Projections - Movie Reviews

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant has the color and glitz of an animated feature, but it quickly masks it's cartoon image and becomes a perfect fifties science fiction story.

The Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel) even though designed to be a gun from space is far more like Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still than a Predator. At times he appears with three heads like projections on chords that mimic War of the Worlds, but mostly he is a gentle giant who has found a true friend in Hogarth (voiced by Eli Marienthal) a young independent boy who is quiet and more thoughtful than most of his peers.  He watches scary science fiction on TV when his mother, Annie Hughes (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) is not watching.

We see the fear in the American society when Sputnik, the first artificial satellite is successfully launched in 1957 by the Russians, and the mistrust it spawns when the FBI suspects Hogarth knows where The Iron Giant is hiding.

We of course know more than FBI agent, Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) who suspects the Giant is part of a foreign invasion.  He wears a wide brimmed soft hat like James Arness in Them and is foolish enough to think he can out smart and maneuver Hogarth.  In his first encounter Hogarth offers him some chocolate, we know it's Cho Co LAX and the cynical federal investigator spends the next day running for rest rooms.

The Giant vaporizes tanks and replaces train rails to save lives.  He becomes a friend to Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick, Jr.) an artist who owns a junk yard filled with metal for the Giant to eat.

We are far enough from the invasion fear of the fifties to smile at the antics of the adults and enjoy the warm relationship which grows between Hogarth and his new friend.  The Giant learns restraint and Hogarth learns the secrets of the Giant.  Safely away from the fear that existed in the films that are paralleled, Giant develops a world dominated by the innocence and imagination of a child and a steel creature from space.

The Iron Giant is a delightful ride from the past to the future, filled with ideas which flow from a bright genuine imagination.  We are fortunate that Director, Brad Bird, can react like a kid, filling the screen with joy and excitement that kids will love and parents will appreciate.

The Iron Giant
A Top Ten pick for 1999

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