Friday, August 30, 2013

The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 1999) Review

So some of my favorites Pixar films were made by Brad Bird. Don't you think it would be a good time to check out a film that is often considered to be his magnum opus in a time when Warner Bros. made good animated films. Let's take a look at a film that probably set the tone for Brad Bird's later work like The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Let's do this.

When a giant robot (Vin Diesel) crash lands on Earth, a young boy named Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) discovers it and tries to hide it from public eye. Things get worse when a paranoid government agent named Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) discovers strange occurrences and is the only one who believes the giant is real. Hogarth hides the giant at the town scrap yard run by Dean (Harry Connick Jr.). Now Hogarth has to keep the giant out of reach of Mansley or else the giant will be destroyed.

Brad Bird has always been good with character design and this is no different. I love the design used for the giant as, combined with Vin Diesel's surprising performance, makes him a very likable character based on his naivety. Hogarth always makes a good kid hero which is a hard thing to do without coming off as annoying. The two best characters are Dean and Kent Mansley due to how completely different they are to each other (one is a chilled out beatnik and the other is a high strung government agent). The actors all to justice to the roles and the character design helps amplify this.

While the story may seem generic (kid finds alien, tries to hide it), it's done so well that you don't seem to care. The characters are so likable with some generally heartwarming and funny moments that this would pass for one of the best Pixar films...except this is Warner Bros (but this is on the list of films that HOLLYWOOD IS NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH!). I wouldn't have expected anything less from the mind that made The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

The Iron Giant is a fantastic representation of how good non-Disney animation can be. The animation is great, the character designs are well done, the acting is well performed and the characters are likable. This was a treat from start to finish and is highly recommend to those that have yet to watch this film, especially if you're a fan of Pixar style films...even though it's 2D animation (which, in my opinion, is better).

Everything looks great and is well done. A classic example of a great animated film.

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