Review of 'The Iron Giant'

the_iron_giant.jpg It is 1957 in the small rural town of Rockwell, Maine. Hogarth Hughes (voiced by Eli Marienthal) is a young boy who stumbles across a giant metal robot (voiced by Vin Diesel) caught in some power lines. The robot has suffered from his experience, forgetting his true purpose but determined to be Hogarth's friend. The robot remains hidden from view but U.S. government agent Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) is suspicious as to what is going on and begins to investigate. Hogarth and the robot quickly become friends and win over beatnik artist Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) who operates a local scrapheap that also serves as materials for his creations. The three have a great time together but it is only a matter of time before the government come calling for the massive robot and his impressive array of weapons…

An amazing story with fantastic animation. The Iron Giant will charm both old and young alike. The story, based on the book “The Iron Man” by Ted Hughes, is told with such tenderness and sensitivity, with a child-like innocence contrasting dramatically when the giant returns to his role as a giant killing machine. Yes, it is a bit of a simplistic story contrasting the determination of humans to kill themselves and the innocence of youth. The tradition style of animation is spot on, capturing the fun and excitement of the story. The pacing may be a bit slow but with the short running length and the concentration on character this is something that can easily be overlooked.

The characterisation is spot on with the sprightly, dynamic character of Hogarth contrasting sharply with the laid back Dean. You can truly see the scale of the giant with his, slow deliberate movements yet tender, compassionate features that dramatically alter when he becomes a war machine. It is obviously the love of the filmmakers in the story and characters that is in evidence. We feel for all of them. Being a simpler story it is obvious the “baddies” from the military would be very bad in their uniforms with little attempt at making them sympathetic though in the end even this is turned on it's head with everyone having learned a valuable lesson.

Great fun taking us back to a simpler time. “The Iron Giant” is a wonderful, touching piece of animation with a wonderful story.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-10-27

Directed by: Brad Bird

Studio: Warner Bros.

Year: 1999

Length: 86 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Brad Bird: