How a giant robot learns its true nature in ‘The Iron Giant’

NextNature.net
September 4th 2020

At first glance, the premise of the film 'The Iron Giant' (1999) seems to be a total failure. An animation film set in the United States in 1957; while the Russian satellite Sputnik revolves around the Earth; the Cold War reigns; and the communist hunt is in full swing. And kids should like this? We can only speculate about the children, but for adults it can hardly get any better.

'The Iron Giant' is about the unlikely friendship between a nine year old boy and a giant metal machine. But there's more to it that make it so interesting to watch today, from penetratingly portayed xenophobia to self-determination, at one point we find out that the giant was designed as a murder weapon. With intuitive knowledge of the concept of 'personal growth', the nine year old manages to convince his friend that he is not defined by his capacity for destruction: "you are who you choose to be". In one of the film's most poignant moments, the giant shows that he has memorized this lesson well. The film shows us that, by finding our own humanity we could save others from their fears and prejudices. How? By looking at technology differently.

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