The Iron Giant ★★★★½

I sparsely remember watching this movie as a young kid, and had yet to revisit it to form a more articulate opinion of it. I remember the basic premise of a boy and his robot and the military effort to capture and destroy said robot.

As a child, there was no way the more mature themes of pacifism and anti-violence would truly stick. But this movie presents them in a way that even a young mind can at least take something awesome or spectacular away from it that is larger than just action for the sake of action. And that's more than you can say about most movies today.

This story is forever timeless, a perpetual reminder of humanity's (and America's) constant fear of the unknown, and our stupid and absolute inability to refrain from retaliating with hatred and violence.

This film is an outright masterpiece, a relic of hand-drawn animation that doubles down on character and universal themes of empathy and love. I am so happy I found the time to revisit it after a decade and a half.

Movies like this reaffirm my appreciation and love for cinema. If more people watched great movies, the world would have fewer problems. Great stories, particularly visual ones, allow us to experience lives outside of our own, whether fantastical or mundane. Cinema, as Roger Ebert put it, is an empathy machine: "...the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us."

Thank you Brad Bird for this, and all your other films.