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.
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!