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The Iron Giant Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999 Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) Executive Producer: Pete Townshend (the guy from The Who that used to destroy his guitars every night...) Based on the novel The Iron Man by the late Ted Hughes (1930-1998) Running Time: 86 minutes Rated PG for sci-fi violence. Cast Eli Marienthal (Stifler's brother in American Pie 1-2) as Hogarth Hughes Vin Diesel (Riddick, Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious) as The Iron Giant Jennifer Aniston (Tory in Leprechaun, Joanna in Office Space) as Annie Hughes Harry Connick, Jr. (Narrator in My Dog Skip, Jimmy in Independence Day) as Dean McCoppin Christopher McDonald (Jor-El in Superman: The Animated Series, Superman in Batman Beyond) as Kent Mansley John Mahoney (Marty in Frasier) as Gen. Rogard Synopsis In 1957, a mysterious object from space crashes on a stormy night off the coast of Maine. The next night, in the small town of Rockwell, a boy named Hogarth discovers the object as a giant robotic being with an appetite for metal and the ability to repair itself. He befriends the robot after saving it when it clumsily traps itself between power lines. Shortly afterward, Hogarth has the Giant stay at a junkyard run by a Beatnik named Dean. At the same time, Hogarth must keep the Giant's existence a secret from Mansley, a nosy government agent sent to investigate strange anomalies in the town. Story: A+ It's such a shame that this film flopped at the box office due to Warner Bros.' inability to properly market it, as this is how an American animated story should be told. The Iron Giant is a classic tale of boy-meets-alien. The Cold War-era works perfectly with the story, as well as the Giant's interaction with its surroundings and its struggle to differentiate good from evil. In addition, outstanding performances are given by the main cast. Yes - even by Vin Diesel, who still has yet to outdo his role as the Giant. Despite the film failing at the box office, director Brad Bird went on to find greater success in 2004 with Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles. Animation: A+ This is how a great American story should be animated. The Iron Giant displays some of the best examples of different forms of animation - old-style rotoscoping (which is much better than the style Don Bluth used to kill his career in Titan A.E.) for the human characters mixed with cel-shaded CGI for the Giant and various military vehicles. Soundtrack: A The film score by the late Michael Kamen (1948-2003) (Metallica's S&M live album, Pink Floyd's The Wall) is not as loud as his other theatrical works, but it works really well and doesn't detract from the storytelling. The Bottom Line Probably the last great American 2D animated theatrical release and undoubtedly one of the best sci-fi stories ever told. DVD Extras: A The Special Edition DVD is loaded with extras such as additional scenes cut from the film (in animated storyboard form, with commentary by director Bird), the full "Duck and Cover" song, numerous behind-the-scenes footage that's accessible in the middle of the film, a motion gallery and some trailers. There's also a mini-documentary featuring Vin Diesel - not that anyone cares, anyway. In addition, the DVD-ROM has some bonuses that may probably crash your computer. Links The Iron Giant Official Site References The Internet Movie Database