8. The Iron Giant – I didn’t see this on the big screen because I allowed my children to talk me into going to Inspector Gadget instead. For the next three years, the reputation of this movie percolated in the back of my mind until I finally saw it on VHS.
This movie astounded me. It is still my favorite animated feature film of all time, and was my first introduction to the humor of Brad Bird, who was one of the writers for the Simpsons.
I loved The Iron Giant‘s take on the 50s. I think it helps to remember that the stifling conformity of that era was far from universal. There were single mothers [like my own] struggling in a world far less supportive of them, and anti-establishment types whose questioning of authority eventually led to the upheaval of the 60s and beyond. The Iron Giant is widely praised for being slyly anti-authoritarian and anti-military, but I found it to be a deeply patriotic movie.
What most people won’t tell you is how much Christian symbolism there is in this movie. There is a clearer presentation of the Gospel in The Iron Giant than there is in anything coming out of the ‘family-friendly, faith-and-popcorn’ circuit. I guess if you want to hide something, the best place is in plain sight.