bring catastrophe to the entire world (an adulterated form of the "butterfly effect"). Socialists want you to be afraid of "being out there all alone" because in a Repblican world, you are all on your own, the government isn't there to bail you out or shelter you from bankruptcy or shut down the oil drilling or provide you with healthcare or tell you that you didn't build those roads and your business on your own. So if you are afraid of the world, you had better vote for Obama in November, or Scrat's fate will be your own... 
Real women are socialists, so Ice Age 4 wants you to believe.
My grandma would be heart-broken if I told her these things, and--knowing her--she would refuse to believe it. I know there is quite a bit to substantiate in claims such as this and, as always, there is more than one valid interpretation possible for this film or any work of art. However, another anti-capitalist facet of the film is in the opening cartoon of the Simpsons, the Longest Daycare, when Maggie (? the Simpsons little baby?) is taken to the Ayn Rand school of daycare. The sequences clearly illustrates how life is a "concentration camp" for people who aren't gifted. One little baby goes around killing butterflies and Maggie is determined to save one she has found; this is where the film deconstructs itself, because Maggie wants the catipeller to bloom into a butterfly, but after it comes out of its cocoon, she immeidiately helps it to escape; butterflies have to fight their way out of the cocoon, the struggle makes them stronger and able to fly on their own. That's the difference between the socialist and capitalist viewpoints, because a butterfly that hasn't fought its way out isn't a butterfly at all, and just as the opening cartoon perverts the order of nature, so too does Ice Age 4.
Here, in Ms. Rand's own words are her defense of capitlism:
In conclusion, the film was quite funny and well-done; I wish I had seen it in 3-D, but I couldn't afford it. I had to buy gas and groceries so there wasn't any money left. It might be possible to make this a pro-capitalist film, but it would be difficult even for me to swing that one. Why should we be concerned with it? All are is usually subtle, and by knowing what is being communicated--to us and our loved ones and society at large--we can understand arguments in a vocabulary that aren't being articulated otherwise hence, we have the edge and advantage when it comes to defending what we believe and support.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner