Euphoria #24: O, Superman!


This climactic sequence from THE IRON GIANT is suggested for its euphoric, nay, CATHARTIC qualities, by comic book guy Mike Cavallaro. That Riding to the Rescue moment is something we haven’t seen that much of here at Cinema Euphoria, but it must be one of the earliest euphoric feelings we experience as kids-at-the-movies (since kids get exposed to adventure movies A LOT).

Sadly, my first cinema outing was less than joyous — I was taken to see DR. DOLITTLE as a tot (Sexy Rexy, not Eddie Murphy), and began to cry as soon as the lights dimmed. Nobody had told me it would get dark.

But soon enough I was thrilling to Richard Lester’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS and FOUR MUSKETEERS (I can still recall a boy behind me gasping “Cor, right through him!” as D’Artagnon impales his foe at the end), James Bond and Godzilla (how we cheered at those Saturday matinees, as perspiring Japanese extras slugged it out at 100fps across destructible Tokyo dioramas) and, treasured memory, the 1933 KING KONG, revived at Edinburgh’s late-lamented Odeon, Clerk Street.

got this poster as a kid

I like Brad Bird. His humans can be kind of bland sometimes, but each of his features has had surprising virtues (great use of props in RATATOUILLE), and they provide alternatives, at least to a degree, to the Disney tradition which has dominated and stagnated for too long. I especially like the fact that B.B. writes and directs solo, an almost unheard-of thing in animated feature films. Yet his movies are more dense with ideas and gags and plotlines than most of the other ‘toons whose writers and directors work in teams, “like piano movers”.

I also like, at a safe distance, the powerhouse ego working away in the man. Asked about T.I.G.’s box-office failure, Bird shrugged it off by observing that DUMBO had been a box-office disappointment too. That kind of self-confidence must be fun to have!


However — time to re-explain the mission statement here: little moments that make you happy. No more climaxes, big action sequences and cathartic triumphs (although there are some already suggested which may run). Let’s keep some mystery to it! All suggestions are welcome, however — let’s hear from some lurkers.

6 Responses to “Euphoria #24: O, Superman!”

  1. My wife and I are such suckers for that movie that we both find ourselves tearing up every time we see that scene.

  2. It IS lovely.

    I had a strange encounter with that film while postproducing my short Cry For Bobo. Actor Gavin Mitchell met me for drinks, got me very drunk, took me on a wild cab ride through a thunderstorm (we both started quoting King Lear in an involunantary fashion) to the home of some people unknown to me, where we looked at the garden and drank more. Then onto his place, where he forcibly showed me The Iron Giant (which, as I said, I had already seen) until it was about 3am, I think.

    The next day he woke me and asked what time I was supposed to be at the dubbing studio. “About 9.” “Well,” he said, “you won’t be there.”


    Pretty soon we’ll probably start asking for Cinema Lacrimosae, or whatever I decide to call it: scenes that make you cry.

  3. There’s something about the scale of the cinema experience that seems to heighten our emotional response isn’t there? One that gets me every time is the famous edit in 2001; A Space Odyssey where the ape, triumphant (euphoric even) flings the bone into the air for it to become a satellite floating in stately orbit. Cue big lump in the throat and welling of the eyes at the greatness of it all. Actually, when I saw the re-released, restored version at The Curzon, Mayfair in 2001 I began to lose it from the first frame when the opening throb of Thus Spake Zarathrustra announced itself. It’s all a childhood thing. Like Life on Mars. And yes, The Iron Giant gets me too.

    2001 is a film that has haunted me every since I was taken to see it in glorious Cinerama (I think) at the old Colosseum in Glasgow’s Gorbals (now a Bingo Hall I think) in 1968 as a five year old. Its images seared themselves onto my consciousness. In 2006 I was lucky enough to attend a screening of a new print at St Kilda’s Astor Theatre here in glorious, cinema-filled Melbourne and met Keir Dullea. He was charming, courteous and patient as was his wife who chatted with us about the art galleries they’d visited.

    David, your blog is like some Elysian afterlife. Thank you.


  4. Thank YOU!

    I’m going to stick that great transition up THIS WEEK, it’s well worth blogging about.

    Wow, I can’t imagine what seen 2001 at aged 5 would do to a person. Kubrick was happy to note that children “got” the film better than many adults. He noted that some critics didn’t understand the references to “going to Typhus”, assuming that Typhus must be some kind of planet somewhere (astronomical ignorance among adults is shocking!) But kids got it, and asked how they knew the man was going to the moon, responded, “Because I SAW it!”

    And yes, Cinerama is right.

  5. Matthew McConkey Says:

    Just wanted to sat how much I enjoy your blog and that if I picked a Euphoric Moment, it would be the opening of The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, where we’re viewing from overhead as umbrellas start opening. It always seems to make me think of Len Lye’s animations too, which is a good thing in my opinion.

  6. Good one! I can get that online easily. Watch out for it in the coming week.

    Len Lye is a wizz, should try to link to some of his stuff too.

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