Friday, November 16, 2012

Favorite Scene Friday! The Iron Giant: "You Are Who You Choose To Be."

**major spoilers below!**

If memory serves correctly, we've never featured a scene from an animated movie before. Which is strange, because some of my favorite movies are cartoons. I grew up watching Disney movies and I've really enjoyed more recent films from Pixar and Dreamworks.


One of my favorites is 1999's The Iron Giant. Directed by Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles), the film takes place in the picturesque town of Rockwell, Maine (get it?) and follows Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal), a typical 1950s American youngster. He discovers and befriends an amnesiac metal giant (voiced by Vin Diesel - yes that Vin Diesel) in the woods one day. A visiting government agent named Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) investigates the strange disturbances in Rockwell and begins hunting the giant. It’s revealed that the giant is equipped with devastating weapons - a great scene in the movie is one where the giant, forgetting his new-found good nature and his friendship with Hogarth, begins attacking a hostile U.S. army.

The whole movie is gorgeous (it’s one of the most beautifully animated films I’ve ever seen) and the film as a whole is fantastic. It's clear that director Bird grew up watching 1950s science-fiction flicks. There are also obvious strands from E.T.’s DNA in the film.

Today’s scene works on so many levels - if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that most of the giant’s dialogue is a call-back to earlier scenes in the film. And the scene - and the movie as a whole - has a pretty awesome message for kids (and anyone really - I know it still resonates with me): What we do is up to us, no matter what we’re programmed for. We just have to choose.

There are only a few films that really get to me (a strange amount are cartoons) and The Iron Giant is one of them. I always get a little choked up when I watch today’s scene - the giant almost happily accepting his fate as Hogarth’s message about choice echos in his ears. Sorry, got some tears in my eyesIMEAN, got something in my tearsOHNEVERMIND. Happy Friday.


  1. This is the kind of thing I wouldn't have been able to deal with as a kid. Too sad.

    1. Pete - It turns out okay in the end! But yeah, pretty heavy stuff for a kid. Although I think this movie affects me more as an adult. Thanks for reading!