Cultural Review Past, Present & Future

The Iron Giant

A short review/reflection about The Iron Giant film.

It’s been a pleasant Sunday, gardening and Arsenal beating Man Utd induced a happy state and then I stumbled across a movie – The Iron Giant. It was an animated movie depicting 1950s America. It told the story of a small boy befriending a metal eating giant who falls from outer space.  It had a lovely easy pace, but made some neat political points.  The US agent is keen to have the giant destroyed, whereas the beatnik character favours peace.  It was a nice take on war and peace in these troubled times.  There was an neat line that Hogarth (the boy) repeated to the giant ‘You are who you choose to be’ and towards the end of the film the giant decides that he is ‘Superman’.

What interested me was the way the past, present and future were merged as part of the creative process. The movie was made fairly recently, for our purposes the present.  The movie looked back to an era in American history which was the past.  However, the movie looked back with the benefit of hindsight.  The movie caricatured unease in America at that time about Russia and nuclear developments.  However, going back in time to the 1950s era that the movie depicted, America was pre-occupied with the future and nuclear bombs not iron giants falling from the skies.  This really was a temporal mash-up, as well as, a very enjoyable movie.