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Toonboy's Review of The Iron Giant

rated it: posted: Jul 01, 2008
Reviews: 319 | KF Animation Editor
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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.

animated movie The Iron Giant © Warner Bros.
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The Iron Giant
3.94 stars / 16 ratings
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