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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2013
This is a very different film from the usual CGI cartoons like Toy Story or Shrek. It doesn't try for any 'realism', it just accepts it's a cartoon and gets on with the story. It's also set in the 50s, when Sputnik had just gone up and the world was a very different place, so this adds a nice touch.

At first I thought the story was a bit simplistic, but, after two or three watches (my 4 year old was watching it on 'continuous'!) it grew on me and it's now a film I will watch even if my son isn't around. I particularly liked the 50s flavour of innocence, and the characters are well 'drawn' too - especially the super-cool scrap yard owner-cum-sculptor, and the evil FBI(?) agent.

From the educational point of view, the film makes a strong point about violence begetting violence, but does it in a fairly subtle way that kids will absorb, without feeling they are being lectured. There's also (eventually) a happy ending.

Buy this, you won't be disappointed. But give it a chance, don't just dismiss it because it doesn't have all the CGI special effects of the block-buster movies.
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on 13 April 2008
Please note that this review contains spoilers.

The Iron Giant is a film that is almost totally unique in the history of contemporary animation. It is a provoking and poignant story that is exciting without being brainless and thoughtful without being condescending.

I won't go into the particulars of the story itself since that is probably summarised by Amazon and most other reviewers. Instead I will say that this film has a particular gift which is to teach children by treating them as adults and to entertain adults in a child-like way. It is moving and funny and entertaining; never straying too far from the habits of its characters in order to thrust a moral lesson home, nor suspending story for the sake of a joke and, perhaps most importantly, not afraid to expose its audience to very frightening issues.

This is no fairy tale, so far removed from Ted Hughes' fable that I very much treat the two as seperate entities, the world that the Giant finds himself in visceral and real. There could be no more perfect setting than at the height of Cold-War terror, with the attitudes of the American government, perhaps all Western governments, portrayed so faultlessly by the perfectly hateable Kent Mansley. The attitude of "we didn't build it and that's every reason to suspect the worst and blow it to kingdom come" and the locomotive-like momentum of paranoid ignorance being far more effective adversaries to the Giant than any Bat-Angel-Dragon.

The Iron Giant is groundbreaking and not afraid to buck trends, there is no musical interlude of any kind and Kent's treatment of Hogarth when things start to heat up is genuinely scary. Not to mention the flawless, sublime ending; in how many children's films can you say that the climax involves the hero sacrificing himself to save everyone, including the villain?

"I love you" says Hogarth as the Giant prepares to lay down his life. And at that point, I don't think there is anyone who doesn't.
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on 13 July 2015
A simple cartoon- none of the digital magic and special effects in the cartoons of today- as it was made some time ago.
The pace of the story is slow by today's standards (blame the diminished attention span of hyper kids), and the story unfolds slowly. Definitely not a cartoon for the under 6's who may get quite a scare from the giant robot. My only quibble is that the story never actually covers where this robot came from, and why it landed on earth. The simplistic story of Govt Agent= bad guy; and everyone else =good; is also cliché ridden. If the robot had obliterated communities after landing and rampaged through the country, those same people would be screaming for Govt to do something about it, and criticising Govt agents for their slow response.Poor Govt agents.
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on 10 April 2000
This Film is a excellent. It has none of the cheesy songs or comedy sidekicks of a typical Disney offering. The Animation is stunning, the life of the charaters is stunning. Its a shame it did ont do well at the cinema, but then most Children are brain washed into Disney and Adults thought it was just a kids film. This film has something for all ages. I saw It twice at the Cinema and the DVD will rarely leave the machine.
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on 12 December 2009
This is a tremendous film. Almost unbelievable that it was made by a major Hollywood studio this film has an arthouse feel to it. Intelligent, beautiful animation, poignant and profound this film feels more like a French animated film, but it ain't. Wish Hollywood studios made more films like this rather than the garbage that is endlessly recycled....
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on 4 July 2016
I loved this classic film the first time I watched it as a child and can still enjoy this even now as an adult. The story is a great film for children and has a heart warming plot that even parents can enjoy. In my opinion this film would make a great family classic for any collection.
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on 1 February 2009
Seen this film a number of times with my daughters when they were young and have bought various copies for people including my 84 year old aunt ... this copy was for my 5 year old nephew ... great great film
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on 9 June 2011
The film's connection with Ted Hughes' original book are slight, extending to a giant that eats metal - the rest of this film is very much its own, without any real connection with Hughes. It is, however, a tender and thoughtful piece, set at the height of America's Cold War Sputnik worry and questioning the suspicion and violence at the heart of society, eventually promoting understanding and sacrifice. Young Hogarth's growing relationship with the Iron Giant is at the centre. There's a great deal of fun and excitement, and a moving denouement.
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on 30 March 2015
One of my all time favourite films and one of the best films ever made in the whole history of cinema.

I was lucky enough to catch this in the Odeon on Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street on its original release in 1999. I say 'lucky' because when it came out on >>ahem<< video, some scenes didn't match upto my memories of seeing it on the big screen and I do feel a wee bit smug about having caught it in the cinema compared to people who've only seen it on their TVs at home.

There were two DVD releases for this film by Brad Bird, an ex-producer on the Simspons for several years, amongst other things (he directed the Do The Bartman video, for example) and since this adaptation of Ted Hughes' The Iron Giant, Bird has written and/or directed The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Mission Impossible 4 and has another live action film out soon called Wonderland, which like this version of The Iron Giant, is also set in the 1950s.

If you've seen the aptly named The Incredibles and The Iron Giant is new to you, then I'd say you are in for a treat; the story is simple - a giant robots from space crash lands in the ocean near an American town called Rockwell (!) and is eventually discovered on dry land by a young boy called Hogarth. They develop a friendship and become very close. However, when a very ambitious and equally idiotic secret service man comes to Rockwell to investigate the mysterious sightings of a giant metal man, things of course begin to go awry.

As in The Incredibles, writer/director Brad Bird has a wonderful knack of writing emotion into his scripts in ways that resonate so strongly and in so subtle a fashion. Reading the other reviews on here have made me realise that The Iron Giant doesn't just appeal exclusively to little boys but mums, dads and daughters too. I promise you, there won't be a dry eye in the house when this film comes almost to the end of its running time.

I don't know what it is that makes Brad Bird's genre work so moving, so exciting and so affecting but I didn't get the same emotion from Ratatouille or his Mission Impossible entry. Animation seems to be Bird's forte; his plotting and dialogue here and in The Incredibles are superlative. Your emotions never feel manipulated watching The Iron Giant and Bird wrings out every ounce of pathos and humour that he can and it's all perfectly believable. The anti-violence message probably means more to Americans than people in Britain and the rest of Europe but it's a good one and leads to a wonderfully moving scene in the forest with Hogarth and his new friend. One of many moving scenes, I might add; this is no cheesy singalong Disney type cartoon. It's very mature and doesn't talk down to the audience at all and that makes the drama all the more affecting.

I particularly appreciated the scenes with the comic books Hogarth reads during his time with the Giant. The Giant lacks an identity of his own and when he finds one for himself, it'll be sure to give you a wry chuckle. The last act of the movie is simply astonishing, however. Mixing computer generated imaging with the film's traditional hand drawn 2D animation, an almost documentary level of realism sets in and completely grounds the action. The Giant is no mere metal man or alien life form, he was made for one very specific devastating purpose and to say any more would be to spoil this gem of a movie for you.

Once you've seen the film for yourself, you'll understand. As a harassed parent, you may feel sitting your kids in front of the television is a bad thing but it's not, not with The Iron Giant. It's amazing. The best few pounds you'll ever spend in your life.
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on 1 May 2013
We all know the Ted Hughes book but this American cartoon film adaptation is a good adaptation of the book although bears little resemblance to the original story. Well animated and engrossing but some moments are a little scary for under 5's.
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