This Week In Cinema: August 28-September 03, 2011

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a giant robot, or maybe it’s the moon with a rocket in its eye!

Only two movies this week, who knew starting my career would affect my movie watching so much.

Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon, 1902, Georges Méliès, France) ***½

Those wacky French sure know how to make interesting visual films. Okay, that’s a generalization, but seriously, Georges Méliès has created quite the visual curiosity in Le Voyage Dans La Lune. This is the earliest film I have ever seen, and there is an oddness I find in certain films from this time that appeals to me. It’s a free form idea thing I think, Monsieur Méliès throws ideas at the screen and has fun with ideas smashing into one another. Crazy women loading a rocket, weird aliens turning into smoke, a bad ass with some sort of umbrella, Le Voyage Dans La Lune is a heck of a trippy ride.

The Iron Giant (1999, Brad Bird, United States Of America) ****

This still remains Brad Bird’s finest achievement, it’s an achievement I doubt he ever will top. With The Iron Giant Mr. Bird creates a wonderful 1950s aesthetic, both visually and in tone, and ties it into a good old fashioned superhero tale. The line that perfectly encapsulates the film, and its message, is when the Giant states during a game of playing heroes that he is not “Atomo.” A moment like that is sincere and heartfelt, it’s completely believable. Those are the words I would use to describe the entirety of The Iron Giant to someone who had ever seen it. The ending is a punch in the gut, but like most great hero tales it ends with a ray of hope, because a world with heroes is a world full of hope.

Wrap-Up:

Le Voyage Dans La Lune is a great short, but The Iron Giant takes home movie of the week honors. Slim pickings are okay when these two films represent the pickings. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill

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6 responses to “This Week In Cinema: August 28-September 03, 2011

  1. Méliès love, yay! His moives are the only silent ones I’ve really enjoyed. I never cared that much for Chaplin tbh. There will be a silent movie showing in my city this weekend, who knows, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see a Méliès? I hope so.

    It’s been many eyars since I watched The Iron Giant, but I remember I liked it. Would love to revisit it at some point.

  2. This is the only Méliès I’ve seen, but I look forward to seeing more at some point. Why the less than enthusiastic response to Chaplin? I love most of his work myself, a great mix of emotion and humor. Have you seen much from Buster Keaton or FW Murnau? They are probably my two favorite silent era directors.

    Do go ahead and revisit The Iron Giant, I’m sure you will still like it, maybe even love it now. :)

    By the way, thanks for all the visitors from The Velvet Cafe, you must have a huge readership because I get a lot of clicks on the link you put up there. :)

  3. Hm… It’s been long, very long ago since I watched Chaplin. I suppose I’ve avoided him. The thing with him as well as Keaton is that I’m really not that much into physical humour. You know when people fall, get stuff in their heads etc etc. I like Chaplin being sad and serious. Not being a clown. Don’t like clowns. They’re just creepy.

  4. I guess I’m a big fan of physical humor, from Keaton and Chaplin to the modern examples of Ferrell and John C. Reilly. I’ve never taken the view of them being clowns, especially i the case of Chaplin and Keaton. To me they are just guys who have things not go their way, often to hilarious ends.

  5. I’m not a huge fan of physical humor, but Keaton is a master, because most of the time it is either natural– what you might see normally– or acrobatic– what you might see in a circus. Chaplin is a clown, and is probably the best clown, but if you don’t like clowns you probably won’t like Charlie.

    But I have to say, The Iron Giant is a classic. I certainly don’t give it enough love. Fantastic film in humor, characterization and having us be placed in a specific time (the 50s). Glad to see you giving it a shout out!

  6. I always have time for The Iron Giant, been meaning to show it to my daughter for a while now. :)

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