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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.33%
Average: 6.16%
Pretty Bad: 0.68%
Total Crap: 2.05%

9 reviews, 92 user ratings

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Iron Giant, The
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by Filmnet

"E.T. meets Gigantor"
5 stars

Let me start off by saying, quite categorically, this is not a children’s film. Sure, children will enjoy it immensely and I’m sure will believe it’s talking directly and only to them, but for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I sat there and felt an animated film talk to me.

Not that I haven’t enjoyed animated films of late. Disney has made quite a few movies in the last decade that parents enjoyed alongside their children because the clever writers and composers put a layer of humour and performance that only an adult ear could catch and appreciate, notably the musicals of Howard Ashman/Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid) and the Sir Elton/Sir Tim The Lion King.

Central to the storyline of The Iron Giant (this is not a spoiler … read on) is the paranoia, patriotism and white bread conservatism of 1957 … Sputnick, The Cold War, modern art, government infallibility. One of the classic examples are the “Duck and Cover” nuclear war training films and commercials being shown in classrooms and on television. Now how many children are going to appreciate that?

The animation style is a nice mix of realism with that thin, angular Warner Brothers animation style of the era. Though the film is in the classic animation style of the 40s and 50s, the scenes are rich with things to catch the eye and clues to stimulate the imagination. According to the press release, the animation teams went to a lot of trouble to make the film appear hand drawn and shot frame-by-frame on an animation camera, even going so far as to develop software that minutely jiggled the registration! We sure have come a long way.

The central character is Hogarth Hughes (Marienthal), a 9 year-old with the nasty habit of bringing home stray creatures, like cute furry squirrels and raccoons, and lives on a constant diet of junk food for his stomach and mind … Twinkies and sci-fi movies. Hogarth lives in a New England seaport village with his hard working and long suffering single mum, Annie (Aniston).

The space race is only weeks old when a fisherman comes ashore with a tale of a giant metal man from outer space. This causes rumors of Russian secret weapons and Martian invasions, bringing a young “CSM” from a secret government agency to town (though he smokes a pipe). When he finds the iron giant, Hogarth just sees another helpless stray, albeit 10 storeys taller than his last pet and made entirely out of metal. He convinces a beatnick, metal sculpture artist Dean (Connick, Jr) to hide his new friend in his junk yard/arts supply.

Director/Writer Brad Bird (better known for his work on The Simpsons and King of the Hill) has done an excellent job with this film. The humour and timing are great and he gets wonderful, intimate performances out of his actors, especially singer/actor Harry Connick Jr. (Memphis Belle, Independence Day, Copycat).

It is also refreshing to see an animated film that is an intelligent attempt to tell a story, rather than be a vehicle for songs. The only songs outside of Michael Kamen’s (Mr. Holland’s Opus, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) excellent score are actual period songs of 1957, played in context … a juke box, a car radio, TV, etc.

I suppose a good indication of how effective this film was is that in my memory I see the performances as human, as I would with live actors. When I read that Harry Connick Jr. would be appearing at the Jam Factory (Melbourne) opening on Thursday night (April 6th), I actually pictured the face of the character he plays and thought how much I’d like to congratulate him on his performance.

This film is obviously very much a labour of love stretching all the way back to the 1968 source book, The Iron Man by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, through to the 1986 musical concept album and 1993 stage musical by Pete Townshend (The Who’s “Tommy”), who is also The Iron Giant’s Producer. All credit to Warner Brothers for the good faith it must have taken to fly in the face of convention and fund this film.

Don’t just take your kids to this film, take your parents and maybe even your grandparents. My three kids (ages 13, 11 and 3) all enjoyed it equally, though they rarely agree on anything else. I’m sure my dad (70) will love it, too. (Randall

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/10/00 15:30:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2015 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/11/20 dupadoit hi there 5 stars
3/25/18 morris campbell very good i liked it alot 4 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
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
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
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  04-Aug-1999 (PG)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2004


  13-Apr-2000 (PG)

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