Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie/Show Vignette: The Iron Giant

As I waded through our library and the library of my parents, I was struck by a thought and will now bring it to you.  Do we love the same movies? As I started this blog, I wanted to say something about the books I love, share something important about them, bring them to the giant void of the web, and somehow connect with others who love to read.  It's like a treasure hunt.  But, as I'm realizing, there are many kinds of treasure that I'd love to share.  If I find it and it stays in our library as a permanent guest, does it become more or less to anyone else? I always hope that amazing movies and shows don't disappear before they get their due appreciation and now I realize I have a great platform to talk about those too.  My first film in this series will be an easy one:  The Iron Giant.
Name: The Iron Giant
Written and directed by: Brad Bird (You know this man from his movies The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, and UP).
Plot: Way back in the fifties, a boy named Hogarth Hughes finds a giant gentle robot and they become friends.  It's a time when everyone was worried about "the bomb" and when they find out about the robot they send Kent Mansley (works for the government) to investigate.  He's pompous, inconsiderate, but pretty sharp.  If he finds the iron giant, he'll get the army to blow it up.  Hogarth won't stop until his friend is saved.
My favorite Bit: Here's the deal.  This movie is awesome.  The characters are well done, the dialogue is sharp, funny, and endearing.  The voice actors are awesome (excepting the very voice of the iron giant whom I just can't believe they'd use not only someone so silly, but feature him as a main draw for the movie when the giant says maybe four lines total).  Oh, by the way, the voice of the giant is Vin Diesel.  I know, I know.  BUT, there are some other great voices.  My favorite is, of course, Kent Mansley, who is voiced by the brilliant Christopher McDonald, otherwise known as Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore.  I mean, he's in a lot of things but he's always going to be Shooter.  Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Cloris Leachman, and the easily voice-recognizable John Mahoney round out a good cast.  Brad Bird has brilliant timing, story, and heart.  I enjoy this little film immensely.  Here's Kent Mansley below:
Suitable Age For Watching:
Almost any age can enjoy this.  I'd start letting them watch it around four as there are some worrying things like the fact that a rocket is going to blow up the town, the giant robot eats part of a power station, and there's a few scenes of terrified townspeople that might not be understood by younger kids.  Also, it's not really written for little ones and they'd probably be bored before they were scared.  As I am an adult who still loves this movie, I wouldn't say there was a cap for it but it's really well suited to seven to ten year olds who still love cartoons.  I added that last bit because sometimes I'm sad at how quickly children are told or think they have to grow up.  When we decide we're too old for something as fun as this is when we're really being childish.

I love this scene.  Dean (Harry Connick Jr.) has a squirrel going up the inside of his pant leg and Hogarth doesn't want his mother (Jennifer Aniston) to know that he brought a squirrel into the diner.
Go Get It: Please rent this at the very least.   You won't be disappointed. If you're still an old-fashioned hoarder and want it on your shelf, it's only $4.99 with free prime shipping at Amazon HERE.
A quote from Brad Bird:
"I reject that whole point of view - that animation is a children's medium. The way people talk about it is, well, hey, it's a good thing I have kids, because now I get to see this. Well, hey, no, man! You can just go and see it. There's no other art form that is defined in such a narrow way. It's narrowminded, and I can't wait for it to die."
Look up more about him on IMDB right HERE!

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