Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Movie Review: "The Iron Giant" (1999)

Director: Brad Bird
Year: 1999
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

A young boy befriends a giant metal robot and protects it from a government investigator trying to destroy it.

"The Iron Giant" is directed by Brad Bird, who would go on to direct other such fabulous movies like "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille." He also wrote the screenplay for this movie along with Tim McCanlies, based on the book "The Iron Man" by Ted Hughes. It stars Vin Diesel, who does the voice for the titular Iron Giant, and Eli Marienthal, who voices Hogarth Hughes, the young boy who befriends the giant metal man. Joining them are Jennifer Aniston, who voices Hogarth's mom Annie, Harry Connick Jr., who voices Dean, an artist who owns the local scrap yard, and Christopher McDonald, who voices Kent Mansley, the government investigator looking into UFO sightings who wants find and destroy "The Iron Giant."

Usually when searching for animated features with depth and strong emotional ties, one may turn to the likes of Disney, Pixar, or even Studio Ghibli. With this Cold War-era sci-fi themed animated film, Warner Bros. Animation really hit it out of the park in terms of creating a complex, heroic tale. It is a well written, moving story that remains fun and charming with an excellent look about it. It is a film that respects its audience, and though that audience is mainly comprised of children, it doesn't treat them like they are stupid and need to hear a bunch of fart jokes as its main source of humor. It deals with life, death, and humanity in a way that everyone can understand it. At its core, this is a movie about a bond between two beings that feel lost in this world. The two find true friendship in one another, and it doesn't matter that one of them is a 50-foot-tall robot.

The voice over work is simple excellent, especially Vin Diesel's touching work as the Giant. Though he doesn't get a whole lot to say, we will admit, this in one of the few times he has been able to bring us to tears with his heartfelt, slam dunk performance. Eli Marienthal was just a wee lad at the time he made this movie, but boy, is he good! He puts on a fantastic vocal performance as a kid who feels like he finally has a friend in the world and gets scared that it will be taken away from him. Jennifer Aniston does a great job as Hogarth's mom, and Harry Connick Jr. is swell as well as a reluctant participant in the metal madness.

Though "The Iron Giant" is deep-seeded in raw, rich, powerful emotion, it is also very funny and gives an interest look back at 1950's America when everyone lived in constant fear of nuclear war. It has a lot to say about many things, and we absolutely love this movie. Every single time we watch it, we are drawn in to its compelling narrative and its brilliant dynamics. We think it is a movie everyone should seek out at some point in their life.

My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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