Howdy! I’m Mellowood, long time lurker, first time writer. That’s PLENTY of info about me, let’s get into the review.
I haven’t watched The Iron Giant since I was a child and could only remember good things about it, which watching it now as an adult, scared the crap out of me. I was totally afraid of getting my memory of this film ruined that I adored as a kid and was quite nervous when I pushed play to watch the film. I was afraid that the animation would be ‘meh’ at best, the jokes wouldn’t fly 20 years later, and the story would be too basic. Thankfully though, I knew just a few minutes into the film that, none of this would be the case.
Within the first few minutes of the film, a lot seemed familiar. The most familiar feeling was the voice actors, but I couldn’t place them. A quick search revealed Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant [Giant]), Jennifer Aniston (Annie Hughes [the mother]), and Christopher McDonald (Kent Mansley [government agent]) were some of the main voice cast! I couldn’t believe it, Dominic Toretto, Rachel Greene, and Shooter McGavin were in one of my favorite animated films as a child. I don’t know why this surprised me, I just always assumed in the back of my head that they were no-name voice actors in this film. While speaking with friends saying I was going to write a Tardy Critic review for The Iron Giant and I told them who some of the voice cast was, they couldn’t believe it either even after a couple of them had watched the film within the last few years.
I think this makes an interesting point – I’d like to think that I could easily recognize the voices of mega film and television stars, but I was more intuned into the story within a few minutes than caring to picture Jennifer Aniston standing behind a microphone in a studio recording lines and only whipped out my phone to look up who the voice cast was half way into the film when it was driving me to insanity.
Speaking of story, let’s dive more into that. The story is based on playing off of fear in the American people’s hearts during the 1950s of a nuclear holocaust breaking out. Everyone nation wide is afraid of the Soviet Union or possibly China launching nukes or U.F.O.s to the United States to spread communism. These were very real fears of Americans in the 1950s and 60s. Films about similar subject to The Iron Giant during the period such as the film “Them”, 1954 (massive radioactive ants caused by nuclear waste due to nuclear arms race chase after and kill Americans) didn’t exactly help quell the fears of Americans and just caused more hearsay, rumors, and panic. What make this story enjoyable to the viewers upon release of the film is that it was released 10 years after the collapse of the Soivet Union, making the subject matter ‘meme worthy’ by today’s standards.
With quick online searches and talking to friends about The Iron Giant, everyone seems to have fond memories and reviews of the film. Many, including myself, consider it an animated cult classic, right up there with other Atlantis and Treasure Planet.
The Iron Giant – 4.5/5 stars.