Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Iron Giant

Man, I miss blogging. I don't know why, but my urge to blog has really fallen off. For my Oz blog, it's like, I want to write more, but finding topics to write about just escapes me.

But if I want to get back to blogging, why not just do it? I don't feel like talking so openly about my personal life on my blog, but I do tend to preorder books and movies (preferably on Blu-Ray), as well as see movies in the theater, why not write about how I enjoyed them? Or didn't.

Let's start off with a Blu-Ray that came out earlier this month: The Iron Giant - Signature Edition. I had never seen The Iron Giant before, although I do remember seeing commercials for it back when it came out. I'd heard of its reputation as a new animated classic, and given that the Blu-Ray was only $10, I figured it was worth a try.

The Signature Edition is a "remastered" version of the original movie. The animation has been touched up with shadows to give it additional depth, dark skies with sparse clouds have been replaced with starry skies, and there's a couple brief additions, adding two minutes to the runtime. I only watched the Signature Edition, so aside from what I've heard, I can't comment on how it differs from the original version first hand. Note that only the remastered animation appears on the Blu-Ray, so while a version of the movie that's edited just like the original theatrical cut is on here, the original version actually isn't present. It can still be had on DVD, however.

The Iron Giant is based on a book originally published as The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. It was retitled to The Iron Giant in the US to avoid confusion with a certain Marvel Comics character. I haven't read the book either, but the Wikipedia synopsis reveals a tale of a mysterious gigantic iron man who appears in a little village who eats farm equipment. A boy named Hogarth Hughes decides the giant could live on scrap and live happily. Then the giant faces a fantastic space dragon that attacks the earth with a message about the destructive power of war.

The animated version takes a different approach. Gone is the space dragon, instead the anti-war messaged is conveyed by moving the antagonism to a government agent named Kent Mansley who'd rather destroy the giant.

The giant comes from outer space to a late 1950s small town. Hogarth lives with his mother, who's a waitress at a local diner. The giant mainly hides in the woods, and only has a few flashing memories of where it came from. Hogarth befriends the giant and begins teaching it some crude English and about heroism. He finds an ally in a modern artist who runs the junkyard. Unfortunately, Kent Mansley traces signs of the giant back to Hogarth.

Although I haven't read the book, I think this may be one of those adaptations that manages to fully flesh out the story concept they chose and tell it well, quite like a Disney adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen story. It's different, but the story they do tell isn't bad. It endears us to Hogarth by making him feel like a kid, and adds a childish nature to the Giant. In addition, the animation and music is very well-done. Smooth, fluid, and very much draws you into the story.

I haven't watched the bonus features, but honestly, I think I'll be revisiting this Blu-Ray soon, so I'll check them out eventually.

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