The Iron Giant (1999)
October 2, 2014 7:18 AM - Subscribe

THE SPIRIT OF 99 VIEWING CLUB - A robot from another world crashes in 1950s Maine and discovered by a young boy who must keep him hidden from a paranoid federal agent.

Did Ebert Like it? : It works as a lot of animation does, to make you forget from time to time that these are moving drawings, because the story and characters are so compelling.

Bonus: Video of the episode with Joyce in Gene's spot. "Crisply drawn. Sweet without being naive."


So. Many. Animation. In-Jokes.


The Best. So much! Harry Connick Jr's Beatnik Dean is unexpectedly refreshing as a charming small town weirdo.

The Worst: Some poorly integrated CGI and a slightly rushed ending
posted by The Whelk (27 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is my favorite Brad Bird film.

Back during the 15th anniversary ( a few months ago ) I stumbled on this link 5 Things about The Iron Giant

The Pete Townshend take on the original story was frighteningly bad.

superman
posted by DigDoug at 7:40 AM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


We don't say the "S" word (that describes Clark Kent's true identity) in Vin Diesel's Iron Giant voice in our house. Too many feelings.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:47 AM on October 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


This movie is the reason why Vin Diesel is the only actor of the last decade to give a performance that moved me to tears.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 7:55 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Odd to think one man has voiced two monosyballic large animate objects full of pathos.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 AM on October 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Vin Diesel was also good in Find Me Guilty.

Has anyone read the book? I know this isn't a +books discussion, so no spoilers, but I did want to say that I read it about 5 years ago and remember it being very different from the film from about the halfway point on (still very good, just good in its own way).
posted by johnofjack at 8:26 AM on October 2, 2014


I read it about 5 years ago and remember it being very different from the film from about the halfway point on (still very good, just good in its own way).

I haven't read it, but Wikipedia has a plot synopsis, and the Indiewire blog post "5 Things about The Iron Giant" that DigDoug posted upthread has another description of the plot and differences from the movie.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2014


Wasn't The Iron Giant originally written as a way for Ted Hughes to explain to his children the death of their mother? Does this mean that Vin Diesel has delivered the finest on-screen performance of Slyvia Plath?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:09 AM on October 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just put the book in my amazon shopping cart. It sounds beautiful. Reading about Ted Hughes on wikipedia has left me very depressed.
posted by DigDoug at 9:24 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tears.

So many tears because of this movie. But good tears. I cried like a child and it felt so good.
posted by Pendragon at 10:16 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't read the book for a long, long time but now I want to; yes, it is lovely.

But it does have a lot more plot than the movie. Bird & co made good choices in stripping the story down to the essential "boy and his robot" core.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:25 PM on October 2, 2014


We watch this movie regularly as a family; it's probably our collective favourite amidst even the best Pixar stuff. Brad Bird tells a beautiful story with humour and '50s nostalgia throughout. I usually leave the room to make a coffee during the penultimate scene, though.
posted by tracicle at 11:30 PM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's criminal that this isn't on Bluray. But it's also criminal how it was ignored on release, so at least there is balance.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:20 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I showed this to my son a few years back, hoping to impart the lesson that what matters is who you choose to be . . . ah, damn I'm getting choked up just thinking about it right now . . . Anyway, the little smartass's reaction after one of the most beautiful and heroic sacrifices ever depicted on the big screen?

"He's not dead."

Not a sobbing "he can't be dead," mind you. Not even in a "don't be so upset, Daddy" way. More like he wanted to show off that he figured it out.

He can watch Star Trek II his own damn self.
posted by whuppy at 8:42 AM on October 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


P.S. I think he got the lesson when we watched Hellboy.
posted by whuppy at 8:44 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Iron Giant, along with Lilo and Stitch, is one of the very few movies that really conveys the art aesthetic of classic Science Fiction. You can really imagine the scene with the Giant's weapons all out, on the cover of an Amazing Stores.

It's also interesting that both Iron Giant and Lilo and Stitch are "An alien and its boy" stories.
posted by happyroach at 9:01 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Odd to think one man has voiced two monosyballic large animate objects full of pathos.

Only 2? By my last count there were 5 or more Fast and Furious movies
posted by Hoopo at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Iron Giant, along with Lilo and Stitch, is one of the very few movies that really conveys the art aesthetic of classic Science Fiction. You can really imagine the scene with the Giant's weapons all out, on the cover of an Amazing Stores.

YES.

The bit where that disc pops out, and all the little fingers hit it and send little bolts of energy pulse or whatever at all the tanks and stuff? That's like, what they wanted to show in day the earth stood still type movies but didn't have the SFX to pull off.

It's like the movie does pre 70s scifi better than... most pre 70s scifi.

I remember goading my dad(maybe my mom?) in to taking me to the theater to see this when it came out. I remember my parent-who-came being shocked at the fact that it was like, actually a good movie.

Good era for movies like this. Titan A.E. was good too, although not even 1/4 the movie iron giant is.
posted by emptythought at 3:40 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Titan A.E is kind of terrible but it's also the first time I got a glimpse of animated dude butt so I remember it fondly.
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on October 3, 2014


I went to see it in a theater. I was the only person there by myself, not that unusual. I was also the only adult male. Everyone else was mothers and their very young children, as if this were a babysitting purple dinosaur cartoon. Second matinee, to be sure, but way missing the point.
posted by dhartung at 1:10 AM on October 4, 2014


From The Whelk's IMDB trivia link,
"But before Brad Bird made "Iron Giant", he tried (but failed) to get backing for a "Spirit" animated film."
A Brad Bird animated "Spirit" film?

A Brad Bird animated "Spirit" film !??

A BRAD BIRD ANIMATED "SPIRIT" FILM !!!!?????


THIS.

MUST.

HAPPEN.

posted by soundguy99 at 7:56 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's an absolute goddam crime that this hasn't come out on bluray. I can't recall if the Netflix streaming copy of it was HD or not, in fact. It's not streamable at the moment, sadly. This movie is so beautiful, if you like animation. Like. All of it. There's some clunky CGI, yeah, but 98% of this movie just looks great. That it's not readily available in HD is a real shame.

I don't really have much to say about the story other than: OH GOD. MY FEELINGS. MY FEEEEEEEELINGS. By the end, it's extremely difficult to not be reduced to any number of "Troy from Community crying" reaction GIFs.

I'd still peg Incredibles as my favorite Brad Bird movie, but this is definitely a close second.
posted by sparkletone at 4:19 PM on October 4, 2014


This movie is the best synthesis of Japanese "clean line" style and French animation's broad caricature. Nothing else comes close to touching and it's a damn shame.
posted by The Whelk at 4:21 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


This was my favorite movie as a kid.
"You stay... I go... no following..."
posted by Political Funny Man at 12:24 AM on October 5, 2014


That it's not readily available in HD is a real shame.

It is, digitally at least. It's on itunes in HD... but the HD version is fucking $15.

It's also, as far as i've been able to track down over the interbutts, only 720p, not 1080... which is weird, since like everything on itunes is generally available in 1080. $15 for a 2.5gb meh 720p encode is pretty rough. I verified this by checking erm, other websites that cater in redistributing this sort of thing. There's no 1080 copy out there.

This is really dumb. They're totally leaving money on the table. This is dumb in the same way that it was incredibly, hilariously moronic that they didn't release star wars on blu ray for so fucking long.
posted by emptythought at 2:05 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lovely film that both my husband and I enjoyed. It would BREAK my five year old daughter to show it to her, so we will be holding off for a few years or ten, but someday this will be one to share with her.

I am a big Sylvia Plath fan and had not heard that this was Hughes' way of explaining Plath's death to his children. It is rather generous of him, if true, and want to believe it because it is lovely to think it so.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:54 PM on October 5, 2014


I love this movie so much that the mere mention of it tempts me to venture out into the world in search of someone who doesn't love it, so that I might beat the shit out of them.

Not really. But still.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:12 PM on October 7, 2014


I just saw the Signature Edition re-release today. It only adds two scenes, totaling about two minutes. I am pretty sure i know which ones they are. The good news is, they both fit and help the movie. In the first (and far shorter) scene, Dean goes back to the Chat & Chew and has a moment with Annie. This is nice because it establishes a few things fairly economically: that Annie finds him charming and that they can both bond out of fondness for Hogarth. This way, in the end, when they end up together, it feels less like tying up loose ends and more like an organic thing. The other, definitely new, far, far more striking scene is when the Giant's dreams/memories of his homeworld briefly hijack the local airwaves during Jack Paar and show visions of infinite Giants engaged in battle. It's very dynamic and fills in a bit of the Giant's backstory.

I think this is actually Brad Bird's best film.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:23 PM on October 4, 2015


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