The Correct Order To Watch The Ice Age Movies

05 -03-2024

When Chris Wedge's animated film "Ice Age" first came out in 2002, it was considered novel and striking for many reasons. It was set in prehistoric times yet eschewed dinosaurs in favor of megafauna living in the Pleistocene Epoch. The three main characters were a sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo), a smilodon named Diego (Denis Leary), and a mammoth named Manfred aka Manny (Ray Romano), and they were engaged in a great migration to flee the oncoming Ice Age. The plot of their first movie apes John Ford's 1946 Western "3 Godfathers," as the three animals discover a human infant that they must keep safe and deliver back to the then-evolutionarily-novel homo sapiens living nearby.

The design of "Ice Age" was striking, aiming for broad, stylized characters that were markedly different from the friendly, big-eyed protagonists of Disney pictures. It certainly helped that the "Ice Age" movies featured a character named Scrat, an acorn-fixated fanged squirrel that often came to horrendous bodily ruin while seeking the object of his affection. The silent comedic shorts and in-film segments starring Scrat were perhaps the funniest slapstick cinemas had seen in years, matching Chuck Jones-directed Road Runner shorts in terms of their timing, skill, and comedy. The first teaser trailer for "Ice Age" was essentially a Scrat short film, and it sold the movie better than any dialogue snippets might have.

The legal rigmarole over Scrat is well documented.

As of this writing, there are six "Ice Age" feature films, two holiday specials, eight canonical short films, a Scrat TV series, a stage production, and four video games. Wedge's simple "3 Godfathers" riff birthed a massive franchise that, unless you're a parent or were very young in 2002, you have likely lost track of.

The release order
Here is a full list of the films, shorts, and specials. The features are marked in bold: 

"Ice Age" (2002)
"Gone Nutty" (2002)
"Ice Age: The Meltdown" (2006)
"No Time for Nuts" (2006)
"Surviving Sid" (2008)
"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (2009)
"Scrat's Continental Crack-Up" (2010)
"Scrat's Continental Crack-Up: Part 2" (2011)
"Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas" (2011)
"Ice Age: Continental Drift" (2012)
"Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe" (2015)
"Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade" (2016)
"Ice Age: Collision Course" (2016)
"Scrat: Spaced Out" (2016)
"The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild" (2022)
"The End" (2023)
The "Ice Age" TV series is called "Ice Age: Scrat Tales," and debuted on Disney+ in April 2022. Every single short and feature film heavily featured Scrat with the single exception of "Buck Wild," a spinoff film starring adventurous opossum characters.
Controversially, when Disney purchased Fox, the company also acquired Blue Sky, the animation studio that oversaw the "Ice Age" movies as well as the films "Robots," the "Rio" movies, "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!," "Epic," and "The Peanuts Movie." Blue Sky offered a counterpoint to Disney's dominance, so many animation fans winced when the sale went through. Hearts were broken outright when, in 2021, Disney announced it was shuttering Blue Sky altogether. The final Blue Sky film in production was the fantasy film "Nimona" (which is either an obnoxious film or a delightful one, depending on who you ask), although Disney infamously abandoned it because it starred queer characters. It was later completed and landed on Netflix. As of this writing, "Nimona" has been nominated for an Academy Award.

The End

"Buck Wild" and "Scrat Tales" were the final official Blue Sky productions, and their release marked the end of an era. At the end of the final episode of "Scrat Tales," an on-screen chyron bid fans farewell, reading:
"Scrat was the first character to appear in Blue Sky's first movie, "Ice Age." Like him, we were reaching for something that might have been unattainable. Yet time after time, both we and Scrat have managed to get our arms around versions of that elusive acorn. Unfortunately it's not possible to hold on to anything forever. We've had more fun bringing our movies to life than anyone should be allowed. We hope you've been able to feel some of that joy. Thank you, from the bottom of our Blue Sky collective hearts, for being with us all those years."

Shortly after the final "Scrat" episode dropped, an anonymous animator, posting only as "Finale," released a tiny, 30-second goodbye film on YouTube. This short, called only "The End," featured Scrat finally eating the acorn he nearly ended the world acquiring. You can watch the short above. 
It's rare for a film franchise to have such a definitive end. Given the shuttering of Blue Sky and the current state of Disney Animation, it seems unlikely that the "Ice Age" series will make any kind of return to the popular consciousness; a reboot, another sequel, and additional Scrat shorts are unlikely. The original creator of Scrat, or Sqrat as she called it, has now reverted back into the hands of Ivy Supersonic. 

We should take comfort in the fact that Scrat finally got his nut. 

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