Monday, February 16, 2015

Superhero Media: The Iron Giant

First of all, I picked this dvd up for the princely sum of $5 at my local supermarket, what a bloody bargain. Directed by Brad Bird, of The Incredibles fame (though nearly a decade before), The Iron Giant tells the story of a friendship built between a young boy and a rampaging alien engine of destruction. Add in a 1950s Rockwell-esque background (the town is even called Rockwell) and a large helping of Cold War hysteria and what was a charming film begins to border on masterpiece. Nods to B-grade Sci-Fi and Horror abound and the visual design is reminiscent of '50s propaganda films, but with a modern sharpness and quality, The Iron Giant is a delight every time. 

It may seem that The Iron Giant is yet another of my Superhero Media articles that needs to be tied into the genre tangentially, but this is not the case. Although comics and Superheroes were in a bit of a lull in the early '50s, they did still exist, Hogarth actually shows the Giant some comics, including Superman, which he insists best represents the Giant. He's not far wrong; an incalculable power, sent to Earth by forces unknown for reasons unknown, decides to defend us all, and, not understanding, we attack him. The whole film is entrenched in the very early Silver Age. Hell, the Giant even wants to be Superman, look at this picture: 

 Isn't that awesome? 

The Iron Giant is probably one of the best animated films ever made. Seriously. It's warm, funny and exciting, but also hard and honest at times, not dressing up issues like death and fear as minor. The ending is meloncholy in a way family cinema does not often dare to be. If you haven't seen it. Go out and get it. A masterpiece. 

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