It came from outer space!
Harry Connick Jr.
Running Time: 86 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: U
Country: United States
Call me presumptuous, but I find it hard to imagine anyone not loving The Iron Giant. It might not be one of the best-known western animations, owing much to the fact that its made by Warner Bros rather than Disney (which means its free from cutesy side characters and song n dance numbers), but it is certainly one of the best.
Based on the book by Ted Hughes, it tells the thoughtful and touching tale of a young un named Hogarth who befriends a lighthouse-tall metal giant from outer-space. After rescuing the mechanical man-mountain from a power-station frazzling, Hogarth teaches his conspicuous buddy the ways of Planet Earth and helps him hide out, first in the woods and then at an accommodating scrap yard. You see, its the late 1950s and, with Cold War anxiety putting American Government paranoia into overdrive, its unlikely theyd take too kindly to the sudden appearance of the worlds biggest kitchen appliance. But how long can Hogarth and his sky-high mate remain concealed? After all, we all know how difficult the suits in charge at Washington find it to locate Weapons of Mass Destruction, but surely even THEY couldnt fail to trace a 100-foot robot thundering about on their own land? Couldnt they??
Featuring artwork which is low-key but highly effective, and a story thatll be equally engrossing for adults as it is for tykes, The Iron Giant is the sort of toon that I can imagine being just as watchable 50 years down the line as it is now. It just oozes that rare quality of timelessness. Its also really well-performed by its voice-over cast, which includes the brilliant Christopher McDonald as snooping FBI dolt Kent Mansley, Jennifer Aniston as Hogarths maw, and a pre-famous Vin Diesel as the giant (you might not recognise his voice though its less mechanical and makes use of a wider range of vocabulary than were used to from the V Man).
Of course, writer-director Brad Bird is no stranger to getting animation right. He helmed many an episode of The Simpsons, was an executive consultant on King of the Hill, and this year wrote and directed a little film by the name of The Incredibles. Here, he draws on an extensive range of influences (as well as paying homage to 50s sci-fi noir, fans of either E.T or Roald Dahls The BFG will see plenty thats already familiar to them), but the finished product has a style thats all its own and is certain to be remembered as a classic in its own right for a very long time.
It's Got: Nuts and bolts.
It Needs: To stay out of the rain sadly, rust is one of the biggest killers of giant robots today.
DVD Extras The extras arent really as good as a lot of the other animated DVDs out there could it be time to put that right with a Special Edition? All you get in this version is a Making Of, a trailer, and the Eddie Platt music vid Cha-Hua-Hua (which is basically just a montage of clips from the film). DVD Extras Rating: 4/10
Alternatives:E.T., The BFG
A success of giant proportions. Everyone should make a point of seeing this movie.