As an adult, it’s not often that I feel a great sense of child-like wonderment when I go to the theater. But lucky for me, the Film Forum is screening Brad Bird’s first feature film, The Iron Giant. This film serves all parts of me that wants to go back to my childhood.
The story of a boy who is an outcast among his peers who meets an unlikely friend in a gigantic mechanic robot from outer space is was bright, clever and heartfelt as it was in 1999. Taking place in a small American coastal town appeals to adults as much as children. Full of interesting commentaries on military regimes, twisted patriotic pride and the constant fear of one’s enemy is so convincing on the screen that parts of me hopes no one would ever want to remake a live action version of this film. It’s perfect just as it is.
Seeing where Brad Bird started off with his first film is simply amazing. Now we know him as a member of the dynamic Pixar group. Film like The Incredibles and Ratatouille are so iconic and shaped what animation is and can do in the past decade. But seeing where it all stemmed from was an absolute pleasure, especially on the big screen. Today most animated film are computer generated or in 3D, so it’s very refreshing to see hand drawn, non-3D animation on the screen. With wonderful voice performances from Harry Connick Jr and Vin Diesel are just as strong as they ever were. Diesel gives the iron giant himself a sense of humanity and feeling, making this robotic creature so real and touching, I’d say more so than Pixar’s Wall-E.
The Iron Giant is so full of imagination, wonder and joy. Just to see a budding friendship grow from two unlikely beings is so special and touching. The Iron Giant is one not to be missed during this very limited engagement. It is a must see for children and adult of all ages. It’s one of those rare animated films that appeal to everyone, and surprisingly not from a studio like Disney, Pixar or even DreamWorks. A must see!