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The Iron Giant
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Iron Giant More at IMDbPro »

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216 out of 239 people found the following review useful:

a masterpiece, plain and simple

10/10
Author: dpenny (dpenny@nf.sympatico.ca) from St. John's, Newfoundland
29 December 1999

I'm 25 years old. I have no children. So why am I praising a 'kid's movie' which nobody saw? Because I have never seen a film pack the emotional wallop 'The Iron Giant' provided.

The film's plot is similar to 'E.T.' - a young boy meets an alien robot from outer space, who is stranded on earth, and runs afoul of paranoid government agents. Not to knock the Spielberg film, but what makes 'The Iron Giant' the better film is that the young boy is the teacher. It is he who has to teach the Giant about the beauty of life, the difference between good and evil, and choices we have to make. The Iron Giant, it turns out, is a weapon, who has to struggle against his own nature. The film has an obvious (and timely) gun control message, but its real message is about the choice we make when dealing with other people. We can use our powers for good or lash out at everyone around us.

I dare not give away the climax. All I will say is that it features a sacrifice absolutely breaktaking and emotionally shattering (albeit somewhat blunted by the ending). The animation is gorgeous, Michael Kamen's score is perfect, and the film beautifully evokes the 1950s.

Sadly, poor marketing kept audiences away in droves. All I can say is, to heck with the box office gross. Despite Warner's appearant desire to pretend the film never existed, the word is getting around about what a magical film this is, and I have no doubt it will join 'It's a Wonderful Life' as a film which bombed in theatres but became a classic over the years. See it now, so you can say you discovered it before everyone else did.

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159 out of 186 people found the following review useful:

YES!!!!! NO SONG OR DANCE NUMBERS!!!!!!

10/10
Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
6 August 1999

What a GREAT movie! Not just for kids, but adults as well. Kids will love it on one level, and adults will love it on another level. Even adults who are not parents will love it!

There's humor, there's action, there's nostalgia, there's the perfect capture of being a child, there are positive messages (be yourself, don't kill, etc.), there's satire, there are adults who are not stupid and not comic relief....there's GREAT WRITING!

AND NO SONG AND DANCE NUMBERS! Also, there are NO COMIC-RELIEF ANIMAL SIDEKICKS! Take that, Disney!

I know some people might be resisting this movie, because it looks like it's aimed for kids - and they might be expecting a Disney clone (and we all know the bad results of Disney wannabes).....but TRUST ME. Give this movie a chance - you'll love it!

Is there ANYTHING wrong with it? Well, the only thing that bugged me (just a little) were some close-ups of the characters - these certain close-ups had a "sketchy" look a la the movies "We're Back!" and "Balto".

Fortunately, there's very little of this. Other than that - this is a PERFECT MOVIE!

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122 out of 133 people found the following review useful:

The Best of Two Worlds: Adult and Kid

10/10
Author: Figaro-6 from Toronto, Canada
9 August 1999

All too often, "family films" are only infantile, simplistic formulas with a few self-referential and pop-culture jokes thrown in to try and keep adults awake. But then along comes something like "The Iron Giant", which is sophisticated enough to demand respect while maintaining a mythic and pure-hearted tone that actually does appeal to the kid in everybody.

"The Iron Giant" is refreshingly non-Disney in no end of ways. Characters seem real and chosen to fit the story, instead of being a superficial reshuffling of an old formula. The animation definitely has its eye-popping moments, but there are also scenes of great wonderment, pathos, and humour that only top-drawer animation can convey. The Giant itself is a great character, who only becomes MORE interesting as the film continues (another huge break from Disney). No scene is wasted in this film, either; every set piece, even the really funny ones, helps either to establish the "world" of the movie, or to advance the plot. At no time do you feel that you are merely waiting for the story to crank up again.

"The Iron Giant" is funny, exhilarating, and touching as well. It's sad to see it failing at the box office, as a blunt reminder that the success of films is often in direct proportion to their publicity budget. Hopefully, though, word-of-mouth will come to its rescue. Go see it! Tell your friends! Then go again! (Repeat as necessary.)

P.S. I find myself comparing the Iron Giant character to Martin Donovan's character in "Amateur". If there is anyone else on earth who has seen both films you may wish to entertain the notion yourself.

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108 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

A delightful surprise

Author: Gouda-3
11 August 1999

"The Iron Giant" is the kind of animated film you wish there was more of. It respects the audience's intelligence, it has genuine emotion without resorting to schmaltz, and best of all it balances fantasy (well, science fiction) with believability. I think Warner Brothers animation has out-Disneyed Disney by adding thoughtful writing to clean, understated animation. What a concept!

The story is deceptively simple: Iron Giant falls from the sky at the dawn of the Space Race and befriends a young boy. But within that framework we get a double story, one for the grown ups and one for the kids, but the message is essentially the same one: paranoia and violence begets violence. I appreciate very much, as others who have commented, that no one burst into incongruous song and that there were no cutesy animal sidekicks. I should add that there were no clever yet implausible plot twists, nor were there any stock characters. The bad guy gets a little overheated, true, but he is never the embodiment of all things evil. The townspeople are your average small town Americans, not bumpkins. Mom is, well, mom-ish, caring but neither shrewish nor prone to whimpering outbursts. And our hero is plucky but not annoyingly precocious.

A BIG plus for this film is how well it weds the computer animation to the hand-drawn animation, a feat that the Big Mouse hasn't mastered yet. Even as recently as "Tarzan" it is glaringly apparent what parts are computer graphics and which aren't, and the contrast is very distracting. "The Iron Giant" makes a virtue of streamlined animation that draws your eye to the beauty of its color and motion.

It was a very VERY distinct and unusual pleasure to be treated to a film such as this. Give us more . . . please!

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67 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

An Absolute Wonder Which Cherishes Its Influences - The Best Animated Feature Ever !

10/10
Author: Donald J. Lamb from Philadelphia, PA
22 January 2000

Animated movies have long been considered strictly for children. The old Disney classics that started it all are indeed aimed at kids, but are still very watchable, even for adults. With the advent of TOY STORY and its countless mimics, animated feature films have taken long strides to be considered worthy of serious attention. THE IRON GIANT is just such an animated piece. The 87 minute wonder is, to put it mildly, incredible. Everything about it is good. I've also never seen so many influences and references in an animated film before.

This is a movie with a heart the size of the title character. A gentle, gigantic robot is rocketed to earth and befriends a 10 year old boy. The kid has a single mother (voiced nicely by Jennifer Aniston) and he is just looking for a friend, whether it be a squirrel, or even a 50 foot tall machine. The familiar premise is obviously out of Spielberg's E.T. One scene even has the giant reaching out his finger to the boy in much the same way ET did to 10 year old Elliott when he departed this earth. E.T. was an out of this world fantasy that took place on this earth. Here, it is animated and almost just as effective.

IRON GIANT takes place during 1957 in a small town in Maine. The 1950's was a time when the American public was fearful of atomic bombs and the possibility of alien life off the earth. Live-action sci-fi films of the 1950's always depicted the arrival of "dangerous" alien life and our efforts to destroy it. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is an influence on this film for evident reasons. Ultimately, the characters in that classic learn from the extra-terrestrial being and realize the dangers of the A-Bomb. It is amazing to see an animated feature which can relay this same type of message some 50 years later.

A beautiful and touching ode to BAMBI is witnessed about halfway through. It also brings back some tearful moments from the key scene in that great, hand-drawn film. Here, we see both hand-drawn imagery coupled with a computer-generated "iron giant". The title character is actually a 3D composition done digitally, mixed with the 2D action surrounding him. There are some highly imaginative shots of the robot mixing in with the film's environment. At one point, he appears to be a lighthouse until the lights begin to blink. I guess robots must blink too.

Enough analysis. I loved this movie. It is ranked #81 on the top list by other user authors for a reason. Not only is it escapist, fantastic entertainment for kids, adults, and seniors alike, it is an animated picture like no other. It combines the joy of SNOW WHITE and PINOCCHIO, the commentary of 1950's science fiction, and the wizardry and laughter of TOY STORY and its sequel. Do not miss this enchanting flick.

RATING: ****

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59 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

What more animated movie should be: a thoughtful, funny, touching story.

9/10
Author: Anansi00 from Half Moon Bay, California
11 December 2004

After seeing this movie, I was overcome by a strange feeling. I realized that I had found a treasure where I had least expected it. The Iron Giant is intelligent, funny, touching, and visually superb, and should show the world that an animated movie does not need to be A) computer-animated, or B) based on a fairy tale to be successful. One of the best American-made children's movies I have seen in a decade: [b]8.5/10.0[/b]

Now, I'm a 17-year-old who is slowly transitioning into the domain of movie buffdom, which basically means that I am watching a stream of movies based on recommendations from friends, critics, and the IMDb Top 250 list. I got this one almost by accident after the local rental place could not find the movie I was really after, choosing it basically on the knowledge that it was the previous project of Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles (a personal favorite). After watching it, I felt like calling up every mother I knew and telling her to have her children (and herself) watch this.

The Iron Giant revolves around an adventurous young boy in 1950s small-town America who discovers a gigantic robot out in the woods that has arrived on Earth from goodness-knows-where. He befriends the robot, while trying to keep him safe from a nosy government agent. The story seldom lags, with a series of comical adventures connected by the boy's growing relationship with his friend.

This movie is very appealing as entertainment. The voices are well-done, and the scenery is also terrific. Most importantly, though, is the animation, which is a bright spot from this time period. The characters are well-drawn, especially the Giant, who through terrific design, lifelike movements, and clever small touches (i.e., the eyes) seems both alien and human, imposing and childlike. Furthermore, the animation is comical. I don't know when I have ever seen slapstick or punchlines so well-complimented by the animation. The script, written by Bird and based off the book The Iron Man, is also very well done. Though the movie relies upon a few minor crutches common to children's movies, it is still very original and clever.

One thing that I must point out about this movie is its morals. Throughout the movie, the main moral of the story, about the Iron Giant learning and choosing to be good, is actually fairly adroitly handled. At no point when the subject comes up, including standard sentimental climax, does the idea seem contrived. Throughout the movie, evidence of Bird's influence by comic books is quite evident, and his ultimate message about heroes (variations of which will resurface in The Incredibles) is relevant and sincere. However, I do have to say that the secondary moral, about the evils of xenophobia and paranoia, both of which are embodied by the movie's antagonist, the government agent and the military, are very politically charged. While this may sound initially controversial and politically charged for a kids' movie (the second of which I do not deny), I noticed that it was in large part a thoughtful spoof of Cold War America, with jokes as well as valuable lessons about "duck and cover" and 1950s nuclear edginess that I found very clever.

On a final note, I do have to point out that this movie had me laughing hard, but more importantly, it brought me closer to tears than any animated movie I can remember (including Bambi), closer than I like to admit. I wish that I had discovered it sooner, and I hope that everyone gets the chance to experience it the way I did.

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63 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Exquisite.

Author: flickjunkie-3 from New Zealand
22 November 2000

The Iron Giant is a critically acclaimed piece of animated cinema. I wasn't expecting it to be that good, but The Iron Giant was an amazing movie, it is easily the most exquisite animated movie I have ever seen.

Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marenthal) is obsessed by the opportunites offered by science fiction, the possibility of an alien take-over 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.

The Iron Giant is an amazing piece of animation, the voice-overs were done perfectly, the actors obviously enjoyed themselves, the animated art direction and cinematography was beautiful and the giant itself is just...breathtaking.

The Iron Giant is not just another silly little kiddies movie, it is perfection in filmmaking. Please, for the love of God, make your life better and see this brilliant film.

I rate The Iron Giant 10 out of 10.

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54 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

A very good movie....

10/10
Author: Lei Wulong from Maryland, USA
31 December 1999

Hmmm, what to say...well.... it was really good. I've seen it several times, and I've enjoyed it immensely each time for different reasons.

Analytically I find the animation incredible. The characters are extremely alive and quite realistic, not because of incredible drawing, well, actually, yes: the way the characters are drawn, and animated, is incredible. From the jerking, swaying and swooshing of body parts to the magnificent and CONSISTENT use of eyes, eyebrows and cheekbones to show real emotions, it's definite that this movie is a masterpiece in terms of animation. The backgrounds are wonderfully lush, and evoke a wonderful sense of everything that shows fall for the beautiful season it is. I love animation, and I love good looking landscapes, so the artists behind this movie are making a fan out of me very quickly.

I admire (analytically) most of all the enormous apparance of little details in the film: the season sublty changes from fall to winter; the characters are always doing something, even if they aren't directly in focus (the best ad-libbing a director could dream of); I also think in some parts of the movie the little details actually become crucial to the movie's strength and validity (the time and setting of the story help it to make more sense, also, the "duck and cover" scene)

You know, I think it's amazing when sometimes a movie can move you so much, talking about it's good qualities seems like child's play. This is the kind of movie that you can watch over and over and take a long time to get sick of. We all have movies like that, very few can do that to us, but we have them. I'm realising as I write that I like this movie very much, because I've written two or three paragraphs and have not even started talking about the iron giant yet.

The animation and expression of emotion in the giant, who is a computer graphics animated character, a hundred feet tall and with a certain old time sci fi persona to him, equals and even surpasses it's traditionally animated companions. There were scenes in the movie that the giant almost made me cry because of his expressions. The director, Brad Bird I think, should earn good credit for his work bringing the giant to life. The giant was very organic and fluid, always animated and extremely alive, without really trying to be. After a while it obvious he's not your average rigid robot.

It's hard not to give away details when you write a lot, but thankfully I haven't really given anything away. I will say this...the movie is about not prejudging things you are unfamiliar with, big or small, and it's about doing what is right and not using gray areas and politics as an excuse not to do the right thing. The movie explores the strange concept of finding friendship, love, and innocence inbetween past guilts and prejudices. It is one of the most well rounded, enriching, thought provoking movies I have seen in my lifetime, and the best part is that it wasn't the visual effects that made me say that...something other feature animation companies have used a a string to lead me on for almost a decade. I feel like I just recovered from an extended brainwashing experiment. I've learned my lesson. No longer will movies that use stunning graphics to redeem themselves be an interest to me. Rather I will watch movies for the messages they give and the depth those movies have. If anything Brad Bird must have tried to make the giant as close in simplicity to the regular animated characters as possible, because you CANNOT tell the difference between CG and traditional in this movie. Exceptional stuff.

I can't imagine anyone I know not liking this movie. I've shown it to a LOT of people, college students mostly, of all races and religions, with different prides and prejudices, the result, amazingly, always seems to be the same: I have some after movie comments here, and I quote:"Wow!" ; "That was NICE!"; "That was SO...GOOD!" ;"That giant is crucial, dog!" ;"It was good...yeah...I liked it!",; and "Dang man, that joint TIGHT!". If you actually read this review all the way, that's nice. Now forget everything I bumbled about and go see this movie, that way you can spent less time writing your own review than you did reading mine.

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48 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Good Fun For Anyone

Author: Soujiro from Gaithersburg, MD
12 August 1999

It's nice to see an elegantly crafted piece of animation come out of America. How did they manage it? The writing is great the animation is excellent and the voice acting is superb. I don't think I've liked an English animated film this much since The Plague Dogs. The film doesn't talk down to it's audience, and instead tells a simple story very well. My only complaint would be that Hogarth is somewhat of a smart-alec at times, but I guess this is the era of Leave it To Beaver.

Many of the situations are standard movie-fare, the ex-lax in the food, the helmet on the bed, but it's nice to see them in an animated film for a change. As an anime fan, the realism of the movie didn't impress me as much as the quality of the writing, voice acting, and the music and sound effects. I particularly remember the sound of the power lines snapping and the musical score building up to the climax of the film.

The character design for the giant is excellent, it's amazing how they could draw out very subtle emotions without noticeably distorting the face. I bawled like a baby near the end.

Finally, most importantly for me, there are NO CHEAP LAUGHS in the movie. One of the best moments in the movie for me was when Hogarth is running through the woods and he slams his face into a low branch. The theater full of kids raised on recent Disney crap bursts into laughter, but wait, there's no stupid sound effect, he's not hopping back up to his feet instantly with a ridiculous lump or distorted face or little birds flying around his head, he's still on the ground ... and what's that coming out of his nose.. it CAN'T BE.. it IS, a trickle of BLOOD. The kids (and parents) quickly cease their laughter. I couldn't stop smiling because I knew then that like me, they actually cared about the character on the screen and frankly that doesn't happen very often.

Tarzan was a small step in the right direction, and near the end of the long path beginning with that step is The Iron Giant.

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32 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Guns kill.

Author: pooch-8 from Fargo, North Dakota
2 August 1999

An ambitious take on Ted Hughes' 1968 children's book The Iron Man, director Brad Bird's The Iron Giant works well as both archetype-infused allegory and heartstring-tugging tale of friendship. Set in small town Maine in the 1950s at the height of Cold War paranoia, the film explores the relationship between a lonely, fatherless boy (a photo on a nightstand hints that the father was a combat pilot killed in WWII) and a monstrously huge, hulking metal behemoth (the origins of which are brilliantly left to the imagination). The animation marks a welcome contrast from the virtually ubiquitous Disney template, with the human characters bearing a stylized, comic book exaggeration that fits perfectly with the story material. The Iron Giant has more than enough imagination and sparkle to interest kids and adults, and nicely balances its action-adventure aspirations with a solidly-crafted sense of moral purpose.

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