Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Going deeper with the dinosaurs...

When I advise people on figuring out what God might be saying in the movies, there are a five major things to look out for: the plot, the characters, the setting, the overall movie-going experience, and a fifth option: the thrill of the sights and sounds.

For Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, what connected to me was the fifth item: the excitement of seeing dinosaurs rumble around on screen.

When I was a kid, one of the things I wanted to do when I grew up was become a paleontologist, a scientist that digs up and studies dinosaur bones. While I never got into the scientific stuff, I still to this day enjoy a good dinosaur tale -and this film is no different.

In this Ice Age movie, the familiar woolly characters Manny (Ray Ramono) and Ellie (Queen Latifah), the anything-but-slothful Sid (John Leguizamo) and the sabre-toothed Diego (Denis Leary) stumble upon some tyrannosaur eggs (don't mind the fact that millions of years seperated these creatures; we are led to believe, in this movie, that a whole "lost world" of ancient dinoaurs exists under all that ice in the ice age).

As the film progresses, the eggs hatch and little tyrannosaurs pop out, and of course, the mother Rex comes to reclaim her hatchlings - along with Sid, which causes the rest of the ice age team to race after their friend and have their own adventures underground.

But the plot didn't really matter. I just wanted to see the dinosaurs.

So how is this spiritual? Well, when it comes to the sights and sounds, it's very much about a personal experience. What is it about that fun, quirky sight or sound that gets to you? And why might your mind keep going in that direction?

For Ice Age, the fun-loving strool through the Mesazoic Era reminded me of my own childhood, and why I was so captivated by these age-old monsters. For me, the dinosaurs were my imaginary protectors - and no problem was too big that a T-Rex couldn't solve. Well, I've grown up and I now realize that dinosaurs aren't coming back anytime soon.

So I pray on this. And then it occurs to me that I still have a Tyrannosaurus in my corner. My Rex is God, who is truly larger than life and can devour any problem the world might bring.

That leads me to the Scriptures where I read the psalmist as he says, "Tremble before Him, all the earth and say among the nations, 'The Lord is king.' He has made the earth firm, not to be moved and governs all creation with equity... Then shall all the trees of forest and the creatures of the earth exult before the Lord, for He comes to rule the whole earth." (Ps. 96:9-10,12-13).

My prayer is complete. The might and power of the dinosaurs still live within my world, only this time that strength comes not from the fossils, but from the heavens. God is the one that will protect, defend, and rumble beside me.

This conclusion reminds me that no fun sight or sound that appeals to me in the movies is too trivial, and all thoughts can lead to a deeper spirituality. I learn never to underestimate the smallest aspect of an enjoyable film, for God is so big he can roar through anything.

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