“The Iron Giant:” Revival

Jenny Chen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“Go big or go home” is taken to a whole new level by film director Brad Bird and his 1999 directorial debut, “The Iron Giant.” The movie became an “instant classic,” as critiqued by Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal and claimed nine Annie Awards. Bird has gone on to create more family favorites such as “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille;” however, Hogarth and his friend, the Giant, have remained close to our hearts. From the company that brings you heroic icons such as Batman and Superman, Warner Bros. will be releasing an entirely re-mastered version of “The Iron Giant,” with two completely new scenes this fall.

Based on the book “The Iron Man” by Ted Hughes, the movie takes place in small town Rockwell, Maine observing the paycheck-to-paycheck life of single mother Annie Hughes (Jennifer Aniston) and her son, Hogarth (Eli Marienthal), who stands headstrong and valiant at nine years old. Hogarth, like all wide-eyed children, wants a friend, and the answer to that is a pet. Before he gets a chance to show his mother the potential pet squirrel he found, it runs away. What Hogarth finds instead a couple days later is a 50-foot giant friend (Vin Diesel) who retains no memories of his origin.

Set during the political unease of October 1957, “The Iron Giant” tackles several political issues in this animated movie including the atomic bomb, the Cold War and the iron curtain. Could Hogarth’s “Iron Giant” be America’s iron curtain? On Oct. 4, just days before the Giant comes crashing onto Earth, Russia had launched the first manmade satellite, Sputnik, into orbit. As relations with the Soviets continued to operate on thinner and thinner ice, the Giant’s arrival served only to heighten growing paranoia.

Rumors and tall tales begin to spread about strange occurrences around town—chomps of metal missing from tractors, buildings, etc. When government agent Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald), whose ‘mansley’ness is questionable at best, arrives on the scene, the ease of small-town life evaporates. Tensions skyrocket for everyone involved, including Hogarth’s cool and collected beatnik friend Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick, Jr.) who hides the Giant in his metal junkyard. The army is called to town, “the Bomb” is summoned and the future of Rockwell and the Giant is questioned.

Ultimately, humanity is found in none other than the suit of iron that is the Giant. He is man. He is super-man. After all, “you are who you choose to be.”

“The Iron Giant” is a testament to the fact that animated films are not just for children.

The two new scenes added to the original flick provide some insight on the Giant’s origin. You will just have to find out more when you go to check out the Fathom Events screening of “The Iron Giant: Signature Edition” today, Sept. 30. It is only out in select theaters across North America, but if you miss it, there will be an encore screening on the 58th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch, Sunday, Oct. 4.