I, who was born to die, shall live. That the world of animals, and the world of men, may come together, I shall live.Iceman
is a 1984 Science Fiction
film about the discovery by a mining corporation of a 40,000 year-old frozen man who, when thawed for research, comes to life. The film follows the philosophical questions raised, and the attempts to communicate with him.
This film came out amidst a run of various caveman-themed movies (Such as Quest for Fire
, 1981; Caveman
, 1981; Clan of the Cave Bear
, 1986), but this one carefully examines the issues involved with resuscitating a paleolithic man in the late 20th century.
Tropes in this film:
- All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Someone calls Charlie a Neanderthal, even though he was found in Canada.
- Bittersweet Ending: Charlie is happy to have achieved his goal, but he's probably going to die once he hits the ground.
- Bookends: The film begins and ends with a Title Card of the page quote.
- Cargo Cult: Charlie interprets a helicopter to be his god.
- Contemporary Caveman: Only not really played for laughs or to make a statement.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: They do their best to keep Charlie in a familiar environment, but when he manages to get out he experiences this.
- Harmless Freezing: Charlie was completely unharmed from being frozen due to chemicals in his system. This is lampshaded at one point, talking about how his cells should be harmed by the crystallization.
- Heroic BSOD: Charlie goes through one of these after seeing the helicopter.
- Human Popsicle: Charlie again.
- No Ending: Charlie is still falling from the helicopter when the movie ends. We get no resolution on that, or anything else.
- No OSHA Compliance: The chemistry lab Charlie wanders into has an eyewash station, which is nice, but also has glass bottles out where they can be easily knocked down - a real chemistry lab always cleans up and puts away to avoid contamination or accidents. A locked door is also a good idea. Charlie knocks over one that bubbles on the floor as acid.
- One Million BC: Averted. This caveman acts pretty close to how you'd expect the real deal to act.
- Shown Their Work: The film did their best to keep the science straight. Charlie - though you may not see it on first glance - is played by a Chinese Actor, which would fit that era's looks well, as it was the the peoples of Asia who crossed the land bridge into North America 40,000 years ago.
- The Slow Path: Frozen for 40,000 years (actual amount is unknown)
- Swiss Cheese Security: The access to the Vivarium. No one is watching when Charlie sneaks out. They just have a simple button which probably worked fine to keep the animals in, but not intelligent proto-humans.
- Take My Hand: The helicopter pilot to someone hanging onto the landing gear.
- Title Card: See the page quote
- Token Romance: Averted. Despite having male and female protagonists, the romance angle isn't even on the table.