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A Love Letter to Animation from 'The Iron Giant' Director Brad Bird

'The Iron Giant,' 'Incredibles,' and 'Ratatouille' director explains why the medium is so misunderstood, and why it can be so powerful.
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Animation heavyweight Brad Bird dishes wisdom and explains why he loves animation in a new film essay from Kees van Dijkhuizen, Jr. that will strum the heart strings of anyone who loves cartoons.

The director, whose first feature is the beloved cult film The Iron Giant (1999) and second is the blockbuster smash hit The Incredibles (2004), lays down advice sourced from film commentaries and BTS documentaries about why some cartoons fall flat. Meanwhile, his most relevant scenes parade in the background, expertly cut by Dijkhuizen, Jr. "The mistake that people often make with animated films is that they love the gravity-defying aspect of it," he says, while characters from The Incredibles crash a burning plane into the sea. "But if you defy gravity and then later on need to feel danger, you have a really hard time convincing the audience."


At one point, Bird cites animation's true strength as being able to present, "How things FEEL rather than how things ARE." Since directing 2007's Ratatouille, he's moved into live action films like Mission Impossibe: Ghost Protocol (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015) but maybe that focus on feelings is why he's returning to animation. According to IMDb, his only planned feature-length projects are The Incredibles 2 in 2018 and a Pixar film about the 1906 San Frascisco earthquake. Watch Dijkhuizen, Jr.'s ode to Bird's philosophy below to get stoked.

See more of Kees van Dijkhuizen, Jr's work on Vimeo.


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