The Sound of the Crowd

I love my buddy, Moya

For a number of reasons, really. But most prominently right now because she sent me a copy of The Iron Giant (Special Edition) DVD as a late birthday present.

Still, I wonder if she realized that she, a good (albeit conflicted) conservative, was buying a movie with a very strong anti-gun message. No matter. The Iron Giant could well be the last great “2D” animated feature ever made in America, and the special edition is superb.

The picture itself, in widescreen and a new digital transfer, looks better than I have ever seen it on previous releases or television showings.

And special features? Did you ask me about special features? The commentary by director/co-writer Brad Bird & his crew points out, among many other things, where you can have some fun watching the movie in slow-motion. There are several deleted scenes, in various stages of animation depending on how far along they were in the process when they were cut. Most of these are interesting alternatives to the film as shown, but you can see why they were “left on the floor.” But one or two are fascinatining glimpses into the history and backstory of the characters, and one wishes they could have found room in the film. Most especially “The Giant’s Dream”–plus, that one just looks like it could have been so cool.

In at least one way this DVD is even superior to the Lord of the Rings releases, in that they found a way to make a picture gallery interesting: A fully-scored montage of animation art, pencil tests and finished scenes, sure to bring a smile to the face of any animation fan.

There’s also a couple of neat sequences that didn’t make the film in whole or in part, as hatched from the apparently demented brain of creative consultant Teddy Newton. These may not have fit with the tone of this film, but I’m sure glad they got a showcase here. Newton really ought to be writing and drawing children’s books; his segments have an inspired, antic silliness.

And I haven’t even watched the “branching mini-documentary” version yet.

So. Anyway. I love my buddy, Moya…


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