The Iron Giant (1999)
1st January 2000
It is 1957 and Sputnik is orbiting earth and the Americans are obsessed with reds under the bed, in the closet and just about anywhere else you care to mention. One evening an object drops to earth from outer-space and talk soon spreads through the town of aliens and strange objects falling from the sky.
One evening young Hogarth is alone at home when the television picture is lost. Venturing outside he discovers that the aerial is missing and large path into the nearby woods has been made by a very large object. Having heard about the fallen object, and keen to meet an alien, he follows the strange path and comes across a large metal robot who has become stuck in power cables. Hogarth manages to turn the power supply off, saving the giant from electrocution, and hurries home to his now panicking mother.
Next day Hogarth ventures back into the woods to find the the iron giant, who is now grateful for being saved, and the two soon become inseparable friends. The giant eats metal, and he needs plenty of it, so they make a beeline for local the local scrap yard and coerce Dean into helping them. The giant is in his element and is like a child in a sweet shop with more choice of scrap metal he could ever dream of. During his stay in the yard he and Hogarth play until Hogarth produces a toy gun which triggers a dark secret.
Unfortunately, all the strange goings on in the town have attracted the attention of government agent Kent Mansley, who is a cross between Fox Mulder and inspector gadget, and he will do anything to find the giant and then have it destroyed. Initially dismissed by his superiors he begins to gather more and more evidence to support his bizarre theories and the threat to America.
The picture is wonderful with rich colours and an above average bit-rate through the film with no artifacting evident. There are also some simple, yet wonder effects, when the giant reveals his full potential using the now standard animation procedure of mixing hand drawn cells with computer animation. The sound is just as impressive, especially during the last ten minutes of the film as explosions and gunshots rattle the around room.
Disney's strangle hold on animated films is really under pressure by Warner who have produced some excellent films recently and 'The Iron Giant' is certainly no exception. It can be enjoyed by child and adult alike, and although not a comedy it still had plenty of moments to raise a chuckle especially as the giant runs around the scrap yard spoilt for choice and his attempts at copying Hogarth's swimming.
Although clearly aimed at the younger audience, gaining a 'U' certificate, it has an anti-war message and exposes the 50's American paranoia, and indeed much of it still exists today. There is never any mention of Hogarth's father, but there is a fleeting moment when you see a picture next to his bed of someone getting into a WWII fighter plane poignantly pointing out the consequences of war.
Any film which tends to mock the Americans, unsurprisingly, never does well there and you can take Mars attacks! as a prime example. As a consequence, many people avoided a true animated classic which would make a perfect addition to anyone's DVD collection.
- Theatrical Trailer
- The Making of "The Iron Giant"
- Music Video "Cha hua hua"
- DVD-ROM Enhanced