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The Iron Giant

Released: 1999

Genre: Kids & Family

Runtime: 1 hr 26 min

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Brad Bird

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, James Gammon, Cloris Leachman, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Eli Marienthal, M. Emmet Walsh

A giant robot from outer space befriends a child of the Atomic Age.

It's a pure, humbling experience that - for once - justifies all the hype.

Review by: TomElce

Added: 8 years ago

Forget Bambi, there's an even more heartfelt hunter/deer scene in Brad Bird's The Iron Giant, an animated answer to King Kong that proves the traditional animated form capable of producing images of equal - and, indeed, superior - beauty to the current CG faves plaguing the market. As emotional an experience as it is to watch this curious spin on the "boy and his dog" story unravel towards a tragic capper, there's also a great deal of wit to be had from the oftentimes hilarious dialogue screenwriter Tim McCanlies introduces to the tale. The way he integrates aspects like simple character introductions ("Hey there, scout! Kent Mansley, I work for the government," says prying government agent Kent Mansley as he arrives at the home of kid protagonist Hogarth Hughes) is aided so effectively by Bird's animation direction that it has you in a fit of laughter, while the knowing presentation and dismantling of pop culture archetypes makes for the movie's most hysterical continuous thread. At the same time, Bird coaxes palpable emotional heft out of his adaptation of the story "The Iron Man" through these same character familiarities, the inevitable thread of military involvement with the titular behemoth now in the accompany of lively youngster Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) and man friend Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr.) may have you reaching for the tissues.

Hogarth's initial discovery of Earth's new metal arrival is magnificently executed, the palpable gloom and atmosphere oozing from the sequence as the former nervously approaches a power station. Behind him, a head towering high in the trees turns to face him, spots of light representing eyes. It's an unforgettable animated sequence, a gloomy segment that precedes the thoughtful end part of Bird's film, if not the emotional range and impact of the film entire. Like the bot-child of Steven Spielberg's impeccable A.I. Artificial Intelligence, this clunking, clanging giant has feelings, movingly communicated in his fear and hatred of guns, to which his defense mechanism triggers a magnified panic in the military force. "I am not a gun," he defiantly says to Hogarth after rescuing a duo of children, something overlooked and misrepresented by the snakey Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald). The Iron Giant's simply an epic animated experience, a comfortable companion to Pixar's best (Toy Story) and Disney's standard-setters (Snow White, Pinocchio and The Fox and the Hound). It's a pure, humbling experience that - for once - justifies all the hype.