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“Iron Giant” Review

It’s about grief and hope. It’s about human catastrophe. It’s about humanity and the meaning of a soul. It’s a movie about a boy and a giant robot. “The Iron Giant” continues to delight viewers more than twenty years after its original release.

What if a gun had a soul, and chose not to be a gun?

This was the premise behind “The Iron Giant,” a film that came out in the summer of 1999, delighting science fiction fans and animation aficionados alike. An adaptation of Ted Hughes’ 1968 novel “The Iron Man,” this heartwarming classic delivers relatable characters and a timeless story on a silver platter, suitable for all ages to enjoy.

Boasting big names like Jennifer Aniston and Vin Diesel among its cast, the film was the feature directorial debut of Pixar veteran Brad Bird, a man famous for hits like “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille.” While it underperformed at the box office, the movie went on to win nine Annie Awards out of 15 nominations and eventually gathered something of a cult following, especially after a remastered version was released in 2015.

“The Iron Giant” takes place in a small town in Maine in the 1950s, at the height of nuclear anxiety and paranoia. The story centers on a nine-year-old boy, Hogarth Hughes, who discovers a 50-foot robot in the woods near his house (dubbed “The Iron Giant”). A government agent named Kent Mansley comes to town in search of the robot, and Hogarth decides to help the Giant go unnoticed by not only the residents of the town but from Agent Mansley and Hogarth’s mom.

Throughout the movie, Hogarth attempts to keep the Giant from being discovered through an array of methods, including leaving the robot in the reluctant care of junkyard owner and beatnik artist Dean McCoppin, with whom Hogarth forms an unlikely bond. These unusual friendships become the beating heart of the film, breathing life into the characters and story.

Part of why this film is so unique is because it represents the perfect blend of technology and traditional art: The Iron Giant himself was created entirely by a computer, and animators took great care to integrate the Giant into the movie’s hand-drawn world, even adapting software to “wobble” the lines of the Giant to make him appear more natural. This extra effort paid off, as the art style easily drew the audience into the world created within the film.

The feature is filled with flawlessly delivered lines, witty writing, and excellent pacing and the scenes hold just the right amount of dramatic tension to keep you on the edge of your seat. Despite the title character’s identity as a giant robot, this story seamlessly encapsulates the experience of finding hope and humanity amid conflict.

“The Iron Giant” is a fantastic film, brimming with talent from both cast and crew. It strikes the perfect balance between light and darkness, sincerity and satire, and action and emotion, and the amount of work and care put into its creation is obvious in every frame. It’s a film that’s easy for anyone to enjoy and appreciate, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for their next movie night staple.

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About the Contributor
Kaylee Gadepalli, Journalist
Kaylee Gadepalli is currently a sophomore at Community High School. In her free time, she can be found practicing violin, listening to show tunes, and playing with her dog. She also is also an avid reader, Netflix binge-watcher, and frequent doodler. This is her first year on staff, and she is looking forward to working on The Communicator.

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