Sunday, May 20, 2007
BRAD BIRD IS AN IRON GIANT
Okay, I used to know this girl from New York. She graduated from NYU, and she used to tell me all the time that her favorite movie was The Iron Giant. She was a bright cookie. Master's degree in journalism yada yada yada.
She told me Iron Giant made her cry. I didn't get it.
Watched Iron Giant last night. Now I do.
I didn't cry, but damn...Brad Bird is an American Miyazaki. Five quick things I LOVE about the film. (If you haven't seen the film, don't read these!!!)
1. Music, music, music. They chose a great time period. It's a few years before American Grafitti, but the songs are still rocking! Placed in the background, no singing on the counters here! Just placed in as part of the setting, masterfully done. (By the way, I love the score by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra).
2. The Giant!! In terms of story, this movie owes E.T. its heart and soul. But they did a wonderful job with the Giant. His compassion burns through. And boy, when he gets angry....He must have some serious post-traumatic stress syndrome. I almost wanna see a prequel.
2b. And the giant's design is just fascinating. The discovery process unfolds at a wondrous pace. You can fix yourself. You can fly. Wait your chest is a big cannon. WTF! My favorite sequence would have to be the hand. A giant hand walking innocently around the crib like a cross between a big puppy and a giant tarantula..too much!
3. 2D animation rules. 'nuff said.
4. Story, story, story. This is really number 1. Brad Bird and company hit this out the park. It's like Snow White. Everything, and I mean everything, means something. Walt would be sooo proud of this film. It has so much heart, great characters, and the story is symphonic in the way that it spirals out its themes in a simple, melodic manner. (Guess I should mention that all this magic madness is based on a short story by Ted Hughes. Having an iconic poet/writer around always helps.)
5. Setting as character. Any good story should have a great setting- a setting so great it becomes a leading character. Like Pan's Labrinyth, this story is a fantasy set in a political time. With a backdrop of cold war, atomic power, and the American war machine run amok, Brad had plenty of toys to play with.
This was better than The Incredibles. The Incredibles was more entertaining by a hair. But The Iron Giant beats it with heart and economy. And that's saying a lot.