Movie Review: The Iron Giant
Director: Brad Bird
Reviewed: 8 December 2013
jamesintexas rating-- ****
Here is the true Iron Man, 1999's classic family film The Iron Giant. A young, lonely boy find a giant metal robot in the woods and forms a friendship. Set in the backdrop of the 1950's Atomic Age with Sputnik flying overhead and paranoia spreading across the land, The Iron Giant narrows its focus on this little boy wonderfully named Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal), his waitress-mother (Jennifer Anniston), the government inspector Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald), and a beatnik-artist-junkyard owner Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick, Jr.). Funny without pandering or insulting its audience, sweet without being maudlin, The Iron Giant delights in its colors and movements, a marvel of storytelling for 1999. Its reverence for comic books plays out wonderfully, and Bird's arrangement of the story results in a symphony of laughs and tears. It offers a take on violence that is refreshingly real ("Guns kill"), considerate of the consequences of pulling a trigger and paying off in a crucial way late in the film.
The film is not constructed to sell lunch boxes or Happy Meals. Its aesthetic is interesting and unconventional, and its highest moments achieve a grace and beauty often unseen in family films. I could watch this film over and over again, and I look forward to showing this film to my son when he gets old enough.