The Iron Giant Reviews
Set in a small Maine town in the 1950s, this is the story of Hogarth Hughes- an imaginative 9 year-old who stumbles upon a massive alien robot who crashes lands near his town. Finding himself bonding with this strange, yet fantastical metal behemoth, Hogarth finds that his growing extraterrestrial friendship is tested when pesky government agents come to investigate reports of something potentially dangerous lurking in the area.
Taking cues from E.T. and The Day The Earth Stood Still, this is a magnificent film about friendship, extraordinary circumstances, and tolerance. It's also a very slick and sly satire of 50s culture, with special attention paid to paranoia, McCarthyism, Cold War suspicions, and the sci-fi craze.
Hogarth is a likable kid, and his relationship with the titular character is finely developed. Hogarth's single mom and his friend Dean- a local beatnik artist/junkyard owner are also really good characters, and are more than just one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. The pesky and relentless government investigator is admittedly somewhat less developed compared to the others, but he still comes across as a tad more than a caricature.
As for the voice acting, it's really good. Eli Marienthal is a lot of fun as Hogarth, Jennifer Aniston is surprisingly believable as Hogarth's mom,Harry Connick Jr. is delightful as Dean, and, while it's a case of more typecasting, Christopher McDonald is fun as Kent Manley the government agent. He doesn't have too many lines, but Vin Diesel is also quite good as the Iron Giant, providing an appropriate amount of roboticness, but also managing to bring in some humanity, as the character evolves.
This is a great film for all ages, but especially kids, as it does a wonderful job at addressing some important issues in a clever and creative way. The animation and look are wonderful, the film has a nice mix of humor, heart, and action, and is extremely well paced and balanced. It's quite moving, and I will admit to getting teary at the end, but I feel like it was earned.
My only real gripe is that the film's message, while nice, is perhaps a bit too narrow minded and preachy.
All in all, this is some dynamite stuff. I really wish more entertainment for kids would aspire to the heights of greatness that this film does. Definitely go see it.
A lonely boy, an unlikely friendship, life and death, set against the fear and paranoia of the Cold War in a small town. None of these are unique, new ideas, but 'The Iron Giant' puts them together in an unbelievably special way.
The scenes in which Hogarth teaches the Giant about humanity are the film's finest moments, and the central theme of "you're not a gun, you are who you choose to be" doesn't come across for a second as heavy-handed; everything gels together so well.
It toys with your emotions perfectly, from the absolute anger you feel towards Kent Mansley to the joy and sorrow that comes from the friendship of Hogarth and the absolutely lovely giant, in what is clearly Vin Diesel's finest role! The sense of impending doom and inevitability throughout the film created a sinking feeling in my stomach that heightened the emotions even further, and boy was it a rollercoaster that I went through.
I was enraged. I was in love. I laughed. I cried.
Oh! And J.J. Abrams' kids screaming "bad robot!" in the production logo of Bad Robot, yeah, that *has* to be inspired by this, where Hogarth screams "bad robot!" when the Giant is wreaking havoc.
"It came from outer space!"
I hadn't seen this movie for probably 10 years, but I remembered loving it as a kid. Now I know why I loved it so much. All the feelings I got when I watched it as a young kid came back watching a decade later. Of all the animated films I have seen in my life, this has to be in the top 3. It is such a fun, funny and emotional animated family movie.
The story follows Hogarth, a young kid living in Rockwell, Maine. He is an only child living with his mother and he causes her quite a bit of grief. If he isn't bringing a wild animal home; he is sneaking out at night to go off on an adventure. One night he finds a huge robot and quickly becomes friends with it. But soon a government investigator comes around asking questions about all the weird occurrences that have been going on. So Hogarth, with the help of a young hipster, is forced to hide him.
The film is great homage to 50's sci-fi. The movie makes some references to some of the great sci-fi films of the 50's, such as Forbidden Planet, which Hogarth has a poster of in his room. It also uses the Cold War and Nuclear scares well as a backdrop. I loved the scene where they are showing the instructional video for how to survive a nuclear attack.
This is a movie that is great for both adults and children. It has more than enough entertaining elements to keep the kids quiet for an hour and a half. More importantly, it will probably keep most adults glued to it as well. There's so much there for adults. The plot is set against a backdrop that kids won't understand and it makes fun of some of the stuff that was going on during that time period very well. Also there are many references to things that parents and grandparents will remember from their childhood. This truly defines a family movie.
General Rogard: You realize how much hardware I brought out here? You just blew millions of Uncle Sam's dollars out of your butt!
The iron Giant is a good animated movie, which Warner Bros failed to market and has similarly failed to remind anyone of in the 12 years since its release. Bolstered by a great use of the 50s time period, including pop culture references of the time, contemporary terminology, as well as a general callback to 1950s monster and science fiction movies. Add to this the classic-emulating soundtrack, and surprisingly good animation for a non-Disney film from the 1990s, and the film proves to be very immaculately produced (despite the minor annoyance of the semi-3D robot, the effects of which look dated nowadays). In addition, the characters themselves are cliche, and much of the humor and drama is corny.
As for those emotions that lingered since my early childhood, it turns out that they were a result of the deep, thoughtful, clever script co-written by Brad Bird (who also directed this movie, and went on to direct "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille", the last of which is my personal favorite Pixar film.) The story not only makes the relationship between a robot and a kid from the 50s believable enough to work, but the film also contains a surprisingly deep set of messages for a children's film - it delves into the common "be yourself" and "choose your own path" message of animated movies, but it delves even further into man's dependence on weaponry and violence, mortality, and even existentialism as a whole. Clearly, subjects that would leave an impression on a 6 year old. Catharsis.
What makes this movie so amazing is probably the plot. "The Iron Giant" is about a young boy named Hograth Hughes who lives with his mother. After sneaking out at night he runs into a giant robot, and saves him when he tries to eat some electrical wires. The two soon develop a strong friendship, which becomes increasingly difficult as Hograth tries to hide his friend from the military, who is out to find and destroy the robot.
This movie really has some great voice acting. Eli Marientahl is one of the few child voice actors who is actually pretty good and realistic. Harry Connick Jr. also does a great job as Dean, Hograth's adult friend who works at a scrapyard. His role was really realistic, while at the same time showing a lot of energy.
"The Iron Giant" might be the funniest fully animated movie I've seen in the while. The pool scene was really funny, as were the many scenes where Hograth tries to hide the giant robot.
The script was amazing too. Every line was perfect in this movie. I guess Brad Bird carried some of his script writing abilities from "The Simpsons" over too "The Iron Giant".
This movie also has a lot of heart, arguably as much heart as "Babe". It's one of the better and more emotional friendship movies out there. Hagrath almost get's killed several times trying to save the giant robot from becoming a murderous monster, and the giant robot would almost certainly do the same for him.
Over all, if you have kids, they have got to see this movie. It's everything you want in a kids movie. I cry every time I see it!
Though, I do wish the supporting cast had more depth and complexities that surpassed their archetypes. Considering the demographic, I suppose keeping them simple for classical "Spielberg" storytelling wasn't a bad idea either... Hmm, I guess we'll never know.
Introducing mature subject matter to a young audience is no easy task that many animated films strive for, in the end this film is a prime example of how to do it. Good movie.