The Iron Giant (1999)
Article 5703 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Brad Bird
Featuring the voices of Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston
What it is: A Boy and His Robot
A young boy encounters an amnesiac giant robot from outer space and befriends him, but a government agent seeks to have the robot destroyed.
I remember seeing the ads for this movie when it was out in the theaters, and sadly, they did little to pique my interest in the movie. The movie subsequently bombed at the box office. It wasn’t until it was offered at the Creepy Classics website that I became interested in the movie; the listing claimed the movie had copious references to science fiction movies from the fifties, and so I thought I’d pick up a copy and give it a watch. When I finally saw it, it wasn’t the fifties references that held my attention; it was the movie itself, which was one of the best and most moving animated films I’d seen, and I feel sad that I never caught it in the theater.
Nowadays the movie is considered the classic it is, and I still find myself getting totally caught up in it when I watch it. It’s both hilarious and moving, the characters are a fun and fascinating bunch, and Brad Bird’s direction is marvelous. Plus there are lots of touches of fifties culture in the movie; there’s a “duck and cover” animated movie being watched in schools, a Maypo commercial, and the owner of the junkyard is a beatnik. The only problem I have with the movie is that the villainy of the government agent is too broad; he’s not quite as convincing as the other characters. Still, that’s a minor quibble, and I have an enduring love for this movie, My highest recommendation.