A decade ago today, one of my favorite directors Brad Bird made an animated sci-fi film for children of all ages which utterly annihilated cliche and convention. To date, it hasn’t been beat, even by Bird’s own Oscar-winning films like The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Why? Because it had brains and heart, and reminded us that we truly only have fear itself to fear. I commemorated the anniversary for Wired today.
A Decade Later, The Iron Giant’s Weaponized Soul Still Stirs
[Scott Thill, Wired]
Can a gun have a soul?” That’s the question asked by criminally underrated animated film The Iron Giant, which opened 10 years ago to mostly empty theaters and sporadic press coverage.
Combining a relatively infant CGI style with traditional hand-drawn animation, director Brad Bird’s award-winning but critically ignored feature animation debut pondered how a paranoid, post-war America might react to an overwhelmingly powerful interstellar invader. A decade on, the cult classic stands as arguably the most intellectually and emotionally moving science-fiction tale in recent history.
From lampooning McCarthyite government spooks and terrible sci-fi B movies to lionizing comic book heroes like Superman, The Iron Giant touched so many pop culture bases that it made for dizzying cinema. Now, in a so-called post-9/11 era of empty-headed shooters like Terminator Salvation, the movie’s pacifist spirit is needed more than ever.
Instead, Hollywood still has weaponry on the brain. For proof, look no further than G-Force, the recently released children’s CGI spy-fi fantasy starring sentient and armed guinea pigs working for the FBI.
Or consider Iron Man. The 2008 movie, based on Marvel Comics’ armored war machine and released during the so-called war on terror, managed to make an arms-dealing billionaire look cool. If you think there’s going to be much more than explosions or jokes in its highly anticipated sequel, due in 2010, I’ve got a subprime mortgage to sell you.
And then there’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the ultimate weaponized fantasy about gas-guzzlers that suddenly become useful for something — and not just carting around Megan Fox’s massive rack, either. The list goes on. MORE @ WIRED