The Iron Giant

8 out of 10


Paranoia and the Authorities

On par with"Watership Down" and "The Secret of Nihm," The Iron Giant, based on the 1968 novel by English poet laureate Ted Hughes, of which he later said "I just wrote it out as I told it over two or three nights..." is a touching story about the futility of war. It centers around a young boy named Hogarth Hughes who finds a robot that has crash landed from space and attempts to hide him from the US government.

It's 1957 in Rockwell, Maine and the US government is on the lookout for any suspicious activity when something falls from space. Government agent Kent Mansley (Chris Macdonald) arrives in Rockwell and poses as a lodger, determined to uncover it's secret. Fatherless at a time when it carried great stigma, mischievous Hogarth discovers the Iron Giant gnawing at an electricity tower. Approaching the robot with compassion rather than fear, they become close friends and he takes him to the junk yard of Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr.), a cool beatnik artist, to be safe from both the town's paranoia and the authorities. As Mansley becomes increasingly suspicious, however, a hilarious game of cat-and-mouse develops between he and Hughes.

Containing enchanting traditional animation, ample amounts of 1950's nostalgia, thoughtful, humourous scenes and a meaningful storyline, the Iron Giant is a masterpiece. Although seemingly an innocent children's story, it is actually for the time in which it was written a very relevant commentary on government and the state of the world in the 1960's, where issues such as Vietnam and the Cold War were becoming ever more of a concern.

Many scenes are moving, filled with childhood innocence and wonder, and highlighted by relationships between Hogarth and his mother, friend Dean and most of all between he and the metal Giant. The characters are imaginative and endearing and the vocal talents are impressive with a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston as Hogarth's mother, Eli Marienthal as Hogarth, Cloris Leachman, M. Emmet Walsh and in a surprising role, Vin Diesel as the Iron Giant.

With strong positive messages, physical comedy, vast visual appeal and a remarkable ending, Iron Giant strikes a perfect balance between being well-suited for children and still accessible and entertaining for adults - a combination which makes it a perfect family film and a classic for future generations.

A Classic

Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies