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This gentle reworking of Ted Hughes's 1968 novella was the unseen gem of 1999. Hogarth, a young boy who lives in the Maine woods during the cold war, befriends a giant robot. As with E.T., the iron giant is a misunderstood outsider who becomes a child's best friend, and Hogarth does his best to hide the massive figure from his mom (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) and the local scrap-yard beatnik (Harry Connick Jr.). Soon the suspicions of neighbors and a government agent (Christopher McDonald) spell trouble.
With no songs, no sidekicks, and no cheap ending,The Iron Giant is a refreshing change-- like an off-Broadway production compared to the glitz of Disney's annual animated extravaganzas. Director Brad Bird may haveFamily Dog andThe Simpsons to his credit, but this film doesn't have that brand of scatological humor. As with the best family entertainments, there are gags that adults will howl at while the kids are watching something else (see Bird's interpretation of cold war propaganda). And the star is one cool piece of animated magic. Voiced by Vin Diesel (Saving Private Ryan's hulking Private Caparzo) and filled with more gadgets than a Swiss army knife, the giant is a grand thing to behold. And like another famous cinema tin man, our hero--and the movie--has heart. Superb entertainment for ages 5 and up.--Doug Thomas
good Well, I saw this movie in the theater, and was surprised to not be disapointed with it. Disney is one of those companies that it really is hard to make a bad movie (at least animation/cartoon).
It is a well-delivered movie with bits and pieces of humor in it, but mainly seriousness. A very 'touching' story. The ending is very powerful and would suggest a sequel, though, to my knowledge, there hasn't been any.
Years later, I remember a great movie I saw this movie in 2000, so I don't remember much about its' plot. But what I can say is I remember perfectly how it made me feel. It kept me quiet for a few minutes, I was in awe. I couldn't believe an animated movie could have such a deep message. I remember the giant's voice; it was so moving; definitely Vin Diesel's best work in any genre. But why didn't people know what I was talking about when I told them how great this movie was? It's a shame so few people have gotten to experience what a magnificent piece of artwork The Iron Giant is. See it; you'll remember it...A LOST ANIMATED GEM! "The Iron Giant" was Brad Bird's debut animated feature, several years before he created "The Incredibles" (which happens to be the best animated movie I've ever seen). I'd not heard of this movie or the original story, a children's novel by the late and renowned British poet Ted Hughes. Bird, however, is one of the very few animators who can write and tell a story with a genuine human touch. Set in a wryly named Downeast Maine hamlet called Rockwell, this is an unusual mix- part boy-and-pet fable, part '50s-style sci-fi/Cold War thriller with some gentle humor added. The main character, a friendly red-haired boy named Hogarth Hughes, is not only raised by a single mom (the waitress at the town diner) but the kid who finds a mysterious 50-foot robot in the woods... and helps him become not a man-eating monster, but a "friendly giant". He also keeps the secret from not only the townies, but a glib FBI agent who happens to rent a room in his house. A well-done mix of old-fashioned hand-drawn designs (with good '50s decor) and the computer-driven Giant make for a nice transition between the classic Disney-style look and the flashy CGI era. Sequences involving the Giant, who can put himself together in seconds, are just geeky enough- this is a human-scale movie, not a high-tech extravaganza. The character mix is also interesting and not typical '50s white-bread, especially the laid-back, beatnik-style scrap yard owner, Dean McCubbin (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) Connick is the biggest name among the voice cast, which includes a down-to-earth Jennifer Aniston as Hogarth's waitress mom, a caffeinated Christopher McDonald as the true-believer FBI man Mansley, and even the salty M. Emmet Walsh as the old salt who stumbles upon the seaborne Giant. But the best voice work belongs to an impressive child actor from San Francisco, Eli Marienthal, who gives Hogarth his warm, empathetic quality and personality that's rare in a cartoon kid (or a live-action one). Don't forget Vin Diesel's perfect mechanical grunts as Hogarth teaches the Giant to talk! Even the music and sound effects are subtle, rather than splashy. Michael Kamen's moody, symphonic score is unusual- and classy- for animation, and a few well-chosen rock n'roll oldies (notably "Searchin'" by the Coasters) are added, yet neither overwhelms. This is a story, not a "Shrek"-style pastiche, and it shows. "The Iron Giant" isn't just a sci-fi tribute, but a thoughtful fable with a central theme of friendship and self- guidance. Its surprising, and touching, finale, like the entire movie, is life-affirming without ever getting gooey or preachy. I can see why this movie slipped through the cracks on release. Studio politics is one thing, but the nature of "The Iron Giant"- not quite fantasy, not quite high-tech- is hard to peg. What it is, though, is one of the nicest family-friendly movies I've seen in a while. I saw the older DVD version, but if the great success of "The Incredibles" gets others, like me, to check out Bird's other work, they'll discover a story that's not easy to pull off, animated or live. "The Iron Giant" deserves its reputation as a lost animated gem!