I’m taking a break from the subtext of romantic love and this time will take a look at a far more destructive kind of subtext. The following review contains major spoilers for the entire movie that I am discussing, so don’t read if it bothers you.
This is a short little note on an otherwise funny movie, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. At first glance it is a harmless movie aimed at families, at second glance it is a somewhat disheartening look at where the queer fits into today’s society.
Sid the sloth was a most tragic metaphor/symbol for adoption and/or any couple/individual who cannot conceive the old fashioned way. The generally odd and socially frowned upon sloth takes it upon himself to care for three lost eggs after the male Mammoth makes him feel unwelcome as the Mammoths are having a baby. Wanting to find his own family the eggs represent a brilliant solution to his problems. Once he brings the unattended unborn babies with him to his friends he is immediately told off by the Mammoth male who makes a speech on how Sid does not have the right to those children or eggs. As the eggs hatch into dinosaurs they immediate form a bond with their new mother, Sid. However the Mammoth does not like the nature of the dinosaurs and once again forces Sid to “get rid” of them. At which point the birth-mother appears and takes both dinosaur babies and Sid with her to her own “land”. Despite the somewhat problematic start to their relationship Sid and the dinosaur mother actually end up showing affection towards each other as they continue to raise their children together. However his friends take it upon themselves to “save” him and bring him back to their own land. At the end of the movie Sid really does not appear to have a choice in the matter and teary-eyed has to say goodbye to his children, who clearly mirror his love and reluctance to leave, and join the rest of his friends back in their “own world”.
Sid is the most obvious example, but the rest of the gang are also representations of various “deviating” lifestyles that all come together in a pack governed by the Mammoth couple who work as the emotional and moral core of both their created family as well as the movie. It ends on a message that families are created, but they always centre around the heterosexual family. It is they who have to take the active decision to incorporate others into their “natural” family.
As the movie ended tears of laughter shimmered in my eyes and as they dried I couldn’t help wondering if the tears weren’t there for another reason than merriment. I was entertained by the movie, but at times I also am a victim of self-loathing.
The gays, dykes and random queers are allowed, they are even embraced, but only as long as they gravitate around the heterosexual couple and their moral compass. The Mammoths represent the norm, they represent the dominating powers. They absorb the various other individuals into their new family, but on their own terms. We are allowed, tolerate, but we must submit to and follow the standards of the heteronorm. We will get full rights and acceptance, but only when the Mammoths grants us them, or the day when the Mammoths are extinct.
I know I am being overly critical, but I am also tired of being so close, yet being so incredibly far.