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The Iron Giant Reviews

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Matthew Samuel M

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2013
Beautifully animated, well-told, and--in typical Brad Bird fashion--mature, smartly written, and funny, The Iron Giant is an underrated animated masterpiece that appeals to both children and adults. Its freshness and charismatic characters foreshadow Bird's eventual direction of Pixar's The Incredibles, while its Cold War-era setting and engaging storyline make it a memorable and emotional cinematic experience that is, truthfully, a hundred times better than any animated film made in the last decade.

Super Reviewer

October 31, 2011
This was animation maestro Brad Bird's feature length directorial debut, and, I must say, it is easily one of the best example of how to do an intelligent and thoughtful animated film for kids, and do it very, very well.

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.

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2011
The Iron Giant tackles touchy subjects and complex relationships with a steady hand and beautiful animation direction from Brad Bird. Smart angle of 80's setting

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2012
The year 1999 produced an astounding of riches for feature-film animation. While that year's highest grossing animated flick "Toy Story 2" carried on the wizardry and rich storytelling of the original,while "South Park:Bigger,Longer,and Uncut" brought the taboo-busting hypocrisy-bashing hilarity of the TV show to the big screen. But the best animated film of the year came from the studios of Warner Brothers. "The Iron Giant" is also the most underrated feature of the 1990's. The feature-film debut of future Pixar fixture Brad Bird(Ratatouille, The Incredibles)has future action star Vin Diesel as the voice of a giant alien robot that lands on Earth and gets befriended by a lonely boy. Notoriously,Warner Brothers dumped this adaption of Ted Hughes' "The Iron Man" into theatres with little push,but a cult following emerged once the smart,stylish,and endlessly entertaining old-school family film found it's audience.
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

November 5, 2011
One of the final animated films that felt like it was made by the amazing disney writers. Beautifully drawn and greatly emotional The Iron Giant is compassionate, charming and an all time classic animated tale of friendship that must and will always be cherished.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2006
I watched this for the first time in 13 years just now. Saw it at the cinema originally, and it was truly a sight to behold. It still holds up today and the animation looks incredibly fresh. The Iron Giant sees a large robot land on Earth in the 50's. A young boy soon makes friends with it, while a government agent investigates the sightings. The robot has forgotten who he is, but trouble arises when his built in defence mechanisms may be a danger to the small town. The Iron Giant is base on the book The Iron Man written by Ted Hughes. A book I remember from primary school. This adaptation has Americanized it, as well as making it more of a space themed Sci-Fi. The book had a battle with a space dragon, something I would have actually liked to see, even if it didn't work. The 50's setting is perfect for this kind of film. It's all about friendship, and being able to make choices no matter how we were raised. The giant is both sympathetic and cute, as well as being dangerous. It's the age old case of violence begets violence. I did find certain moments rushed in the film, as animation is usually short, but most of all I had trouble associating with Kent Mansley. He just goes too haywire towards the end. This is great stuff though, with strong animation, good vocal performances, exciting action sequences, and messages about friendship, peace, and sacrifice.

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2012
'The Iron Giant'. An emotionally overpowering, animated marvel from the genius that is Brad Bird.

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.

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2011
Hogarth Hughes: It's bad to kill. Guns kill. And you don't have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose. 

"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! 
Sam B

Super Reviewer

October 25, 2011
The last time I saw The Iron Giant, I was six, and for some reason I was never able to completely forget the movie. Sure, I forgot the story details and the characters, but I always remembered coming back from the movie feeling both sad, happy, and a little bit scared at the same time - generally, a strange combination of emotions for a six year old. But I could never remember why it always stuck around in the back of my memory.

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.
Marc L.
Marc L.

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2011
You know, when this movie came out, Warner Bros. seemed to be on their last limbs. "Quest for Camelot" sucked, "The King and I" was a royal pain and "Cat's Don;t Dance" was just downright stupid. Knowing that Warner Bros. animation was going no where, they hired Brad Bird, one of the creators of the uber fantastic "Simpsons" to direct "The Iron Giant". It may be one of the best decisions they ever made, as this might be my all time favorite fully animated movie.

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!

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2011
I love this movie, its always amazing to see it, one of the classic animated films of our time.

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2011
An awesome Animated Adventure for both Kids and adults, finally something that a kid can watch that doesn't have trash in it. Film is about an Iron Giant who comes from another world who lands on earth in Rockwell Maine. Of all places. He forms a friendship with a kid whom saved him, and who he later saves. Just a real good story line. Worth 5 stars.

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2011
A childhood favourite and a classic!
Drake T

Super Reviewer

June 21, 2011
TIG triumphs by effectively using themes of innocence in consequential, realistic situations while still retaining the much needed charm and fantasy of it's genre.

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.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2011
Definitely my favorite movie that Brad Bird has been a part of. This is like what I would imagine a Steven Spielberg cartoon movie would look and feel like. It has elements of what made E.T. so lovable, but also some really original concepts about friendship. There's also the whole 50ft tall Vin Diesel robot thing going on. Even though he has about five lines of true dialogue, you can tell it's the shaved gorilla strength under the chrome dome 100% of the time. I love the atmosphere of this movie, it really nails the 50s sci-fi feeling perfectly. The animation looks great and I kind've wish more movies looked like this, especially since cgi cartoons dominate all now. It's just a really great movie that will stand the test of time, unlike a lot of its contemporaries.
michael e.
michael e.

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2010
Though this film is getting a bit more popular its still not a household name unlike any of the disney movies, which i find very sad which this is also one of the earliest films I'd ever seen and it still is funny and fantastic to watch you know i think this was the first movie where i heard them say "Damn" not once but twice along with "Hell." though it says foul language it was and still is a fantastic animated film even if it is consider underrated. When i have kids the first animated film im going to show them is this film because it truly is a wonderful childrens film and is fun for the whole family no matter how old.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2008
A well-orchestrated animated feature from the usually solid Brad Bird concerning a huge giant who crash lands in a small town in Maine during the late 50's, and how a young, outcast boy befriends him. The time this story takes place couldn't have been selected more perfectly, as the paranoia of nuclear war and the like are observed carefully but never overstepping their grounds, fully aware that this is a family film. While the character Christopher McDonald voices over is predictable and annoyingly familiar, the movie succeeds in large part due to its finale, which is unexpectedly moving and surprisingly tragic in a way. While its no masterpiece, it goes by fast, knows how to stay family-oriented, and most importantly, makes us end up caring for a big piece of metal that is the lead character in the film.

Super Reviewer

July 24, 2010
The Iron Giant is a beloved kids film, but also for adults of all ages! This great tale of a kid becoming friends with a giant robot is very cliche, but extremely enjoyable, and I recommend The Iron Giant!
Richard C

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2010

Super Reviewer

March 30, 2009
"It came from outer space!"

A boy makes friends with an innocent alien giant robot that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.

Sometimes when watching an animated feature, I spend my time saying, "What great animation." When this happens, I wonder if I am doing what the producers wanted me to do. Like so many things, should I be so enamored with the technical part of the movie that I am distracted from the content. As I watched "The Iron Giant" I realized I had forgotten it was an animated feature. Don't get me wrong. I knew the enormous title character was animated, but the relationships among the characters and the intelligence of the script caused me to forget that these weren't actors. The movie is filled with tender moments, especially as they relate to our feelings of our own mortality. What I enjoyed is that the grownups aren't treated as garden variety bad guys. Even the military, which is nearly always portrayed as evil, finds itself in a contradictory position--having to go on faith. The animation is wonderful, but so are the "performances." No spoilers here, but I think the ending is a lovely tribute to the spirit of the life force in all of us--even those of us not made of metal. See this.
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