animated movie The Iron Giant © Warner Bros.

Reviews for The Iron Giant

3.94 stars / 16 ratings
hbkyoc's avatar
Fledgling Reviewer
Reviews: 8

hbkyoc's Review

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posted: Jun 05, 2009
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If you are interested in the Cold War Era you may just adore this film. Duck and cover!

Iron Giant is a great film. When I grew up in the sixties we had supplies stored in our basement in case the bomb hit. I lived the tail end of the classic cold war. I definitely remember having bomb drills at school where we all had to get under our desk. Everybody has their own era they like and this one is mine. I saw the movie in the Theater. Right from the start using the satellite beeping sound with the WB logo it sets the cold war era tone. There were many movies made in the fifties and sixties that had a monster or alien or evil force etc threatening to destroy the world. The monster was of course symbolic of the "red team" threatening our way of life. Iron Giant starts with the same flavor (did you notice the satellite in the beginning had Russian symbols on it ?). But there is a twist. This menace is actually very nice and caring and knows killing is wrong. But on the other hand, there is a warning that we can get in a lot of trouble if we are not careful with such power (remember the train wreck). For many, the movie probably also hits home as presenting a safe clean time for children to grow up where they can roam around freely in the streets and on their bike. Everybody had a job, things moved slower and there were no problems like we have today. Of course this is not true, there were plenty of problems back in the fifties also. You can't go back.

Great thoughtful characters, the artist, the Goverment Agent.

Toonboy's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 319

Toonboy's Review

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posted: Jul 01, 2008
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After fiddling with my scores of old time classics a bit and then a SECOND time after finally coming down from the high I received from the glorious Wall*E, I noticed that The Iron Giant struggled with Surf's Up for the last spot for the top 5 animated movie here at Keyframe. If my review can tip the balance, I'd feel all that much better.

The Iron Giant truly is one of the best animated movies ever crafted. It's just a shame more people didn't go to see it when it was in theaters. My review for this movie probably won't be as detailed as Wall*E's, but Wall*E obviously takes its influence from this movie. And this movie is obviously influenced by E.T. Just a story about a simple boy and his misunderstood friend.

While Wall*E had obvious environmental messages, The Iron Giant patterns itself around the Red Scare paranoia of the 50s, which is most likely the timeframe for this movie. It is in this context that the movie delivers the much broader anti-gun message. The movie even hints that hunting is bad even more blatantly than Bambi, which I think is unrealistic, but the nerve wracking action scenes make you forget it's trying to hammer a lesson into your head because the movie is just so darn slick. You then realize that what it's really trying to tell you is that violence is bad and that to be blinded by fear to the point of bigotry is bad.

It also doesn't hurt that the characters are so well thought out. Disney characters tend to be tremendous archetypal, especially the villains, with only one or two over-the-top characteristics defining the character as the role it fills. The villain here, while never showing the roundness Miyazaki villains are known for, still seems refreshingly human in his despicable cowardice. But it's The Giant himself that earns top marks. I especially love his design, and his sacrifice at the end of the movie is the test of how much you've connected with him.

The Iron Giant is refreshing for its non-Disney approach, refreshing for its subtle humor, refreshing for its messages, and refreshing for its lack of songs. It tops anything Disney's ever put out since The Fox and the Hound. Until Wall*E came out that is.

wildanimals's avatar
Animated Enthusiast
Reviews: 47

wildanimals' Review

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posted: Jan 11, 2008
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Simply put, this is an amazing movie. Despite being animated, this is not a Disney-esque musical with talking animals. No, this is a serious film that deals with serious issues as realistically as possible, considering that one character is 100 feet tall and is made of metal. For me, The Iron Giant has a special place in my heart. I can remember seeing it theaters and loving it. I owned it on video for many years and despite being a girl, I enjoyed it much more than any film that has princesses as the main characters.

I really like the style of the animation. A lot of animated humans tend to look 'cartoonish,' but here there's a fine balance. Everyone looks real enough but not in a way that they seem lifeless. The animation on the giant himself was very impressive. The backgrounds were lively and colourful and we had some impressive forest shots reminiscent of 'Bambi.'

Aside from being great eye candy, The Iron Giant has a well-paced engrossing story which starts right away. There is never a dull moment. As I said before, the story is a serious one but there are some very funny scenes. Instead of there being a comic relief sidekick, all the characters have their amusing moments. One of my favourite scenes is when Hogarth tries to say 'grace.' I won't give it away - you'll have to watch it to find out.

This is a film that anyone can watch. It's not just a mere 'kids film' - it's a work of art that deserves much more than it got. This is a real movie with heart. It never gets overly sentimental or stupid and is a real wonder in the world that is Animation.

The Great Dragon's avatar
Reviewing Ninja
Reviews: 57

The Great Dragon's Review

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posted: Dec 04, 2006
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Really, a good film. When we watched it on DVD, the first time I watched it, the disk was scratched at the squirrel scene, so that was disappointing. My mom actually went to high school with Brad, and was actually in a play with him. And my mom lived in the next-to-most unlikely place: Corvallis, Oregon. Yeah.
(the most unlikely place is in Anderson, Indiana, where I live)

servewithchips's avatar
Toon Addict
Reviews: 93

servewithchips' Review

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posted: Aug 16, 2006
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Before The Incredibles, there was The Iron Giant. Directed by Brad Bird, this film presents the story of a young boy in cold war Maine who befriends an alien robot who just happens to be the ultimate weapon of destruction. I may never again praise Vin Diesel for anything, but he nails the voice of the giant. Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jr. also contribute great performances to this much underrated and underviewed film.

The handful of people that have seen this movie have nothing but praise for it as shown by its amazing 97 freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So why did this movie bomb when it came out in 1999? Probably because there weren't enough singing animals in the cast. But despite my fondness for vocally inclined creatures, this movie is probably better without them. I give it an A-.

greykitty's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 193

greykitty's Review

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posted: Oct 26, 2005
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It's too bad this film didn't make it in the box office because it is an excellent movie. The story, animation, and voice work are awesome.

The story is great, and it keeps the viewer interested. When the movie ended I wanted to see more. It has a very moving story. Most would probably think of a film about a giant robot couldn't be touching, but amazingly, this one was. That takes skill on the writers' part. The characters have depth, and one could sympathize with them, even the robot! And the bad guy was one that the viewer can love to hate. There is also some great humor in it.

The animation is amazing! It's very smooth and fluid. Everything is crisp and the computer animated objects/characters fit into the film nicely, whereas with most films it stands out like a sore thumb. The style is quite different from Disney, which is great for a nice change.

The cast was great. I don't think they could have found better voice actors for the roles. The score is great. I think it's one of the better ones I've heard in an animated film. the few songs that were in there, weren't very prominent, and all were 1950's music.

Overall this is an excellent movie that should have gotten a lot more attention. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Magnus's avatar
Reviewing Ninja
Reviews: 73

Magnus' Review

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posted: Jun 24, 2005
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You know, the first time I saw this, it was playing on TV. I own the DVD now, and I wish to high heaven I had seen it when it was in theaters. The first thing that amazed me was the quality of the animation. The art has a unique style that isn't Disney or anime, but something a little different. And it's so fluid, not jumpy at all! The next thing that amazed me was the story. It's very interesting, and somehow has a lot of flavor, if that makes any sense. I could swear it was based on an old picture book for children called "B-9, The Hungry Metal Eater," about some kind of alien robot that crashes on Earth and has to eat metal things for food, but apparently it was based on a DIFFERENT children's book about an alien robot that crashes on Earth and has to eat metal things for food.

Anyway, the movie just takes the story and runs with it, and it brings you along for the ride. Also, the characters aren't generic; they seem like real people (despite their paper-and-pencil biology), with personalities and social relationships. Then, I was amazed yet again by the robot himself, whose guttoral growling and mashing sounds are apparently the voicework of one Vin Diesel. And no matter how cool you think the robot is in the beginning, rest assured he is FAR cooler than that. So, yeah. I liked this movie.

Inkwolf's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 202

Inkwolf's Review

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posted: May 14, 2005
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The Iron Giant was a great cartoon, and I agree that it's sad that it didn't do better at the box office.

One thing parents may want to discuss with small children watching, though--there's a scene where the kid gets some laxatives out of the medicine cabinet and slips them to his enemy. It's probably not a very safe thing to suggest to a kid, to dump pills in someone's drink as a prank.

lupercal's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 517

lupercal's Review

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posted: Sep 02, 2004
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Originally I rated this movie 3 stars. This was based on a several years old memory, and I promied I would watch it again and reconsider, given all the praise that has been heaped on it. (a couple of years later: Maybe I'll re-watch it again, and it'll end up with 4)

On second viewing - wow, yeah, it's definately better than I remembered. I don't know whether it's because my first viewing was on a rented VHS on a VCR that was falling apart, whereas this was the special edition DVD on a new television, or whether I was just more in the mood for it, or both, but this time around I was dazzled by the animation, and very impressed by the story telling.

I hadn't noticed little things the first time, for example, to do with the 1950's setting and its tribute to the pop history of the era. I didn't pick up on the fact that the beatnik artist/junkyard owner is called Dean, and in one shot he's standing beside a poster of Jack Kerouac (a 50's beat writer whose most famous character is also named Dean).

I also just wasn't able to appreciate the quality of the animation on VHS. In a way it's sad, because this film was made in 1999, at a time when some truly amazing looking 2D animation was coming out American studios (Disney's 'Tarzan', their best film since 1981 IMO, came out in 1999 too, and was similarly jaw-dropping).

Why I call it sad is because this was virtually the last fling of 2D dominance, and it's probable that we won't see traditional cel style animation of this quality again. Brad Bird, who directed this film, has moved on to Pixar, for starters. Even the incredible Ghibli films tend to be hampered visually by their sometimes jerky, 12 frames per second animation, and who can say which direction they will go anyway, with 'Howl's Moving Castle' quite possibly being Miyazaki's final film.

Anyway, back to Iron Giant. It's wonderfully told, looks beautiful, has a great mixture of comedy, emotional poignancy, and - I can't stress how important this is to me - a real sense of crossover between children's and adult's animation. I honestly can't think of anything to fault about it, and the only reason it didn't get a perfect score is because I'm notoriously stingy with my 4 stars and 'Iron Giant' still doesn't quite send me over the top.

Maybe the third time around....

In any case, this is a modern classic, and one of the best animated films of the 90's - a decade which was bursting at the seams with animated features. Nor is there any doubt that it deserves more recognition that it has recieved, as evidenced by the fact that so far only Athena and myself have reviewed it.

NB. Based on a story by Ted Hughes, whose first poetry collection was 'Lupercal'

athena's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 218

athena's Review

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posted: Oct 05, 2003
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Although The Iron Giant has had a disappointing run at the Box Office, it has certainly not been for lack of quality. This is an outstanding movie in a class by itself and it is the characters and story that making it stand out.

The story follows Hogarth Hughes, a bright, energetic 10 year-old who is a typical kid and yet not a typical animated kid. Hogarth is amazingly "real" which makes his antics so much more entertaining to watch. One of his best scenes is with him and his mother sitting at the kitchen table while the Iron Giant's disembodied hand is exploring the kitchen. As Hogarth says Grace, he's attempting to get the hand to leave the kitchen while not letting his mother know what's going on. We nearly died laughing... "GO AWAY... Satan..?"

Also the Iron Giant's attempts at discovering who he is and what he is meant to do have surprising depth. The conflict of whether he is an overly-sophisticated gun or the good person that Hogarth has taught him to be--"Superman"--is interesting to watch and lends the movie a strong moral tone but without beating one over the head with it.

This movie is a classic and one that deserves ten times more praise and attention than it has received. I can only hope that someday it will get the recognition it deserves.