Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

3WA 2017 #46: The Iron Giant

If you want to tilt your head and squint a bit, you could view this film as Vin Diesel earning a spot in the list of all-time great film portrayals of Superman.

(…I am a bad man. I know this.)

What is it?

The Iron Giant is a 1999 animated film based (somewhat loosely) on a book written in the late 1960s.

What kind of story is it?

It’s all about the kind of shenanigans a boy and his toy robot get up to in rural America during the age of the Red Scare.

I know what you’re thinking. Did I fire four plasma rounds or only three? Well, do ya feel lucky, punk?

Why do you like it?

You might laugh when I call a story about a giant alien robot a “down to earth” tale, and yet. The movie’s not really about the Giant, it’s about all the various reactions people have to the Giant. This is a fun and heartwarming experience, if you don’t count the part where you’ll bawl like a broken-hearted child.

Good thing Hogarth had Action Comics on hand instead of, say, Detective Comics.

Fair warning: You will bawl like a broken-hearted child at one point.

Also, this movie is gorgeous. Whatever one might think of the story or characters, visually it’s a feast.

What might one not like about it?

There’s some unsubtle political commentary going on, and several key characters are more like caricatures. It is a kids movie, ostensibly, but your mileage may vary.

I mean, there’s this jerk but you’re supposed to dislike this jerk.

Other thoughts about it?

The Iron Giant is another case of “good movie, bad marketing.” It deserved to make lots of money and get all the critical acclaim. I guess it’ll just have to settle for being a “cult classic” instead.

Dude just wanted to make sculpture. Instead he became an Internet meme. “It’s ART!”

Where can I watch it?

You can rent or buy it for streaming on several of the usual for-pay suspects (Amazon, Google Play, etc) or you can fork out for a shiny platter edition. Try it then buy it, is my recommendation.


  1. When first saw The Iron Giant in the movie theater, in 2000, it didn’t work for me.

    Having said that, in 2000 EVERYTHING didn’t work for me. It wasn’t a good time for me is what I’m saying.

    I haven’t seen it since. Maybe I should change that.

  2. I liked (still like) it a great deal, though you’re right that the political subtext can be a mite irksome at times.

    I think the only thing that really annoyed me was the appearance of a Polaris missile and a George Washington class SSBN… in 1957. Oops. I guess for the purposes of the plot they wanted it to be a ballistic missile rather than a Regulus cruise missile or a bomber, but for some reason didn’t want it to be an army Redstone.

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