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The Iron Giant

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Iron Giant

Starring: Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston
Director: Brad Bird
Rated: PG
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: August 1999
Genres: Animation, Kids, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

The summer's best surprise is Brad Bird's fun-filled, superbly crafted animated family film. Based on Ted Hughes' children's book, "The Iron Man," the concept combines the sensitivity of Steven Spielberg's "E.T." with a gleeful contemporary sensibility. Set in peaceful, picturesque Rockwell, Maine, in 1957 - at the time of the Russian satellite Sputnik - the story revolves around the friendship of a nine year-old boy, Hogarth Hughes (voiced by Eli Marienthal), and a gigantic robot who fell into the ocean from outer space. They meet one night when his single mother (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) is working late and Hogarth hears a noise outside. Curious, he follows a trail of broken fences and downed trees into the woods where he finds a 50' tall metal monster tangled in electrical wires. Feeling sorry for the enormous beast, he turns the power off, thus saving its life. Knowing his mother's aversion to pets, he tries to keep the gentle Iron Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel) hidden but the creature's voracious hunger for metal (cars, trucks, TV antennas, railroad tracks) arouses the suspicions of a sneaky, trigger-happy Government Agent (voiced by Christopher McDonald). Hogarth's only ally as the precarious situation escalates is a cool beatnik scrap-metal dealer/artist (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.) who tells him, "You are who you choose to be." That's a key phrase in the heartfelt, honest, intelligent script, which also works as a political allegory without getting heavy-handed, teaching lessons about tolerance and sacrifice. And Michael Kamen's musical score is subtle yet evocative. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Iron Giant" is a charming, whimsical, magical 10. It's absolutely impossible not to love "The Iron Giant" - a definite MUST SEE!

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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