The Iron Giant would have been a fine capstone to Brad Bird’s career as a writer and director of animated films. But, no. He was just getting started. Really, a great animated film equaled only by Bird’s other films, the Pixar oeuvre, Miyazaki, maybe the occasional Disney film, and perhaps a few stray features here and there.
Seeing “The Iron Giant” in a theater again shortly after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the scene where the Giant jumps into a lake causing a huge wave that washes two of the characters and a slew of fish onto a roadway and into a tree affected the audience in ways I’m sure Bird never intended. It was a bit unsettling.