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The Iron Giant

Animation and Science Fiction & Fantasy movie directed by Brad Bird

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One Of The Best Films Ever

  • Nov 30, 2004
  • by
I am always hesitant to give a five-star rating to a film. I always try to compare movies to ones that are in the same genre first, and then to films that have stood the test of time before determining if they are worthy of five stars. "The Iron Giant" towers over the competition in its genre, and I believe that it will be around much longer than many of its modern counterparts. It is full of heart, wonder, and amazement. It has emotional twists that keep you intrigued. It is definitely worthy of five stars.

First of all, the giant is great. He's just a big kid trying to find his place in the universe. "E.T." entered my mind as soon as he is discovered by young Hogarth near the power plant. There is a charm about the giant that I have seen in few Disney or Dreamworks characters. You will deeply care about him before the film is over.

Hogarth is the typical little boy. He loves sci-fi and horror movies, even though his mother doesn't quite approve of them. He likes to sneak out of the house every once in awhile for a little mischief. When he hears noises, they automatically become "invaders from Mars." He is such a wonderful little character to watch on the screen.

The voices in the film are brilliantly cast. Vin Diesel voices the giant. He manages to evoke tons of emotion, even though most of his lines have fewer than three words in them. Harry Connick, Jr. stands out as Dean, the local scrap metal artist, who helps Hogarth "hide" the giant. Jennifer Aniston plays Hogarth's mother, who busts her bottom to support her son. There is a genuine love between her character and that of Hogarth's that is missing in most animated features today. Chrisopher McDonald plays a scheming government agent and John Mahoney lends his voice to the general who doesn't believe McDonald at first, but is then fooled into listening to him. Eli Marienthal portrays Hogarth. Considering that he plays Stifler's brother in the "American Pie" films, he does an amazing job in capturing the wonder inside of Hogarth. M. Emmett Walsh and Cloris Leachman are two of the other stellar voices in this feature. There roles aren't as big, but they are great in the movie.

The animation is beautiful. From the forest and countryside to the little town that is "terrorized" by the giant, it's all brilliantly done.

The story is one full of emotion. I'll be honest and tell you that I shed a few tears near the end of the movie. The characters are so likeable and the story is so good that it is hard not to get caught up in the moment.

As far as the DVD is concerned, there are more special features than you'd expect for a film such as this. It didn't do extremely well at the box office, so I wasn't expecting much in the way of extras. What you get are deleted scenes from the movie, interviews with members of the crew, hidden gems that you have to bounce around the menu for, and mini-documentaries on the creation of the film.

There are a couple of curse words in the movie, but the story is so great that you can look beyond this. Naturally, anything involving a giant includes a little violence, but it is all handled with care. There is one sad moment involving a deer, and some may consider the message a little preachy, but just keep in mind that our hero and his young friend are both children trying to cope with reality.

Trust me when I say that you will fall in love with this movie. It has a powerful story and never gets too sugary for anyone. It will hold the attention of all viewers, no matter what their age. It is worthy of multiple views and definitely worth purchasing. I highly recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. Watch it with your family after you have a home-cooked meal at the dinner table to top off a perfect evening.

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More The Iron Giant reviews
review by . June 20, 2010
No, I am not referring to myself here (although there may be a slight ring of truth therein).  Moreover, this review reflects the wonder of the late English poet laureate and American poet Sylvia Plath widower Ted Hughes's 1968 masterpiece of a children's chapter book entitled, The Iron Giant: A Story In Five Nights.  (Because that book was not listed here on Lunch, I had to use the corresponding movie link to access the appropriate category for this work)        …
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
super cute movie
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Great movie! It's been a while since the last time I watched it, but it has a nice plot and great characters who are easy to form attachments to.
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
I didn't care for this. Not terribly interesting.
review by . August 31, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
The Iron Giant is a loose adaptation of a wonderful book of the same title, by Ted Hughes (written in the late sixties). In the book the origins of the giant are unknown, and he is initially buried beneath the earth before being attacked and ultimately befriended. The enemy in the book, who becomes a common enemy to both the humans and the giant and the cause of their alliance, was a giant dragon-like creature (as big as Australia!!) who the giant ends up outsmarting.     In …
review by . December 22, 2000
The Iron Giant choked in the box office, buried under a deluge of flashy films, all of which suffered from a serious dearth of heart and soul. It didn't help that the advertising campaign was painfully bad, embedding a pretense of "crappy kids' movie." And, of course, the animated motion picture genre is decidedly handcuffed by Disney, and any non-Disney flick is sure to elicit cynicism from the kids (the prime demographic for a movie like this).But forget all that...The Iron Giant is a fine movie. …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


This gentle reworking of Ted Hughes's 1968 novella was the unseen gem of 1999. Hogarth, a young boy who lives in the Maine woods during the cold war, befriends a giant robot. As with E.T., the iron giant is a misunderstood outsider who becomes a child's best friend, and Hogarth does his best to hide the massive figure from his mom (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) and the local scrap-yard beatnik (Harry Connick Jr.). Soon the suspicions of neighbors and a government agent (Christopher McDonald) spell trouble.

With no songs, no sidekicks, and no cheap ending, The Iron Giant is a refreshing change-- like an off-Broadway production compared to the glitz of Disney's annual animated extravaganzas. Director Brad Bird may have Family Dog and The Simpsons to his credit, but this film doesn't have that brand of scatological humor. As with the best family entertainments, there are gags that adults will howl at while the kids are watching something else (see Bird's interpretation of cold war propaganda). And the star is one cool piece of animated magic. Voiced by Vin Diesel (Saving Private Ryan's hulking Private Caparzo) and filled with more gadgets than a Swiss army knife, the giant is a grand thing to behold. And like another famous cinema tin man, our hero--and the movie--has heart. Superb entertainment for ages 5 and up. --Doug Thomas

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Director: Brad Bird
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
Runtime: 86 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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