Waaaay back in 1999, a movie came out that flew under everyone's radar, a modern classic which blossomed in my heart into one of an absolute favourites. It is sweet, it is touching, and it is filled with a wonderful messages. It is called the Iron Giant.
Set in the 1957, during the height of Cold War paranoia, a lonely boy in a small town discovers and befriends something stranded here from the stars. It is a giant childlike robot who chomps down on anything metal lying around. Cars are nice. But a government agent is hot on their trail, all while the boy helps his new pet robot recover it's memory. And everything comes together in the end!
We start off with the giant, who conveys so much emotions to us with so little facial features, and with a mechanized voice provided by Vin Diesel, we love and care for this strange visitor. Next is the boy Hogarth, who is smart and likeable, but with a loneliness so palpable you yearn to give him a hug. Dean is a beatnik, an artist, and the coolest dude you could ever want to hang out with. But he should never have given Hogarth coffee. These three are magnificent together!
As Hogarth tells the Giant, you can choose who you want to be. And this critical idea propels us all through the movie, and is especially important at the conclusion. Take this message to heart, see the wonderment of the ending, and try to keep your eyes dry. The Iron Giant chooses. And chooses wisely.
The Iron Giant is a charming, touching movie that will cause you to think. Loosely based on the children's book by Ted Hughes, filmmaker Brad Bird from The Incredibles provides us with something mesmerizing. It is simply beautiful.
on December 3, 2010
One of the best animated works to come out of any of the major film studios. Just over 10 years old, it still speaks to both children and adults. Excellent humour, though it doesn't overpower the story. The animation is definitely 'cartoonish', but it doesn't hinder the characters from becoming very real. It's a poignant reminder of simpler times, yet set against the backdrop of cold war anxieties. It doesn't pull any punches in its portrayal of small-town life in the late-50's, irrepressible youth, "national security paranoia", the answers to some timeless life-questions including the importance of actually chewing one's food.
It's just so "on target" with so many of it's portrayals. Hogarth 'super-stuffing' twinkies and watching 50's horror movies off the aerial just makes me laugh and laugh.
The ending doesn't pull any punches either. Superbly done. Pass the tissues.
It's too bad it didn't get better press in the theatres. It could have easily been a runaway blockbuster, setting the standard for animated stories for years to come instead of being mostly overlooked.
on December 19, 2004
I have just loved The Iron Giant after seeing it in theatres 5 years ago. With it's heart, wit and engrossing story, it far surpasses anything to come out of Disney or Dreamworks. It truly is a pity that Warner Bros. did not promote it better than they did. A definite must for any DVD collection with tons of enjoyment for both the kids and the parents.
on February 9, 2011
There are very few movies today that require the attention of men, sure every few months a new title comes out insulting our intelligence and forcing us to relive the same 4 actions scenes time and time again but is that what we as a collective audience want to be known for. We should be demanding more substance. In a time where computer graphic saturated 3D eye orgasms are a weekly release occurrence, we should be demanding movies with thick plots and deep characters.
The Iron Giant delivers what we need in cinema, it delivers what our sons and daughters should also learn to demand as future movie goers. This hand drawn animation isn't just for kids though, the themes present are extremely complex and the humour is sometimes too subtle for a much younger audiance, but... Giant robots for the kids (and inner children) and heavy complex plot points for the adults.
This movie is a classic, we should all have it somewhere on our shelves and kept in our hard drives, and preserved. It's a story about going against what you are designed to do, it's about sacrifice and taking responsibility for who we are, it's about growing up and it's about staying youthful enough to always believe in the impossible and the unlikely.
I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys the 3D and heavy visual effects of the mainstream blockbusters, and at the same time misses the substance heavy children's movies of yesteryears.
While the story is familiar (kid meets alien/ monster/ outsider, and
befriends them, understanding they're not the threat the grown up world
thinks), Brad Bird brings humor, freshness and heart to the sub-genre
that lets this transcend into a terrific movie.
Set in a cold-war paranoid U.S. of 1957, the titular creature cash
lands from outer- space, with a knock on his giant metal head leaving
him with amnesia about his purpose or history. After being saved by a 9
year old boy, a series of at first comic, then later more serious
There's some very funny jabs at the cold war mentality, and some
terrific, unusual supporting characters, including a mom more
interesting and complex than you find in most cartoons, and a local
wanna-be beatnik artist who joins in to take the giant iron man's
I love the look they designed for the Iron Giant himself, there's
something wonderfully retro and almost art deco about him, and they do
a great job of bringing heart and emotion to this gigantic metal
By the end I was shocked at how moved I found myself. A lovely, well
told, fun fairy tale that is as much for adults as for kids.
on July 4, 2004
First off for those of you who complain about this movie being inapproprate for your 6 or 7 year old you need to read the MPAA ratings on these movies before you get it. This movie is rated PG, which almost always means it will be a bit more sophisticated content than good for the very young. That being said The Iron Giant is an incredibly well done film that transcends the standards we have seen for American made animated movies over the past 20 years (at least).
The plot premise itself seems simple enough with the whole "boy and his misunderstood friend" thing and you might even consider it done enough with movies like E.T., Old Yeller, and just about any other movie about a boy making friends with something else. Still this tired premise has been given a VERY fresh approach to it and that's the destinction. This movie has an excellent script, excellent animation, top notch voice acting, and an almost perfect mix of computer animation and traditional cell animation. A far departure from the substandard offerings Disney has made (aside from the Pixar productions).
To be fair Disney has always shot for the G rating and with that comes limitations. The Iron Giant shoots for a wider audience with a PG rating, which in my opinion makes the movie that much better. So yes there is a little bit of moderate bad language and even a death (no worse than Disney's Bambi). PG language and violence aside the content is well thought out and gives the adult viewer enough to enjoy while the kids still have a blast.
The Iron Giant is a killer animated movie that will thrill any science fiction fan and please just about anybody looking for a well executed and heart warming movie.
on March 6, 2003
One day during the usual boring times that can come with summer, there was an all day marathon of "The Iron Giant" featured on the cartoon network. Wondering to myself that if a movie is to be on for 24 hours straight that it must be worth seeing no matter what (look at the classic like 'A Christmas Story' being played 24 hours and tell me you haven't seen it at least once). I watched for the next showing and sat down and watched it. I was immediately impressed to see the animation had its own style, it was neither Disney, nor trying too hard to be realistic (such as the almost caricature head shape of Mansley). Next, the movie does not fail in the least bit to deliver convincing voice overs from the actors, Jennifer Anniston does a great job of bringing her character to life and one even forgets that she is playing the part. The relationship that develops between the boy and the robot becomes very strong. Some deeper meanings present in the movie are the robot being a tool of destruction, yet being completely oblivious (and therefore innocent) to its powers. This movie cannot simply be brushed aside as a cartoon, it is an incredible movie, and you may even forget that's what you are actually watching.
on November 12, 2001
First off I should admit I hate cartoons, secondly I *never* cry over movies... for years I made fun of the hubby for both, so it was a big surprise for both of us after seeing this movie and me actually sobbing uncontrollably out loud! Who ever would've suspected that a robot could display such emotion and to top it off an animated robot? But this Iron Giant does just that and incredibly well -the animation, the voice, the story, all done so well. I was touched by this movie like I've never been and I never thought I would be able to sit through an animated "kiddie" movie. This one's a definite must see for everyone. I don't know how I missed it in the theaters, but I can guarantee if I had seen it in the theaters no one would've missed me -I'd have been the one standing up applauding and shouting "woohoo!", something else I "never" do (haha!) but with this one I wouldn't have been able to help myself. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have been noticed because I'm sure the rest of the crowd would've been up applauding right along with me. I laughed, I cried, I must see it again and again! (another thing I never do...) I could go on and on about the details of this movie, but I'd rather everyone go rent this movie and see them for themselves -you won't regret it, this one's good for the soul.
on August 29, 2000
Due to horrendous advertising that buried most of the movie's charms, most people think this movie is a b-grade kiddie flick. But ignore the brainless trailers and the awful extreme-sport ad campaign that accompanied the video release, and you'll be rewarded with an astonishing film.
The Iron Giant is complex and sophisticated enough to be a live-action movie, indeed more complex and sophisticated than the movies that trounced it at the box office (I'm talking to you, Inspector Gadget). It is a remarkable achievement of all the elements of a movie working at their very best.
The visuals are astounding. The script is funny without resorting to cheap laughs. The characters are well-rounded. The voice talents are ideal, from the Giant's rumble to Hogarth's wide-eyed wonder (for a welcome change, a pre-adolescent boy does the voice instead of someone trying to sound like one).
Most interestingly, the movie makes such a dynamic, empathic character of the titular hunk of metal that we genuinely care about his fate. At the film's climactic scene, I was ashamed at the tears running down my face, until I saw that my three friends (all of us twenty-something, manly guys) were misty-eyed as well.
Anyone over the age of 8 will love this film. If you don't like animation, try this on for size. If you love all types of animation, see it NOW. Even though the film's marketing department apparently doesn't want you to see it, you'll be glad you did.
on May 29, 2000
The sentiment behind Hughes short story, The Iron Man, isn't new in cinematic terms. You need to only look at Frankenstein, King Kong and ET to see that. But as the basis for a full-length children's cartoon it feels as fresh as a daisy. While a number of stock visual cliches are adhered to, it is the combination of the films subject matter, dialogue and dramatis personae that makes it so intermediate and winning. Yet director Brad Bird has chosen to move Hughes story back in time - to the paranoiac October of 1957 when the Russians launched the first chunk of man-made metal into space. This manoveuvre serves the story very well, particularly the mis en scene, as the background detail builds the atmosphere of awe, distrust and fear as mankind enters a new era - the Space Age.
Like every normal kid, Hogarth Hughes is obsessed by the opportunites offered by science fiction, the possibility of an alien takeover or, at the very least, an attack from outer-space. The original story, which the late Poet Laureate had set in England, saw the innocent Titan of the title emerge from the sea, here he is a visitor from another galaxy. But the theme is the same: a formidable-looking giant is befriended by a fearless little boy. Here, though, the 50-foot, metal-devouring robot appears almost in answer to the Sputniks launch, being an extraterrestrial 'weapon' programmed to kill. But, if this sound like a dilution of Robot Cop, let's set the record straight. The giant is an innocent, a machine that, through the wonders of the imagination, has been bestowed with a soul. And it is through the intrepid friendship of little Hogarth that the creature turns its lethal potential to the greater good.
Its feel-good message apart, The Iron Giant works so well because its not afraid to to talk to kids on their own terms. The dialogue is free from the anodunne naffness of Disney-speak and the characters, particuarly a Beat-nik voiced by Harry Conick Jr, are both credible and down-to-earth. A modern classic, The Iron Giant is one cartoon that will enthral children without making adults gag. Makes up for the terrible book.