Friday, September 30, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #81: "The Iron Giant" (1999)

Movie Stats:
Released 1999 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Brad Bird
Stars - Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick, Jr., Christopher McDonald

Plot Summary:
When a giant robot falls to Earth from outer space, he’s befriended by a young boy named Hogarth. Diesel provides the voice of the robot; Marienthal the voice of Hogarth; Connick, Jr., the voice of Dean McCoppin, Hogarth’s adult friend; and McDonald the voice of Kent Mansley, a government man on the robot’s trail.

Violence; non-consensual drug use (chloroform).

Bad Stuff:
It’s very much a kid’s movie in that it’s rather simplistic in terms of story line and message. For example, I’m fairly certain that major electrical transformers don’t have an on/off switch (marked “on/off” of course) that just anyone can access but it’s a nice, simple solution for the film.

It doesn’t explain anything at all, like where the robot came from or why he has such a highly developed self-defense system, etc.

Good Stuff:
It’s got a good sense of humor. In particular, keep your eye on the newspaper headlines.

Just because I thought the message was simple doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. “You can be who you choose to be.” I think that’s a nice thing for kids to hear. Adults too, come to think of it.

Christopher McDonald is so good at playing a perfectly annoying weasel.

The Verdict:
I like this film. It’s immensely enjoyable. It’s got humor and heart and it’s sweet. I like the story. The actors are all good. I enjoy the animation style. You don’t see it often anymore. This is definitely a cute kid’s movie. Everyone seems to love it. When I think of sci fi movies, however, I can’t say that it’s the first or even the twentieth film that comes to mind. Apart from the giant robot from outer space, it’s a bit light on the sci fi front. I’m not convinced that it belongs here, but I can live with it.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

But is it the 81th film to come to mind? :-)

There is a certian sub-genre of people who like moves--let's broadly classify them as "males"--who adore this film. I didn't see this for a goodly amount of time after it came out and I think the gushing from multiple fronts oversold it. So I came away befuddled. It was a nice film and all, but it didn't hit me the way it seems to have hit so many others in that sub-genre.

I do like the animation style.

balyien said...

I've also observed that it's typically men who adore this film. I wonder why that is?