IRON GIANT (1999) 

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Jennifer Aniston
Harry Connick Jr.
Eli Marienthal
Vin Diesel
Christopher McDonald
John Mahoney

Brad Bird



Time: 86 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Animation/Drama

I don't see a lot of animanted films because frankly, I don't have children and I find most of the stories too childish and silly. Which isn't to say that those creating animated films aren't trying to attract an adult audience. TOY STORY and TARZAN are prime examples of films that will satisfy any member of an audience, adult or child. Since I don't make a point of watching animated movies, I, like most of America, missed seeing the IRON GIANT in the movie theater. That is a great shame. It is a wonderful story filled with laughter, excitement and tears. A film that teaches, as well as entertains. One that should and could have been more popular if it had any backing from its' studio.

The story takes place during the height of the Cold War, when nuclear war was our greatest fear, causing most people to be cautious and suspect of anything new or different from themselves. Except for Hogarth Hughes, a young boy with a wonderful imagination and a desperate need for a friend. He soon finds one in the Iron Giant. After saving the giant from electrocution, Hogarth is wary, but excited about his new 4-story metal friend. What young boy wouldn't want his very own robot? He begins to teach the giant English and teach him the ways of his new home. Of course, it's not easy to hide an enormous metal man, so Hogarth enlists the help of Dean, the local beatnick junkman. The giant initially freaks Dean out, but he soon discovers that this huge piece of scrap has a heart.

It doesn't take the govenment long to get involved. Kent Mansley is sent to check out reports of a giant beast taking bites out of the locals property. He discovers the being that could thrust his stalled career into orbit. Angry and untrusting, he's willing to go to any length to make sure the giant is caught and destroyed, even at the cost of human lives. Hogarth and Dean try to protect the giant, to get everyone to understand he's not a threat to them, but Kent is unwilling to see the giant as anything but evil. A battle ensues, nuclear war is threatened and in the end the giant chooses his own destiny.

"Look, it's none of my business, but who cares what these creeps think of you? They don't make you what you are, you do. You are who you choose to be."

The film is a little slow in the beginning, but once the friendship between Hogarth and the Giant begins to grow, you'll be glued to your seat. There's a great deal of humor and warmth between these two outcasts who have finally found someone to love. The Giant obviously represents our fear for those who are different from us. Especially, if taken in context, the USSR, which was portrayed as a country out to get us, but who in fact was filled with people just as scared as we were. It's a film that gets to the heart of serious issues that are still alive and well today, by placing them in the past, in a context easy to relate to. The animation of the giant is extraordinary. His movements are large yet amazingly fluid and quick. He's the coolest character to come along in quite awhile. It made me wish there were toys, cause I would buy them.

Unfortunately, Warner Bros. dropped the ball on this one. Instead of pushing a fine quality movie like this, they decided to back the insipidly stupid Pokemon craze. It's a sad commentary when money beats out quality. Show them you think differently. The IRON GIANT is a film that deserves your attention.

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