(Ed. note: With all this talk of nostalgia, it seemed serendipitous to publish this quick rumination on a less seedy nostalgia. — Britta)
“You are who you choose to be.”
“Superman.” — The Iron Giant
The life of a child is an amazing thing. Your imagination is running wild and the world is your playground. Nothing is out of reach and anything is possible. Can I have a pet squirrel you ask? Why yes you can. How about late night monster movies? Absolutely. Hmmm, what about a mechanical man from outer space? The sky’s the limit the friend! The Iron Giant delivers all these elements plus so much more. It’s truly a heartfelt story set in the late 1950’s revolving around an imaginative young boy and his mother who happens to be a single parent doing what she can do to raise her boy the best she can. The boy (Hogarth) befriends a local artist and junk proprietor (Dean) who he turns to eventually to help him hide the giant mechanical man he finds from the despicable government agent sent to his small town to investigate the U.F.O. sightings that were reported at good ol’ uncle Sam.
The Iron Giant is based on the novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The script is loosely adapted from the novel but very well written and that the film is appealing and relatable to people of all ages, not just kids. The film is set during the height of the cold war in 1957 which is the same year the Russians launched sputnik. The Iron Giant plays on the fact nobody is sure who the giant is or where he came from and wonder if he is a Russian super weapon sent to do harm. The animation itself is absolutely beautiful and does nothing more than cement the fact that The Iron Giant is one of the best animated features made in the last 25 years.
Between the solid story and script, the amazing voice acting that fits each and every character like it was meant to be and the animation that does more than justice to the film– All these elements add up and give us a truly spectacular film in The Iron Giant. It ultimately does teach us that we are who we choose to be, and that is a message worth a re-watch.
Jason Burum 2/23/12