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a masterpiece, plain and simple
dpenny29 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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A delightful surprise
Gouda-311 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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The Best of Two Worlds: Adult and Kid
Figaro-69 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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What more animated movie should be: a thoughtful, funny, touching story.
Anansi0011 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: 8.5/10.0

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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Wizard-86 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!


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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An Absolute Wonder Which Cherishes Its Influences - The Best Animated Feature Ever !
Donald J. Lamb22 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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A very good movie....
Lei Wulong31 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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flickjunkie-322 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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Stunning and magical
p.greenwood14 August 2006
I had heard many great things about the iron giant in the last few years but was one of those films I never got round to seeing. I picked up a copy of the special edition DVD expecting an entertaining animated film. What I actually got was not just one of the best animated films I have seen but one of the best films ever. It takes you to another world but never strays from reality and when watching it you forget it's animated. The characters are so well written it puts most live action films to shame. If you pass this off as a kids film you will be missing out on one of the most immersing and emotional experiences you can get from a film. The voice cast are perfect, the animation stunning and the fact this film flopped when released is nothing short of criminal. I urge anyone even with only a passing interest in cinema to watch this film and prepare to be amazed. Brad Bird must be one of the best directors working in animation and after seeing the incredibles the iron giant was no fluke.
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A new classic
Rectangular_businessman11 February 2007
"The Iron Giant" is simply one of the best animated movies ever made. Brad Bird, the talented man that worked in shows like "The Simpsons" and directed the great animated film "The Incredibles" is the man responsible for this masterpiece. That man is a genius who is able to turn the simplest stories into gold, having an entire career of very good films. Even his "Mission Impossible" film (A franchise which I particularly don't like)managed to be worth-watching.

Now "The Iron Giant" is one of my favorite films, and it is the best movie directed by Brad Bird, having not only a great animation style, but also a memorable story (Which shows that kid's films could have deep and complex stories)and many intesting characters, The Giant itself is a fascinating creature, which could be easily considered one of the most endearing figures from the entire animation history.

Movies like this are enough proof that making a "children's film" is not a excuse for a lack of quality. It is for movies like this that I'm a fan of animation.
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Surprisingly Good Fun For Anyone
Soujiro12 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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Guns kill.
pooch-82 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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Great entertainment ,,, AND a piece of history
A_Different_Drummer26 May 2017
Belated review written in 2017.

Animation has greatly advanced in the last few decades but nonetheless this entry, at the turn of the millennium, is special.

It marked the debut of writer/director Brad Bird, now considered a god in the animation studio.

The story is so simple it almost seems unworthy. But in the hands of a master, what you will see is perfection in writing and directing and casting and voice work.

Suitable for all ages, will remain a classic for years to come.
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One of my favourite films - animated or otherwise
bogiefan-210 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Like most reviewers here, I stumbled across The Iron Giant. Frankly, I don't know how I missed it in the theatres, but I picked up a used VHS copy a few years back and fell for it. I recently purchased the DVD version and have rekindled my appreciation for this lovely film.

In addition to being a polished gem of a morality play, it is well animated, and well voice-acted. Perhaps Hogarth is portrayed as too obvious a scamp and Kent is too over-the-top in his zeal but the subtlety in the Iron Giant's limited movements and "vocabulary" more than make up for it. In any case, this is an animated film - we should expect "cartoonish" characters, right? Perhaps it was the total lack of cutesy animals doing Disneyesque song-and-dance numbers, but I found myself noticing the "acting" of these characters. Don't worry, I snapped out of it soon enough...

Unlike some, I didn't see TIG as a slam against militarism. In fact, the General here (nicely voiced by John Mahoney) shows a considerable amount of balance. Rather, the film is about personal growth and change, respect for life, values, and the bond of friendship. This side of the film works so well that the Giant's utterance of one word - "Superman" - toward the end of the film sent me searching for the tissues. (word of advice: keep them handy).

Do yourself and your kids and watch this film. Appropriate (IMO) for ages 3 and over (including adults!).
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As touching, funny and timely a film as any committed to celluloid
Simon_Says_Movies26 May 2009
Having to compete with Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar, Warner Brother's animation has never been at the forefront of the animation industry. Apparently all they needed was the brilliant Brad Bird to quell any doubt about their capabilities. The Iron Giant is one of the final films to be presented in the traditional animation form, but even this flick had begun the transition to computer generated visuals. A number of characters, including the giant, were inserted digitally over the hand drawn background, taking special care to perform this imperfectly so as to contrast the rougher backdrop. The finished piece is a visually flawless and captivating film and ranks among the best animated features to ever grace the screen.

Brad Bird who began with significant role in The Simpson's cartoon, marks his feature film debut, and would follow up with the even superior films The Incredibles and Ratatouille. The Iron Giant is part political statement, part satire and part family fare, but contains more substance then most children's films, containing passionate and is reminiscent of classics such as ET and The Lion King. Based on the book by Ted Hughes, the tale tells of a young boy in Rockwell, Maine named Hogarth Hughes voiced by unknown Eli Marienthal who, if you must put a face to the voice played Stiffler's younger brother in American Pie, in Cold War era 1958. His mother voiced by Jennifer Aniston, works late shifts at a local diner, his father has been killed (presumably in combat, as we see from a photograph he was a fighter pilot) and Hogarth who has been moved up a grade, finds himself lonely and misunderstood.

On a stormy night, a mysterious object crashes off the coast, which to Hogarth's surprise (and everyone's for that matter) is a giant metal eating robot. Finding the creature to be as harmless and confused as a young boy, he befriends the behemoth, stashing him away in a local scrap yard, who the owner (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) is not especially pleased about. After the giants shenanigans begin to be noticed, a federal agent, brilliantly voiced by Christopher McDonald, comes to investigate ands comes to suspect Hogarth may know something.

The scenes where Hogarth attempts to hide the creature are the most hilarious, one sequence after the giant loses his hand (which can walk on its own once severed) our young protagonist attempts to sneak it out of the house. But don't be fooled, the iron Giant is less comedy then it is bold statement, but don't let this turn you off either.

Bird's piece is riddled with political commentary on the Cold War and its effect on America and the society's obsession with warfare, weapons and at what cost freedom can be obtained, issues such as morality and death, and explores the human gift of free will, as both a blessing and as a means to do harm. The Giant, despite having every few lines is surprisingly layered and human, and has an innocence covering an inner evil turmoil. The message that you are who you chose to be is reminiscent throughout the whole film, but it never for a second feels preachy. The climax is a thrilling as any action picture, which I will say may be slightly too violent for younger children, and the closing act is as touching as any committed to celluloid.

The Iron Giant is a dazzling tale and complex experience which is bound to keep you involved, entertained and will give you something to think about after leaving the theatre. Ranking as one of the best films of 1999, if The Iron Giant marks the end of the reign of the traditional animation style, I say that no finer adieu could be given in this world, or any, dare I say it, beyond this Earth.

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Best Animated Film
Dale Lynn31 January 2010
Without a doubt this is my favorite animated movie of all time. I have seen it dozens of times and I still enjoy watching it once or twice a year. I recommend this movie to everyone. It's not just for kids. The animation, editing and soundtrack is amazing. I am a huge fan of Disney movies, but I cannot think of a Disney movie that can touch the Iron Giant on any level. This movie can be enjoyed by kids, parents and non-parents alike. It's not just a great action movie with great writing it will also touch you on an emotional level as well. I have been waiting and watching for a sequel, but I don't think anyone involved in this production intended to do another (even though the ending leaves that wide open). This is the type of movie I wish Hollywood would do more of, instead of re-makes and movies based of TV shows.
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Outstanding on all levels!
TheLittleSongbird18 November 2009
The Iron Giant was a beautiful, funny and touching movie, that is one of the best non-Disney animated movies I have seen along with The Prince of Egypt, The Secret of NIMH, Watership Down and Castle of Cagliostro. There wasn't a single thing I hated about the movie, for me it was outstanding on every level. The animation was absolutely gorgeous, with stunning colourful backgrounds and brilliant character animation especially on the Iron Giant himself. The music by Michael Kamen was consistently excellent, and never overpowered the story. In fact at times it even enhanced the drama. And the film has a beautiful message not to mention a sweet story. The characters were delightful, Hogarth isn't annoying at all and the Iron Giant isn't scary in the slightest. Strictly speaking he has to be one of the most gentle and poignant characters in an animated film. There are plenty of effective scenes like the explosive climax and the scene with the dead deer is a real tear jerker. I will admit I was worried initially when I saw the voice cast, but everybody involved did a superb job. Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jnr were perfect, in their most understated performances. Both get stick about being untalented, but for me their vocal contributions in this film suggests otherwise, while Christopher MacDonald almost steals the film as the FBI agent. Eli Marienthal is very sweet and likable as Hogarth too, and watch out for John Mahoney and Cloris Leachman. All in all, an outstanding film, that if you mind me saying so is the best animated film of 1999 and one of the best films of that year too. I may be wrong but I do think it is highly underrated on IMDb. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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kelly-31227 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What an amazing film. I had no idea what a wonderful film this is. I mean, I'm in my mid 30's and a mum of 3. I absolutely love this film. My kids really enjoy it but I don't think they really appreciate the message that it is trying to put across. (well, my 4 year old anyway) My 7 year old just likes it for the bang factor. (the explosions and stuff!)

I was a bit disappointed though that the giant didn't have more to say. It would of been nice to know were he came from and why. I had no idea at all that the voice of the giant is Vin Diesel! I would never of thought that he would do anything like this. Just goes to show how many actors are typecast.

I got quite tearful at the end, especially when the giant says his last line about being Superman. I mean this is ludicrous! A grown woman crying over what is basically a cartoon!!!

Maybe a sequel to this film could happen?

If you haven't seen it yet, please make an effort to do so.
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One of the most underrated films of all time
supernma13 August 2009
This certainly ranks as one of the finest examples of cinema in recent pop culture memory. Intelligent, funny, tragic, and deeply moving, we'd be so lucky to ever see an American animated film strike such chords again.

The look of the film is superb, and it's underlying themes and messages resonate even more strongly today. Containing a boldly pacifist theme, the film tells a story of a mechanism of war--meant to destroy--that, through the innocence of a little boy, learns to sacrifice in the name of peace and understanding, as apposed to killing in the name of ownership and power.

I hope,as years pass, more and more people come to discover this gem so that they can share their experience with the Iron Giant, as well.
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Duck and cover…The Iron Giant
jaredmobarak4 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I finally took the time to see writer/director Brad Bird's first foray into feature length film with The Iron Giant. Hearing how great of a film it was and the success of his Pixar debut The Incredibles, I've been seeing the movie on my shelf for a while now, just waiting to finally be viewed. If you thought his last movie had heart, you need to see this one. While being based on a book, I'm not sure if it is the original source material or Bird's vision on screen, but the parallels to King Kong are unmistakable. This creature from another world instills fear into all but one person—one person who can see beneath the harsh exterior into the wealth of feelings and compassion bottled up within. Sure the beauty in a story like King Kong is the sacrifice he makes in order to keep his love safe at the unfortunate price of being a monster in the eyes of everyone else, but here we have a kid's story where happy endings aren't just a commonality but a necessity. Bird handles the subject matter nicely at the end in order to give the audience the same emotional attachment to the creature despite the fact that the general population does end up seeing him for what he truly is. Ala Superman/Spider-Man/ etc, the monster mystic soon dissolves as they begin saving human lives.

A big part of The Iron Giant's success is the gorgeous animation. This may be one of the last great 2D animated films before CGI took over the field. The cinematic touches are great, including a depth of field composed of blurred images to give the audience a focal point. You forgive that the blurring effect renders the object even flatter than the medium does originally because the effect works as it would in a live-action film. Also, the lighting effects are wonderful, especially the flashlight sequences. When our young protagonist looks out his window into the woods, and the light flare goes from bright blind spot to illuminating band of vision, it looks very realistic. The power of the light even dissipates as the flash goes farther out into the distance.

As with The Incredibles, though, the true heart of the film is in the fully fleshed out characters. There is not an overabundance of cluttered supporting roles, but instead a few main roles, which are allowed to evolve and grow an attachment from the viewers. The emotion etched into the movement and facial ticks of the Giant are spectacular at getting language across, much as would have been done in a silent film. Eli Marienthal does a great job as young Hogarth Hughes, the only one who believes that his new friend is more than a weapon. Christopher McDonald adds some nice comic relief as our only villainous role, albeit not a bad guy in the common use of the term, and Jennifer Aniston allows Mrs. Hughes to be both motherly and understanding of her son's adventures. The vocal star ends up being Harry Connick Jr., who is fantastic as Hogarth's friend and confidant when it comes to the new discovery of the Giant. I think the best compliment that a film like this can have is the fact that the vocal talent was so good I didn't recognize any as the people they are in real life. No one tried to infuse their own shtick into the part, but instead played the roles to enhance the story being told.

Along with all that, we are treated to subtle commentary on the state of the government, both with the "duck and cover" absurdity of atomic warfare and the references to gun control and war. These jabs are just that though, small moments that go along with the story, rather than take it over and hijack the film like what happened with Happy Feet this year. Weighty issues can be addressed in children films successfully, making the audience understand the problem yet not shoving it down their throats when the real issue at hand is the relationship between a child and his new otherworldly friend, giving him the confidence to stand up for himself and be a hero.

So far Bird has really impressed me as an animation director. While the teaser for Pixar's new Ratatouille left me a bit indifferent, just the attachment of this autuer's name makes me that much more excited for the movie. Hopefully Bird can keep the track record intact and also, maybe prove that in order for these films to be successful, a good story is necessary. In an age where we get around ten animated films a year, there are many that are horrible cashcows to rip off unsuspecting parents into taking the children to a cartoon. Thankfully Brad Bird shows us that animated films can still hold up against live action ones for the pieces of art they should aspire to be.
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And I thought this would be a bad movie...
ian-bishop24 June 2003
I consider myself a fairly hard-headed and cynical guy. I like my movies to have blood and death. As a rule, I want to see explosions and terrible slaughter. I loath sentimental slop. So, when I sat down to watch Iron Giant, I was not expecting much more than a Disney-esque piece of emotional goo. I'd also read the original book, and I was prepared to be annoyed by departures from the 'Iron Man'.

Yet within minutes, I was totally hooked on this fabulous piece of animation. The quality of the picture - the visual effect of the animation - is truly stunning. The film is a work of art. None of the sloppy crap that Disney passes off for animation these days. The world of 1950s New England is beautifully recreated. The attention to detail is impressive. As a military buff, I was particularly impressed by the authentic representation of Patton tanks and Sabre fighters. The landscapes are awe inspiring, and the musical score sets off the visual spectacle magnificently. The whole picture has an overpowering aura of quality, effort and skill. You are properly immersed in the film's world. Such fine workmanship is impressive, and stands in sharp contrast to the poorly drawn pulp that floods kids TV these days - the abomination that is pokemon springs to mind as the very antithesis of this movie.

Enough of appearances. A good visual picture is never going to make up for a bad story. And I really thought that the storyline was going to be awful. The film is radically different to the story told by Ted Hughes. Normally, I can't stand it when movies dare to depart from the novels on which they claim to be based. But in this case, I am prepared to make an exception. The movie explores many more interesting ideas than the book. Hughes was more concerned with a dull environmentalist idea, suggesting that the Iron Man was somehow mother nature's response to the pollution caused by humanity. The film, however, takes a totally different view of the Iron 'Giant'. The Cold War context of McCarthyism, 'Red Scares' and the emergent Space Race is intriguingly utilised to engage the far more interesting issues of superpower rivalry, military paranoia and the crass naiveté of a culture that seriously believes 'duck and cover' will see school kids safely through nuclear holocaust.

Some people have expressed the opinion that the film takes a politically correct view of guns. Yet when we realise that the Iron Giant is himself a colossal weapons system, it is clear that the film is more sophisticated than any simplistic anti-gun rant. Indeed, all of the 'good' characters in the film are connected with guns. Hogarth has toy guns, the Iron Giant is a gun himself, the honourable military men are armed. The paranoid and slippery CIA agent is in fact conspicuously unarmed. Even in the scene with the deer hunters, the men themselves are not cast in a negative light at all. I would be the first to choke with rage if I thought that this movie was trying to convey a sanctimonious and politically correct message of anti-gun propaganda. Instead, I think that the picture considers the relationship between man and his weapons. We see that it is the decisions taken by individuals that decide whether good or evil is done, not whether they happen to be in direct possession of a gun. The Iron Giant is, after all, capable of destroying all of mankind with his arsenal of weaponry, yet his decision to refrain from using it makes him a great force for good. Kent Mansley, on the other hand, has no gun in his hand, yet is solely responsible for the decision to unleash nuclear weaponry upon his own countrymen in his personal quest to destroy a non-American robot.

This is a greatly enjoyable and rather moving film, and, in spite of myself, I must recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone. Even the most rational and level-headed of movie-goers can find something to like in this picture. Go watch!
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don't be a gun
bapohl23 August 1999
Warning: Spoilers
WB certainly took some risks here. An animated flick with no musical numbers, no cute little animal sidekicks, blood, and a couple "damn"s, "hell"s and even a "screw"? Overall, I think it worked fairly well. Nice animation, retro-design characters, simple but sophisticated plot, and just the right touch of visual humor, e.g. the robot mimicking the child's postures, the detached hand running amok through the house, etc. Ignore the preachy anti-gun message (which was, by the way, lost on the younger kids in the audience - my four year old thought the iron giant was cool because "he had all those guns that could blow up tanks"), and you have yourself one very entertaining movie. Maybe they could have made the moral more reasonable, i.e. "gun's can be good if used defensively", but I guess that would have (** spoiler alert!! **) made the ending far less dramatic - a blast from one of the robot's lasers would probably have sufficed.

I saw "Iron Giant" a few weeks after release, and the theater was, sadly, almost empty. Word-of-mouth and critic reviews have been very good, so I guess we would have to chalk it up to poor marketing. Hope this doesn't sour Hollywood on an alternative to the standard Disney formula.

Its no "Beauty and the Beast", but I would still give it a solid 7.5/10. Runs circles around any non-Disney animation I have seen yet.
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Attention to Detail
krasnegar30 October 2004
Having been nine in 1957 myself, i appreciate the incredible amount of attention to verisimilitude that this film exhibits -- even the wide turn-ups on Hogarth's jeans, for example.

Another thing i was interested by is the fact that we are never told *why* Hogarth's mom is a single parent... but i seem to recall a framed photo somewhere in the house showing a pilot standing by a jet fighter. I knew a couple of kids my age whose dads had never come home from a place called Korea.

There are some glitches -- a 1959 Cadillac in a scrapyard in 1957, for instance, or going skinny-dipping in a lake in Maine in late October; and i'm fairly sure that (a) There was no "Spirit" comic in publication in 1957 and that (b) the "Spirit" comic cover shown is actually a painting "Spirit" creator Will Eisner did in the late 70s/early 80s for a reprint series.

The references to films of the period -- the sand pit from "Invaders from Mars", the tank disintegration for "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and the animated "Brain from Planet Arous" on teevee are neat, too.

Looking forward to next Friday's opening of Brad Bird's new film, "The Incredibles", though i suspect that "Iron Giant" will prove to be the stronger of the two...
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I didn't cry during this movie
peacebst10 July 2000
No matter what anyone says, It wasn't me blubbering at the end of this movie. I had something in my eye, was all. Anyone who testifies differently is a filthy liar. I thought the movie was okay, you know, if you're like a kid or something, but it didn't touch me at all... *sniff* I have to go now...
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Best Animated Movie Ever
darknite12522 May 2006
I have seen many animated movies in my life from Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman:Mask of the Phantasm to Snow White and the Lion King. The Iron Giant is the best by far not just technically with amazingly beautiful visuals but overall. This movie appeals to people of all ages like no other movie before if you have not seen it go see it.

It has something in it for all fans of various movie genres from sci-fi to comedy. It is a shame not many people have seen it. If you can watch this movie and not get hit by a sense of nostalgia or get caught up by the emotional storyline.
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