April 9th, 2008
This is an animated feature by Brad Bird, also responsible for The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Much of its interest derives from the fact that it takes place in the cold-war era of the 1950s.
A boy befriends a 100-foot robot from outer space. The army, naturally, wants to destroy the robot. Hmm, where have we seen this before? How about ET, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, and every 50s “It came from outer space” flick. But it doesn’t matter. Bird doesn’t need an original plot to make a sweet, appealing movie.
I watched this the same week as Marlon Brando’s 50s biker flick The Wild One. This movie has a beatnik scrap dealer/artist who is clearly modelled on Brando, except for being a great deal more appealing. He is voiced by Harry Connick Jr, and the boy’s mother turns out to be Jennifer Aniston. (I had no idea.)
The robot can be a killing machine, but only when he is attacked. Otherwise he’s a sweetheart. This animated anti-war flick has appealing characters and a fun plot. Well worth seeing, even or especially for adults.
I just found out that this film is based on a novel by Ted Hughes called The Iron Man. (Yes, that Ted Hughes: poet laureate of Britain, author of the Crow poems, Sylvia Plath’s husband.)