Do you still remember this wonderful movie? “The Iron Giant” was such a huge part of my childhood and I’m not ashamed to say that when I watched it yet again the other day, I was laughing just as delightedly as I was ten years ago. It’s based on a book of the same name written by a Ted Hughes. I had no idea it was a book, but now that I do know I’m going to be hunting every library in the city until I get my hands on it.
Because this movie is wonderful! It is full of wonder. It appealed to my childhood indulgences of imagination and curiosity – it still does, actually. I don’t think I have to point it out, but basially this film is about an iron giant careening down into earth from space and the hilarity and chaos that ensues when Hogarth Hughes happens to discover him. This intelligent and imaginative young boy immediately takes to the harmless giant, teaching him about planet Earth, its lands, its animals and its people.
When I was a ten year old girl, this film was just a matter of entertainment (wondrous entertainment – needless to say), a story about the triumph of good over evil. It is still about that, but watching it again made me realise it’s not simply about external good and evil. It’s also about the internal, the constant war within ourselves, pulling and pushing, questioning whether we are doing the right thing, or whether we even need to do the right thing at all. “You are who you choose to be” Hogarth tells the giant when the townspeople turn on him. There is always a choice; no matter how dire times may seem, no matter how oppressive others’ opinions of us, there is always a light in the darkness, even if we don’t see it. But it’s there, and it is that light that we have to hold onto.
Who knew that a kids’ movie would hold such a message? But watching it again, I’m glad it does. Because it means that it will have affected many with the same message, in the same way that it has affected me. This movie was directed by Brad Bird, the same guy who directed “The Incredibles” which is also a favorite of mine. I just love the feeling of reconnecting with something we absolutely loved and enjoyed in childhood. It’s almost as good as the feeling of knowing that that love and joy is still there.