“We fought dinosaurs in the ice age,” Sid the Sloth says in this weekend’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. “It didn’t make sense, but it was fun.”
It doesn’t make sense because dinosaurs were already extinct by the time Manny, Sid and Diego entered the ice age, but the popular kids’ movies aren’t trying to teach, they’re simply continuing a long-held Hollywood tradition of bending history to suit their stories.
Here are 10 other bits of Hollywood history that earn a failing grade.
1 When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth drew on Phoenician, Latin and Sanskrit to create a fake caveman language. Here’s a quick Berlitz primer in cavespeak: For “come back” say “neecha,” “akita” is “look” and “neecro” is “bad.”
2 The man-eating Rhedosaurusis in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a dinosaur, but one that no paleontologist would recognize. It’s rumoured the mythical beast’s name was inspired by the initials of the man who created it, special effects wiz Ray Harryhausen.
3 Mel Gibson wore clothes from the future in Braveheart. The movie is set in the late 13th century, but the kilts he wears didn’t come into existence until 300 years later.
4 Instead of dying in the gladiatorial arena, as Gladiator would have you believe, Emperor Commodus was strangled in a bathtub a decade after his would-be movie assassin (played by Russell Crowe) died.
5 The Spartans in 300 run into battle against the Persian army protected only by leather thongs and rock-hard abs, when in fact they wore bronze armour.
6 As a knight returning from the Crusades in 1272, Nic Cage discovers a plague outbreak in Season of the Witch. Trouble is, the Black Death didn’t strike until 76 years later.
7 In 10,000 BC woolly mammoths are used as labour to build the pyramids in Egypt. Wrong! Woolly mammoths weren’t desert creatures and the pyramids weren’t built until 2500 BC.
8 In Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Queen is courted by Ivan the Terrible in 1585, who, in reality, was dead by then, felled by a stroke while playing chess.
9 California joins the Union at the end of Legend of Zorro in a ceremony that includes President Lincoln. Whoops! California became a state in 1850 and Lincoln wasn’t president until 1861.
10 The title of the historical disaster film Krakatoa: East of Java is a geographical head-scratcher. Krakatoa was actually west of Java.