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Moriarty interviews BRAD BIRD, director of the upcoming classic feature film, THE IRON GIANT

Published at: April 10, 1999, 12:45 a.m. CST by staff

Hey there everyone, Harry here. Every now and again, Moriarty feels the need to... Well, to get in the ring with the fellas that make all this magic that makes us go... "COooooooooooOOL" Today, is one such case.

A few months ago, Moriarty saw and reviewed THE IRON GIANT (CLICK HERE TO READ MORIARTY'S REVIEW!), and ever since, he's become one of the 'blessed'. Apparently from every account I can find and talk to... THE IRON GIANT is not a good film. It's not even a great film. The word is that THE IRON GIANT is a MASTERPIECE of animation!

It's also getting almost zero press coverage. A recent LA TIMES article on what is coming up in the world of animation gave no mention of this film. A film, that while I was at PIXAR, several animators told me was THE film they were looking forward to. One animator wished that they were cloned because while he loved working for John Lassiter... he wished he were also working with Brad Bird.

The man's name in the animation community is spoken with reverant tones... WHY? Well... it's because he is literally one of the true masters working in the field of animation today. Because he looks at animation as not a genre, but as a tool for telling great cinematic stories. And those stories can include the wonderful world of children's tales, but it can also be soooo much more. He is a man that doesn't just dream of the day when American animation can be about more than musicals and funny sidekicks... He's actually taking the steps to make it a reality.

I've looked into the eyes of three men that have seen THE IRON GIANT, and all three when I'm asking about it, have this strange Charlton Heston (from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS) look upon their faces. It's as if they saw something that touched their soul.

I'm not going to fool you, I'm not gonna blow smoke up your ass.... I haven't seen this film. The things I'm saying on this page are merely my reporting of what I have found out about THE IRON GIANT, and folks.... I'm dying to see this film.

At the following link, you will find an interview of such high calibre that I will pit it against the best interviews with film greats anywhere. Not only did Moriarty do a superb job, but Brad Bird shot straight. He didn't talk to us as some posse of mindless geeks, but as lovers of animation.

My only comment to Warner Brothers is this... Go with Brad's trailer, put it on EVERYTHING. Ship it out to be put on MATRIX (a film that will be pulling in audiences for weeks), put it out to be placed on THE MUMMY and STAR WARS and TARZAN and every possible film being released. When you have a classic, a masterpiece you owe it to the film, the animators, the talent and everybody that's ever made a film to scream it from the highest place in the world so all the people waiting for a great film can hear.

From the sounds of things, this isn't just a cartoon. It's a great film. Treat it as such. And thanks for allowing it to be made.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORIARTY'S INTERVIEW WITH BRAD BIRD!

When you click TALK BACK on the Interview page, you're TALK BACK will appear here!

Readers Talkback

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  • April 10, 1999, 1:50 a.m. CST

    What an Interview!

    by Junyer

    This is an absolutely great interview. Congrats Moriarty! I have such high hopes for this film and I'm basing it all off my respect for Brad Bird. The model sheets which I'd seen for the film hadn't initially impressed me but the trailer showed me otherwise. This film could easily change the face of American animation but there's only so much the artists can do. At some point it becomes the studio's responsibility to promote a film properly and Warners hasn't been known to do that with their animated product. Their utter disregard for CATS DON'T DANCE is still unbelievable (granted it was a Turner film). That film was one of the greatest animation masterpieces in the '90s, and a standout for its sheer artistic individuality and uniqueness, but many people still don't even know such a film ever existed thanks to an obscure and virtually non-existent Warner marketing campaign. Then, Warners indirectly associate themselves with the horrendous THE KING AND I and a ton of people I've spoken to believe that KING AND I is a Warner Bros. Feature Animation Production. There's no need for Disney to sabotage Warner Bros. because they're destroying themselves. I implore them to not goof up on this film and give it the due it deserves. Animated features are a relatively unexplored and uncharted medium. Brad Bird seems to be one of the directors venturing forth into the unknown and I wish him the best of luck. -- Amid -- Visit me at www.awn.com/blast and look for an IRON GIANT surprise this Sunday (4/11).

  • April 10, 1999, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, you are NOT doing this film a favor by ramming it down

    by Ilvenshang

    Listen, Evil Genius: I've read the book this is based on. It's no masterpiece, but it's refreshing for a children's book in that it's about a character who follows his own agenda, and picks his own battles without devolving into some human-hugger. The film turns this dark edgy concept into Mechy Joe Young, and throws in some generic "bash the 50's establishment" stuff that we've all seen before. Still, I might have gone to see out of curiosity, until you started hyping it like the second coming. You've lost IG one member of its potential audience. Pray you do not lose anymore.

  • April 10, 1999, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Re IRON GIANT

    by Charlie Oakley

    In a world pregnant with sin... in a time when injustice has become the norm... It still pisses me off to no end when great films are overlooked and mediocre films are enthroned as masterpieces. Brad Bird is one of the most innovative minds EVER to grace the animation world. If I could label his particular brand of talent, I would use the Oxymoronic term: "gentle iconoclast". He is out both to destroy and to build. I read the screenplay for RAY GUNN, and it was so full of innovation and wit... No wonder Hollywood let it go. To everybody out there: if we geeks realize what an insurmountable task it is to get a good LIVE action movie out of "the industry" we have no idea, and I insist, NO IDEA... what a monstrous job it is to try the same with an ANIMATED film. Not to lapse into "fanboy bashing", but how gently can one put it to Warners, so they understand??? Time and time again it has been proven that flesh is a visual obstacle, so when you have your head so far up your ass, your intestines block the view. Let me then, phrase it gently: to everyone involved in NOT having IRON GIANT out there, screaming from billboards, interviews, tv spots, etc... Kindly remove your head from your insides. A soft, wet suction sound will follow such a brave action and you will see the light... Yes, Brad Bird has been a secret weapon all this years (anyone else thinks the last batch of SIMPSONS is a little limp???) but he does not need to remain a secret anymore.

  • April 10, 1999, 6:50 a.m. CST

    DWD: From Now On, It's A New Barney Gumbel. I'm working clean an

    by DwDunphy

    Good job on this interview, Moriarty! Now there's another summer movie I'm dying to see. Brad Bird makes that valuable point that, sadly, just doesn't get across. Animators are as tired of the formula as the audience but everyone's so afraid of risking the money involved with animated projects that the formula must slavishly be adhered to. As a movie-goer, I'm tired of musical numbers. When done correctly, they can be thrilling, but seldom are they done correctly! So we sit in our seats as the characters move like so many before them to silly, pointless songs that couldn't survive as composition without their visual crutch. We're supposed to enjoy that. Add in animal sidekicks that smile, talk and grimmace for the inclusion to this month's Happy Meal toy collection, and it's no wonder that the audience feels burned. As a writer (or fledgling writer, as it were) I have often thought of coming up with something for an animated feature, but I've always backed off of it. Why? I know there is little autonomy in feature filmmaking, far less in animation. There is so much more the writer is asked to give up, to compromise and, ultimately, to disavow. I'm glad Brad Bird didn't. I look forward to Iron Giant where I only wince at what will become of Tarzan despite Glen Keane's great work. Disney calls from on high, "Send in the singing monkeys" and, boom, there they are, like it or not. Maybe this is a turning point.

  • April 10, 1999, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Selling a Giant

    by soupeysails

    I haven't seen or heard a Peep about this supposedly GREAT film. If its great lets hope WB can put it on as a trailer on SW (though, it looks like there will be no room for anything if Lucas has his way--kind of piggish if you ask me--aren't trailers the best parts of the movie-going experience???) Maybe, just maybe, WB of all places may be the studio to keep SW from breaking Titanic's record...which I think it won't anyway, too much summer competition in general. So, when can we look forward to any trailers about Iron Giant? On the Wild, Wild, West film?

  • April 10, 1999, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Overselling? Gimme a break!!

    by Prankster

    Considering that NOBODY except AICN has even MENTIONED this movie yet (OK, Animation Blast is doing a story tomorrow, but that was only after a casual query about interest in this film sparked an avalanche of responses) I think the "overhyping" Moriarty is doing kind of balances out. We need, somehow, to get the word out on this thing...right now, people just think it's the latest from the people who brought you Quest for Camelot and The King and I, and it's opening just as all the interesting summer releases (including 2 other good-looking aniamted films) start to appear in the wake of The Phantom Menace. And it's opening directly opposite Mystery Men, another movie I really want to see...if I could give some advice to Warner's, it would be--open this movie BEFORE Tarzan! In fact, open it in mid-June, when TPM fever will still be going strong. There IS room for another hit in there, even if it never makes the #1 spot. Remember how Tommorrow Never Dies became a major hit, despite opening opposite Titanic? There is a lot of room for other movies, I really don't think TPM is going to dominate the BO the way everyone thinks it will.******** Well, it's a long shot. It's unlikely Iron Giant will be a hit in the theaters, but with any luck it'll become a cult classic on video (which is, after all, where most animated films make a large chunk of their moola). So, here's hoping.

  • April 10, 1999, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Where's IRON MAN?

    by Jimmer72

    And forget the idea of casting Tom Cruise--ever see Alex Ross' paintings of Tony Stark? Timothy Dalton would be GREAT! (As you can see, I enjoy changing the subject.)

  • April 10, 1999, noon CST

    Animation Theory Is Top Notch

    by Mr Itsuki

    I teach at an animation school and I've always said that computer animation on live-action looks "gooey" because it's all done on 1's, just like what Brad said in the interview. Everything he said, in fact, from the research done on Jurassic Park to the simplification of CG mirrors EXACTLY what I feel about the animation industry. The computer is a tool and when classically trained animators learn how to use their understanding of motion with the things computers do best, the results are amazing. But, the computer is NOT a replacement. So many times, when I tell people that I tecah animation and that I'm an animator, they say "So, everything's done by computer now, right?" and I havbe to explain that the gesture and life of animation is still based in drawing and pencil to paper. There's still no substitute. Even A Bug's Life had all of it's development work done in 2D. Thanks for such an insightful interview. I hope the film reaffirms my faith in WB animation.

  • April 10, 1999, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Iron Giant: I'm Ready & I Can't Wait.

    by Eric_Costello

    For years I have lamented the state of animation in America -- animation = for kids. "Adults" often see animation simply because their kids want to see it. Films like Hunchback -- which, despite its flaws contained some rather adult themes -- are derided by the press for being to "serious" for a kids film. Meanwhile, countries like Japan have citizens that are mature enough to accept drawings as acting, sketches as life, animation as movie. I'm glad Brad Bird's around. I like to think that we have a new generation of people and film fans in this country -- the Internet generation -- weened and grown on Japanimation, and ready to accept animation as an adult art form. The time is now. Iron Giant seems a great step in that direction. Every step of the way is a good step. I can't wait to see Iron Giant. I hope it's a success; but let's not leave it up to chance. LET'S MAKE IT A SUCCESS! -Eric

  • April 10, 1999, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Work of Sequential Art

    by Squid Eyeball

    It was immediately strange to see a "Warner Brothers cartoon" without Mel Blanc's voice when Tiny Toons started at the beginning of the decade. My sincere hope was that the spirit that allowed for its universal appeal was not lost with the passing of the first generation of Warner Brothers animated filmmakers (not that WB owns their souls or anything... and I'm pretty sure Friz Freleng is still alive, but still...). At any rate, I'm (needless to say) aniticipating this movie with bated breath, which means that I'll be kinda turning blue at the Phantom Menace premiere... still. I have one wry observation to foist upon an unreceptive audience: although the life-giving touch of the animators will be clearly felt (and is clearly visible in the trailers) with respect to the Phantom Menace, I am forced to wonder, along with many of you I'm sure, why that magical touch was somehow lacking in the re-incarnation of Sweet Jabba the Hutt in the Special Edition of Episode IV. (This pertains to Mr. Bird's discussion of the artistry of Jurassic Park as distinct from its technology.) By the way, I must also extend my congratulations to The Evil Dr. Moriarty for his astonishing and passionate works of Evil Journalism... you have my nomination for this year's Evil Pulitzer.

  • April 10, 1999, 1:21 p.m. CST

    TRAILER ONLINE & predictions for BO/critical

    by Wesley Snipes

    First and foremost, evil Sony's loews theatres website has the Iron Giant trailer in .MOV format now. They do their usual crap job in encoding it, but it's still a cool trailer. Or go to http://www.darkhorizons.com which has the trailer on the main news page. Second, does anyone think this movie will actually hit $100million? I mean, from everything I've heard about it, I hope it does become a hit and cause a flood of more mature-themed quality animation. However, if it's lucky, sold well and gets good word of mouth, it'll make $60million at best, I think. Anastasia hit $70million and all it had to compete against was the Little mermaid re-release. Plus it was in the Disney formula more or less. IG has none of that going for it, so it'll be a struggle. On top of that, I think many critics are still going to come at it thinking it's mainly a little kid's film and thus review in the same condescending manner..

  • April 10, 1999, 1:38 p.m. CST

    It IS a little kid's movie, just not a musical...

    by Ilvenshang

    OK, granted, I know more about this movie than some, mostly because of frequenting some sites that I can no longer find, and was able to puzzle together the storyline as it evolved. To explain why I consider the film plot such a travesty, I would have to do a blow by blow comparison of book and movie, and most of you probably don't want that level of potential spoilers. Suffice it to say, that the book is a coldly elegant yarn of titanic creatures that follow their best interests, not humanity's. The movie is just another boy and his pet robo-kaiju story (anyone here seen "Giant Robo"?) albeit drawn by Americans and set in the 1950's. And, speaking as a confirmed anime fan, I don't want to see the Yanks do anime knockoffs. I'd much rather they chart their own course. Unfortunately POE wasn't the ticket, and IMO neither IG nor Tarzan will succed at this either.

  • April 10, 1999, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Great Interview

    by Manaqua

    I'm dying to see this flick!!

  • April 10, 1999, 8:01 p.m. CST

    ATTENTION WARNERS NET DIVISION!!!

    by Martin Q Blank

    Could you please consider doing your own version of the Iron Giant trailer? The Loews version we've been watching is rather low quality (particularly in the darker scenes), and having seen your Wild Wild West and Matrix .mov file, we know you have the facilities to make great Quicktime 3 encoded trailers. And we keep hearing that this film is in CinemaScope, why not put out the trailer in it's proper ratio like you did for The Matrix? We would very much appreciate it.

  • April 10, 1999, 10:04 p.m. CST

    hey, lane

    by Spacey

    Make sure you check out my post in response to you in the Keanu X-men talk backs.

  • April 10, 1999, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Harry's Opinion of THE IRON GIANT trailer

    by Harry Knowles

    Alrighty everyone, Harry here, and man does the trailer like this look great (although SONY sure did try to make it look like shit with that grainy as hell terrible version of it.) I'm sold on the film now. This is the trailer that Moriarty told me made THE IRON GIANT look... lame. Well if that looks like the LAME trailer, than folks.... bring on the good one. Also, that Bugs Bunny leaning on the WARNER's logo... just... ya know... it didn't feel right for this trailer. I really didn't know what Moriarty was talking about when he said that the WB animated logo just didn't fit with this film, and he's right. As for this being a kid's film. Well... unfortunately... I've had some of this film hinted at to me by some friends (not Moriarty) with shall we say... a lack of descretion, and folks... the movie is OK for kids, but the film was made for us folks. That Joe Johnston designed robot is just.... soooooooo sweet looking. And ya know... I think I might miss his touch just a tad on STAR WARS EPISODE ONE. I mean... gosh... the man that designed Boba Fett ain't gonna take part in all of this? Anyway... I can't wait to see this trailer on the big screen. I mean... just look at it. The use of shadows, the fact that the robot doesn't look CG is... for me... an accomplishment of great scales. The kid doesn't look or sound annoying. You know... personally I'm hoping this movie touches that Harry that used to sit in awe and watch INVADERS FROM MARS, THE INVISIBLE KID, 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, ESCAPE FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. The great.... Kid in Fantasy Films. And for all of you, "it's a anime ripoff" folks.... Aaaaaaaaaah, who cares! Ya know... I loved GODZILLA VS MEGALON and I always wanted my very own JET JAGUAR... and that freckle faced kid with MAD magazine laying on his bedroom floor amiss the various superhero comics and FMFL mags... well... That's me (albeit shorter and skinnier) God I hope this movie transports me. I can't wait to buy the robot though! I know that much for sure

  • April 11, 1999, 3:50 p.m. CST

    The trailers' good stuff and bad stuff.

    by Prankster

    Even in the trailer, it didn't seem like the kid was one of those bland little perfect kids that usually pop up in this kind of movie. Actually, all things considered, how long has it been since an honest to God CHILD has been the hero of an animated film? Mostly we've been seeing teenagers in Disney flicks, and lately they've been getting even older. Anyway, the trailer for IG certainly bears out the "Calvin & Hobbes, but with a robot instead of a tiger" idea that I'm hearing...which is good. I'm also impressed with the animation, we don't get a lot of rotation and 3D showoffy-ness with the Giant, but if he really is CG then WOW! What a great job of integration. ****** On another note, there are a lot of elements we don't see in Disney movies...government agents, tanks, beatniks. Did you know that child endangerment is enough to give a movie a PG rating (unless it's a Disney film)? ******* A few complaints; I'd like to have seen more 50's stuff, which it seems to me sets the visual tone for the movie. Cadillacs, diners, what have you. That stuff is cool. Also, the trailer gives away what looks to be a fairly major spoiler at the end, which sucks. And I agree that it looks more "competant" than "brilliant". But let me remind you, WB has lousy luck with trailers and marketing. The LA Confidential trailer wasn't particularly memorable. They couldn't sell B & R, which was a lousy movie but should at least have had a good trailer. Still, for all that, the movies' strengths seemed to shine through.

  • April 11, 1999, 9:30 p.m. CST

    warner toons

    by LETHAL

    so warner are about four films in on thier animations. space jam the magic sword(its aussie name) king and i(is this film out? ,because i have not seen jack of it in australia)and now iron giant. this film sounds great, but the only mention i've heard is here and in wizards toon special . i personally now think its is a perfect time for Warners to start developing some ofthe dc comic characters for full budget animated films, Superman, aquaman and my personal favourite Green Lantern (kyle version). but not done in the tv style (its good but not for major films)

  • April 12, 1999, 12:58 a.m. CST

    MEDIOCROTY SUCKS

    by Buddyboy

    ...and Brad Bird knows it.

  • April 12, 1999, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Just saw trailer...wow...

    by Teko

    It's rare that a film's trailer gives me chills...goosebumps all over. This movie is a rare bright spot in the animated pablum that's graced theatres over the last few years, and I'm anxious to see it. Forget lining up for Phantom Menace...I'm lining up for Iron Giant...!

  • April 12, 1999, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Hey, Jive-T...

    by Moriarty

    ... I don't think you really got the point of what I was saying in my article, dude. Yes, I've seen many, many animated films, going all the way back to the clock tower scene in THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, in which 2D and 3D animation has been mixed. Until IRON GIANT, though, I'd never seen it done right. How hard is that to understand? Or are you just being willfully obtuse about the comments I wrote? "Moriarty" out.

  • April 12, 1999, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Story alterations...

    by Achilles

    I am really looking forward to this film. I just saw the trailer, and the Giant looks great! I will say that I am siding with Townshend on the story issue, though. Hughes book is really a children's book for adults, with a very touching emotional story. In the book, the Iron Man is blank slate, not knowing where he comes from or what his purpose is, only knowing that he doesn't want to suffer any more and above all, he wants a friend. Hogarth befriends him and then betrays him, leading him into the hands of fearful townspeople who want him destroyed, but ultimately comes to his rescue again. The Iron Man, of course goes on to save the world, but in manner that is clearly not in the movie. I suggest that everyone hit the local library and sit down to read Hughes' book (it will only take 30 minutes or so) and then judge for yourself. I just hope that they didn't deviate too much from the original story.

  • April 13, 1999, 12:16 a.m. CST

    Cheers

    by Walter Burns

    Thanks for the inverview. Am greatly looking forwards to this movie. With regards to 'overhyping', as pointed out by others, I would not even know about this film but for AICN. Anyone know if it's scheduled for release over in the UK ?

  • April 13, 1999, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Hey Moriarty, how about using your evil genius superpowers to co

    by Martin Q Blank

    This task should prove to be well within your ability. C'MON WARNERS!!! It's a great trailer we've been watching, but the Loews versions are UGLY!!! Why not make a proper QuickTime 3.0 encoded widescreen version of the trailer? We'd all love to see it! PS We know you can do it. We saw the trailers for The Matrix and (although not widescreen) Wild Wild West! PLEASE!!!

  • April 13, 1999, 11:23 a.m. CST

    llvenshang...

    by Rocqueja

    ...I'm not attacking you, just looking for clarification: How can it be anime done by americans when it is based on a book written in the 1950's long before anime (as a genre of animation) existed? Also, just because it has kids in it, does not make it a kid movie (South Park=kid cartoon?, Stand by Me=kid movie?).

  • April 13, 1999, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Iron Giant

    by newgrrl

    I had the pleasure of seeing an animatic of this film in a UCLA class. It was an amazing clip of Hogarth when he first discovers the giant at night. I also grew up loving animation and as an adult still love everything about it. I will be first in line to see this film and I'm sure I will pay to see it at the theatre more than once and will definately bring many adults to revel in the experience. I am also looking forward to a Giant toy!

  • May 7, 1999, 8:39 p.m. CST

    The Iron Giant

    by fisherman

    The movie has been screened for comic book convention people in New York. There is some kind of geekfest going on there this weekend and an editor I know at Eon was invited to see it in Warner's screening room in New York. The word is that this movie is beyond anything that has been seen in anomation in years. That is is having the kind of effect on audiences that The Matrix had. But the biggest piece of info to come out of this screening, which was introduced by Brad Bird, was that the geeks and some of the regular press there were talking about Bird as the director of a future animated Star Wars project -- due to the fact that George Lucas had seen the film and begun talks with him. Sure this could be bullshit but with the reactions that the movie has been getting, why not? I for one can not wait to see it to judge for myself.

  • July 19, 2006, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Yo ho ho! Iron Giant!

    by Wolfpack

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