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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 May 19, 2004
When most people think of animated movies they usually think one of two things---kiddy fodder or Disney. Rarely does an animated movie appeal to anything but children, and rarely does any other studio besides Disney put out anything worth viewing. Even Disney cannot seem to master their patented, one-dimensional creations any longer, leaving them nearly lifeless at the mercy of Pixar. So, who would have thought that a little movie titled "The Iron Giant" from Warner Bros. could trump them both? Beats the heck outta me...yet, somehow it makes sense.
The age of the old Disney "magic" seems to be almost completely dead---murdered by the increasing number of pop culture references, dirty jokes, and sarcastic comments that are becoming a staple, if not a MUST, for animated features today. And even though Pixar has mastered that aforementioned art so well that adults are often more attracted to their movies than children, there still is something missing. You can add all the humor and CGI effects in the world, but you can't fabricate heart.
"The Iron Giant" isn't what it appears to be. From a distance, it looks like your run-of-the-mill cartoon---boy finds giant, giant turns out to be good, giant is misunderstood by everyone but boy, problem resolved in climatic hero sequence, everyone lives happily ever after---little substance, right? Wrong. It's way more than a cutesy corn-fest; "The Iron Giant" actually delves right into some of the biggest problems of our society.
Set in the 1950's, after WWII, when the air reeked with cold war sentiments, "The Iron Giant" manages to deal with the preposterous goings-on of entire decades worth of history during the 87 minutes of this clever and engaging film. The whole story is centered upon the ignorant "shoot first, ask questions later" belief system that was unbelievably prevalent during the cold war. Not only that, but the movie pinpoints the mentality in which the use of guns is a panacea to "protect" human existence, when in all actuality, they only destroy it before it can even begin.
It is quite possible that kids might not read as much into this movie, though...unless they have an unprecedented knowledge of the time period or society, in general. That's why it is incredible. It satisfies all ages but in an intelligent, classy manner. Kids will view "The Iron Giant" and become completely transfixed by the giant iron dude on the screen, while adults can pick up on subtle humor and meaningful subtext as they too are enamored by the characters. Also, the adult characters act and speak (not limiting themselves to G-rated language) like real people...but don't expect the vulgar innuendos of some other "kid-friendly" blockbusters. The dialogue here is actually appropriate in context, so instead of just throwing in some cursing for "cool factor", this movie's realism is strengthened by it.
I have never seen a better acted (or scripted) animated movie. The boy, Hogarth Hughes, is instantly loveable for his wide-eyed enthusiasm, impish charm, and quick wit. Hogarth's mother (Jennifer Aniston) is an amazing addition to the movie because she offers a dose of reality that stereotypical cartoon moms do not have---a single mom trying to maintain her son and home by working a dead-end job at a diner. Then there's Dean (Harry Connick Jr.), the resident cool, free-thinking hipster, who befriends Hogarth and gives him and the giant a safe haven while becoming more and more of a father figure throughout the movie. And of course there's Giant, who is about as impossible to like as a super-sized puppy...well, except when he snaps...
Even the villain in this movie is likeable (because great villains should be). Kent Mansley (Christopher MacDonald), the intruding government agent, is so hilarious in an understated way in almost every scene; it's hard not to like him a little. Calling Hogarth everything from "Champ" to "Slugger" in attempt to him win over into confessing his knowledge of the giant, Kent Mansley is the epitome of a charming, yet calculating numbskull.
"The Iron Giant" may not side-splitting, it may not be a tried-and-true cartoon love story, and it may not be an extravagant tale of adventure and magic...but jokes grow old, sugar-coated love creates cavities, and long journeys are tiresome. What the "Giant" has is genuine, real, and is worth more than a thousand cookie-cutter laughs.
P.S. The army general, (John Mahoney), is a great supporting character. His interactions with Mansley are not to be overlooked---"Where's the giant, Mansley?!"
on January 31, 2004
This movie is a beautiful piece of art(something Harry Connick Jr.s character would love to hear). It's very very sad Warner Bros has been beaten by Disney, who are cheap and only do CGI movies now. I prefer to see hand-drawn work! The Iron Giant does have some CGI but you can't barely notice it and that's as far as I'll go with CGI animated movies. And Warner Bros has stuck to the old fashion never lets you down pencil and paper. And for this I love them entirely! This movie didn't make a lot of money or get a lot of hype because Disney and their cheap CGI movie Toy Story 2(which doesn't hold a flame to The Iron Giant). And speaking of Disney overshadowing the GREAT Warner Bros, they also did this when Warner Bros released in theatres "Cats Don't Dance"(Another AWESOME movie!)and Disney released the very stupid and all wrong Hercules!(Did they even read about Hercules!? It looks like they just read about 2 things on him and made up the rest of the story which by the way was really lame!) My whole family LOVES this movie. It does have some adult humor but not a lot nor do they take it too far that is no longer is appropriate for kids or the movie itself. This movie makes you cry(unless you have absolutley no feelings!), laugh, smile, and look in awe. This is a classic and always will be, something Finding Nemo, Bugs Life, and Toy Story will not be! It deserves more than 5 stars, it deserves a million!
on January 6, 2004
When I saw the trailer for this film I immediately thought "Kid's Movie." While there is plenty here for them, there is also an abundance of witty dialogue and comic situations that adults should love as well. My one and only complaint comes from an early moment in the film when the Iron Giant gets tangled in a mess of electrical wires, the current still surging through them. Hogarth saves the robot, thus making a friend of him, by pulling down on a huge "on/off" switch at the town's power station. I could not imagine how many vandals and delinquents would love to see that kind of switch, with the words "on" and "off" clearly printed in large colored letters, in the middle of a heavily wooded area with maximum concealment. That plot discrepency laid aside, the rest of the film flows without flaw, and it pains me to point out the one and only part which just didn't make any sense. I do realize this is a story about a giant robot from outer space, so I will let it slide (note the 5-star-rating). The mixture of classic-style animation and computer animation melds surprisingly well, and is both inventive and extraordinary. I was reluctant to rent this movie when it hit the video store shelves but now I own it. This film is great for both kids and kids-at-heart. A great story with a marvelous ending.
on December 5, 2003
I finally saw this on the cartoon network's annual Thanksgiving Iron Giant marathon. I'm sooo glad I did. I didn't know an animated movie could be this good and not have Disney written all over it! It was such a departure from the saccharine laden kiddie movies of late. A lonely boy with a working mom takes his camera out to the woods one evening and what does he see? A 60 story iron giant. Later, the two become inseparable. The movie is chock full of sight gags even an adult will find howlingly funny. Not only is the giant a huge swiss army knife, he can repair himself too. Listen for familiar voices. Harry Connick Jr. John Mahoney from Tv's Frasier as a gung ho general Patton wannabe, and Chris Macdonald as the annoying government agent who will stop short at nuclear war just to rid the world of the gentle iron giant. Also, listen for Vin Diesal as the voice of the giant...way before he became famous and too big for nothing but 20 million dollar paychecks! This movie touches on the lessons of friendship, sacrifice, and the unwavering faith of a child. The animation and effects are stunning and it was such a relief not to hear someone break out into song. A definate must have... I'm definately getting this on DVD!!!