The Iron Giant

I watched The Iron Giant last evening. I’m a huge fan of ani­ma­tion and had heard good things about this movie, so it sure­ly took me long enough to get around to see­ing it. It is a good movie and while the plot is typ­i­cal kid movie fare, the art is very well done, and it has some sub­tle lay­ers that pro­vide both con­tem­po­rary and his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels.

Tak­ing place in the late fifties, Cold War para­noia is becom­ing increas­ing­ly insti­tu­tion­al­ized in Amer­i­can soci­ety. A pow­er-mad gov­ern­ment offi­cial asso­ci­at­ed with nation­al secu­ri­ty is will­ing to go to any lengths, includ­ing the drug­ging of a small boy and nuk­ing a small town in Maine to pro­tect the coun­try from neb­u­lous­ly per­ceived for­eign threats.

This movie was made in 1999.

The kid, Hog­a­rth, appeals to me because he basi­cal­ly acts like I act­ed when I was a kid. He even brings home for­est crit­ters and straps on army sur­plus issue and stomps off into the woods for adven­tures. I nev­er found a huge robot though. The ref­er­ences to the Gold­en Age of sci­ence fic­tion abound, and appeal to my nev­er nascent nerdi­ness.

Hogarth’s mom is a sin­gle par­ent work­ing hard [and late] to do right by her kid, which was like­ly an even tougher gig back in the fifties. We nev­er find out if Hogarth’s dad died, or if his mom is still unmar­ried. Pops is just…absent.

That’s all I got.