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Overall Rating
4.68

Awesome79.58%
Worth A Look: 11.97%
Average: 6.34%
Pretty Bad: 0.7%
Total Crap: 1.41%

9 reviews, 88 user ratings


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Iron Giant, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"I predict that this WILL be a beloved movie one day."
5 stars

While rival studios fight out to share a piece of the Disney pie, we are now offered several new animated features a year. Most of these are weak retreads of old classics (Anastasia) or just plain awful (The Quest for Camelot). So when The Iron Giant was released amidst a landslide of critical acclaim, it seemed it would be a huge success. At the box office, it just didn't do anything. It's a real shame too, because it's easily the best non-Disney cartoon in years.

The year is 1957. A giant metal robot plummets to earth, into the ocean off the New England coast. He's quickly discovered by Hogarth, a smart and rather excitable child. He of course has to hide his discovery from his Mom and also the nosey Government Agent Kent Mansley. He eventually introduces his gigantic new friend to Dean, the local beatnik artist, who helps to hide the conspicuous creature. Of course everything culminates when the army shows up to "deal with" the monster, and it's up to Hogarth and Dean to save the day.

While it may sound like a complete retread of E.T., The Iron Giant easily stands on its own. It's based on the popular novel by Ted Hughes, and it's a great example of a family movie that sends a message in a subtle, entertaining and sure-handed fashion. We slowly learn that the giant is also capable of massive destruction, although he quickly learns from Hogarth the sad truths about death.

The motivations of the U.S. government regarding foreign "invaders" are brilliantly parodied throughout the movie. The patriotic Kent explains that our government is there to protect, while all he's really interested in is destroying anything alien. The 1957 setting allows subtle but effective references to the Red Scare, and the threat of the Russian satellite Sputnik. The real irony is that the misunderstood giant will only attack when it sees guns or other weapons. It's a subtle touch, suggesting that perhaps the first aggressor will usually get the brunt of the attack.

While references to Russian satellites and cold war politics may make this movie seem somewhat political, it's instead presented in sly and subtle ways. (Especially clever is the "Duck and Cover" film the students watch at school.) Make no mistake: The Iron Giant is a fun movie. The characters are given more depth than usual in animated fare, and there are several funny scenes. (Dean's technique for hiding the giant, for example.)

The voice performances are uniformly strong, with Jennifer Aniston adding some nice touches as Hogarth's flustered mom. Harry Connick Jr. is sly and likable as Dean, and Christopher MacDonald (of Happy Gilmore fame) is just hysterical as the paranoid Kent Mansley. There are numerous other recognizable voices, including John Mahoney, Cloris Leachman, M. Emmet Walsh and James Gammon. A special mention goes to Vin Diesel, who supplies the voice of the giant. He shows a small sense of humanity in a completely alien voice.

The standout aspect of The Iron Giant has to be the animation itself. Director Brad Bird (of TV's Family Dog) presents specific detail, dynamic perspectives, and brilliant coloring in this movie. The deep shades of purples and greens, combined with severe angles and realistic-looking characters, are as impressive as any Disney movie. It's apparent that a lot of heart and attention to detail went into this project.

The Iron Giant was criminally underappreciated when it was released, although I predict it will satisfy infinitely more on video. It's a simple, smart and extremely entertaining movie; one that is perfect viewing for any age.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1791&reviewer=128
originally posted: 04/04/00 14:13:53
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User Comments

12/05/13 Reiska Heart the size of a universe, top of the world-class cartoon. 5 stars
2/20/11 Ark Great stuff! Saw it on HBO! Very satisfying, don't know why didn't do better at theaters! 5 stars
8/23/08 Little Buddy The Iron Giant combines the joy of SNOW WHITE,PINOCCHIO and FANTASIA. 5 stars
5/19/08 PAUL SHORTT A SOLIDLY BUILT, FUNNY AND ENTERTAINING FILM FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES 4 stars
3/22/08 Pamela White cute movie but preachy pacifistic 4 stars
12/07/06 Browncoat "Souls don't die."Very true.This movie shouldn't either.dn 5 stars
11/12/06 J This movie should have been a blockbuster. 5 stars
6/11/06 Dave Webber Brad Bird is a genius! 5 stars
5/31/06 William Goss What a truly terrific film. 5 stars
8/28/05 D Buckley Great. Seriously. 5 stars
8/26/05 ES This movie is as great as the incredibles, love it 5 stars
6/24/05 John Aster Habig Very overlooked Why are great animated features always overshadowed by Disney Crap 5 stars
1/31/05 clinger26 THe best 5 stars
12/18/04 Theresa Wagner great for kids and adults 4 stars
12/06/04 Robbin Mattingly This movie should and will be a classic 5 stars
12/06/04 Jimmy Kustes I've been waiting to pick up the special edition 5 stars
12/05/04 Kristina Williams the only decent work by Mr. Vin Diesel 5 stars
11/27/04 sbpat21 brilliant 5 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Totally schools typical Disney garbage - the animated film I waited my whole life for! 5 stars
9/18/04 Naka Wonderful, one of the best animated films of the 90s. 5 stars
9/14/04 tatum Fantastic, truly wonderful 5 stars
5/15/04 Sean Scanlan Great, but no Toy Story 2 4 stars
4/05/04 Durin's Bane Superb film! Should have been a blockbuster! 5 stars
11/30/03 *A Monotonous Creton who loves Tom Hulce* amazing. luv connick jr. 5 stars
6/01/03 Jon Lyrik One incredible film. 5 stars
4/25/03 Jack Sommersby Fuck that bland, gutless Disney shit. This is the real thing! 5 stars
2/12/03 T. Long The Iron Giant is without a doubt the best movie I ever see. Period 5 stars
11/29/02 R.W. Welch Okay sci-fantasy, but you have the feeling you've seen all this before somewhere. 3 stars
11/29/02 Goofy Maxwell A pacifist packing serious heat? Yeah, but Bot got soul. He's a lover, not a hater. 5 stars
9/06/02 Monster W. Kung The kid was a little annoying, but the story was just very, very good; great ending. 4 stars
5/10/02 Lorena Bain Uhh...I've never seen it before but I think its good cos it has Eli in it!!! 5 stars
4/15/02 WolfTracker great keep a box of tissues handy though 5 stars
3/28/02 eedah !@#$%^&* 5 stars
3/12/02 The $1.98 Pyramid This movie made me wanting to be a kid again. 5 stars
3/12/02 Cat A beautiful cartoon! haven't cried at a cartoon in a very long time 4 stars
1/25/02 Andrew Carden Good Story, but The Movie Is Taken To A Bad Level When Violence Occurs. 3 stars
12/10/01 Jim "The Iron Giant" out-Supermans Superman 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Surprisingly brilliant animated film! A tear jerker that deserves attention. 5 stars
6/23/01 Marijan Srdic Billy Bob,you're a fucking homo! I guess some idiots just dont get it... Kick-ass movie! 5 stars
4/30/01 Steph Williams SUPERMAN!!!! This is a heart warming, beautiful film. It appeals to adults as well as kids! 5 stars
4/25/01 Billy Bob the person who made this sight is a homo 1 stars
3/12/01 Jon Cotleur This movie made me cry. Not water, CRY. Alas, it will forever be lost to the masses... 5 stars
3/12/01 james "bite me" womack this is the first animated movie that made me cry since charlottes web. superman indeed 5 stars
2/17/01 Jason I love this film :) 5 stars
12/15/00 viking Contains the element of innovation lacking in most recent Disney features 5 stars
11/24/00 The Evil Penguin Looks more like "King Kong" 3 stars
9/26/00 Jed Ignore H'Wood Bigshot this is a good reason why most PG-rated animated films rule! 5 stars
9/08/00 Richard Wright A masterpiece of storytelling, emotion, humour and animation. Wonderful, intelligent film. 5 stars
7/29/00 Marilyn Joel's mom Best animated film in constant rotation at the video kidplex! 5 stars
7/29/00 Jinx H'wood bigshot: the Giant wasn't Russian. Excellent poignant film. Disney, take THIS lesson 5 stars
6/30/00 Naushad Khanji Good not gteat.Brisk pacing only in last 15 minutes. 4 stars
6/07/00 JC Better than most disney animated films 5 stars
5/19/00 The Hunter good 5 stars
5/13/00 Will a touching, excellent lil' movie 5 stars
5/03/00 H'wood bigshot I figured it out! America: Bad..U.S.S.R.: Good. Which one's still around? 1 stars
5/02/00 bullit17 Very unfortunate it was poorly marketed, because everyone should see this one 5 stars
5/02/00 master.node May be the best animated feature of all time. 5 stars
4/21/00 Mic Absolutely brilliant. Damn Warner Bros for not marketing it for what it's worth. 5 stars
12/22/99 Jonathan Although only loosely based upon the book it still expouses the same worthy ideals. 5 stars
12/18/99 Rino@ He@rtilly Great Movie. Teaches about moral values 5 stars
11/25/99 Manos2weapon Joe Schmoe has said it all! (Among the others that give this a Awesome rating) 5 stars
11/21/99 Amy Brilliant, underrated movie. One of my favorites of the year. 5 stars
11/16/99 Buck 2K Makes you feel like Superman. 5 stars
11/16/99 Adam A masterpiece. Don't look this one over just because its not Disney Academy members. 5 stars
10/14/99 Lame-Oh This is not Disney. EXCELLENT! 5 stars
10/10/99 Viral Messiah Whoever hates this is a friggin' moron! A must see for any age! 5 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Pg rated cartoons rule! 5 stars
9/29/99 Orgazmo Totally mediocre storytelling with flat jokes 2 stars
9/28/99 Slurpee_E The best movie of the year. 5 stars
9/25/99 Matthew Briggs warner brothers suddenly forgot how to sell a movie--no reason to stay away 5 stars
9/20/99 Weird Andy Kiddie flicks don't ALWAYS suck. 5 stars
9/20/99 Admiral Crunch A brilliant masterpiece! 5 stars
9/13/99 Mr Showbiz Beautifully, lucidly captures the adventurousness of childhood. 5 stars
9/09/99 martin excellent for anyone of any age 5 stars
8/26/99 Baked Spam yet again cal arts has churned out another top notch director. 5 stars
8/21/99 Ah Dooey Awesome, this cartoon kills Doug's First Movie. Suck on this, Disney! 5 stars
8/19/99 Tree Entertaining, Iron Giants Stomps Tarzan 4 stars
8/17/99 William Ansley See this movie, no matter what your age! 5 stars
8/16/99 danimal this movie is one of the best animated films i have ever seen, bar none! 5 stars
8/16/99 Kenyata "Tarzan" is not the best animated film of the summer....not even close. 5 stars
8/16/99 Noreen Sweet, clever, fun, though not the Masterpiece I was expecting 4 stars
8/16/99 mason godlike soundtrack , tastefull animation , moving story , best film of the year hands down 5 stars
8/13/99 ProfJim Animated, shanimated, this is a touching, clever film that EVERYONE should see! 5 stars
8/12/99 Kevin Beautiful, amazing movie for all ages. See it while you can. 5 stars
8/10/99 Nornus Incredible film, best of the year. 5 stars
8/04/99 Goofus A great flick. Not your usual kiddie-driven animated flick. A must-see. 5 stars
8/04/99 Raj Nice animated film has great message and no sappy, lame-ass songs! 4 stars
8/03/99 The Graduate Surprisingly mature, and the Giant kicks ass! I want one of my own! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Aug-1999 (PG)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  13-Apr-2000 (PG)




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