The Iron Giant (1999)

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Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97% IMDB Rating: 7.9
AMR Rating: Worth Buying.

Synopsis: A boy named Hogarth discovers a giant from outer space, whom he needs to protect.

Review: A twist on the classic superhero movie (and reminding me of E.T.), The Iron Giant is nevertheless a sweet and funny movie. Oh, and it’ll also make you cry. Each scene is special in its own way and seems to bring out a different feeling. Some scenes, like the ones with Hogarth and Dean, are hilarious (especially the “coffee” scene!) Other scenes, like the dead deer and the death of the iron giant, will make you use up all the tissues you can find. However, I absolutely love the satisfactory ending of the iron giant coming back to life. That was a nice touch. I’m smiling by just thinking about that part of the movie. Throughout the film, the friendship is apparent, and you feel like you’re with the characters or even one of the characters. Though the plot is quite simple, it grabs you. On top of that, this movie is intelligent and has quite a few messages (guns are bad, don’t hate on the foreign, literally “you choose who you want to be”). With many references to the time period, you can have a Googling session right afterward on the Cold War. This movie also embraces many However, it would be nice if this movie had some more action or romance. Sure, they’re cliche film characteristics, but they do make a movie good. 

The scenery is great: there’s so many possibilities for landscapes when you have something huge to stand on. The animation, art style, and film score are pretty plain, but I personally think it suits the movie. However, the way the film captures that era is to be admired. The fashions, the buildings in the movie, they all fit.

A sweet movie about the friendship between a boy and a robot that can bring out many emotions, The Iron Giant is Worth Watching. Both kids and adults can embrace this film.

Background: After reading the original Iron Man book by Hughes, Bird was impressed with the mythology of the story but decided to introduce two new characters not present in the original book: Dean and Kent. Bird chose to have the story set to take place in the 1950s as he felt the time period “presented a wholesome surface, yet beneath the wholesome surface was this incredible paranoia. We were all going to die in a freak-out.” (Source)

The film is set in 1957 during a period of the Cold War characterized by escalation in tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1957, Sputnik was launched, raising the possibility of nuclear attack from space. Anti-communism and the potential threat of nuclear destruction cultivated an atmosphere of fear and paranoia which also led to a proliferation of films about alien invasion. In one scene, Hogarth’s class is seen watching an animated film named Atomic Holocaust, based on Duck and Cover, an actual film that offered advice on how to survive if the USSR bombed the USA. The film also has an anti-gun message in it. When the Iron Giant sees a deer get killed by hunters, the Iron Giant notices two rifles discarded by the deer’s body. The Iron Giant’s eyes turn red showing hostility to any gun. It is repeated throughout the film, “Guns kill.” and “You’re not a gun.” Despite the anti-war and anti-gun themes, the film avoids demonizing the military, and presents General Rogard as an essentially rational and sympathetic figure, in contrast to the power-hungry civilian Mansley. Hogarth’s message to the giant, “You are who you choose to be”, played a pivotal role in the film. Writer Tim McCanlies commented that “At a certain point, there are deciding moments when we pick who we want to be. And that plays out for the rest of your life.” McCanlies said that movies can provide viewers with a sense of right and wrong, and expressed a wish that the movie would “make us feel like we’re all part of humanity [which] is something we need to feel.” (Source)

The Hugo Awards nominated The Iron Giant for Best Dramatic Presentation, while the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honored Brad Bird and Tim McCanlies with the Nebula Award nomination. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave the film a Children’s Award as Best Feature Film. In addition The Iron Giant won nine Annie Awards and was nominated for another six categories, with another nomination for Best Home Video Release at The Saturn Awards. IGN ranked The Iron Giant as the fifth favorite animated film of all time in a list published in 2010. The American Film Institute nominated The Iron Giant for its Top 10 Animated Films list. (Source)


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