Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Iron Giant: Signature Edition: Film Review

The Iron Giant: Signature Edition: Film Review

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, Vin Diesel
Director: Brad Bird

1999's The Iron Giant is back on the big screen for the Autumn Events festival.

And the right-wing's indignation over its anti-gun message is likely to be further rattled by the inclusion of one new sequence where the robot dreams of rampaging armies and the devastations of war.

For those not in the know, this animated tale from The Incredibles' director Brad Bird and based on writer Ted Hughes, it's the story of nine-year-old Hogarth, a young kid who's growing up in a small town America living in fear of the bomb and the red menace. One night, Hogarth sees something unusual in the garden and believing it's aliens, sets off to take a look.

But he discovers a giant metal man in the forests - and soon befriends the robot.

However, there begins a push to hide the robot from others, chiefly a curious G-man whose paranoia and determination to stop the red peril places them all in danger.

The Iron Giant remains a tautly told tale of pacifism and of love, beautifully rendered with a 50s aesthetic and vibe from the animators.

Granted, there are echoes of ET, flashes of the old 50s movie Invaders from Mars and about a million countless other genre-derivative flicks you can think of. But still to this day, The Iron Giant's emotional heft is unbowed.

The extra scenes in the film include the aforementioned robot dreaming in the scrapyard, where the future dystopian / alien world menace gives some more weight to the robot's desire to wipe out guns or at least fight back against them. (Though it has to be said, some of the film's power is wiped by a somewhat overly sentimental ending).

There's also a canny placement of Tomorrowland (out now on DVD, kids!) but all in all the restored version of The Iron Giant loses none of the pleasure first felt at the end of last century.

With a central friendship and a foe that is redolent of the times, as well as some great cartoon animation (all angles for the bad guys, curves and smoother edges for our heroes), it's a film that still lands in the treat bucket, and one which has lost not a jot of its charm as the years have gone on.

Do yourself a favour - and introduce a new generation to the film; they'll thank you for it, and the discussion over its subject matter and central message will go for years.

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