Brad Bird joined Pixar and went on a rampage, both writing and directing "The Incredibles." Before that, he created "The Iron Giant" (1999). It is a low-key tale about a boy and the robot that he finds. It is adapted from a Ted Hughes book and stars some big names.
Young Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) is fatherless. His mother (Jennifer Aniston) works as a waitress. One day, he finds a robot. It is innocent, but is no ordinary robot. The giant robot (Vin Diesel) came from another world.
The government knows about the robot and sends one of its agents, Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) to investigate. Mansley just wants to destroy the robot, so Hogarth has to hide it.
Hogarth stashes the his new friend at his neighbor Dean McCoppin's (Harry Connick, Jr.) place. Fortunately, Dean has a junkyard, and the robot fits right in.
This film did fairly poorly when it was released. As the years have gone by, though, it has sold well for home use.
People who make the effort to see this film tend to like it. The story is straightforward and heart-warming and the voices are done to just right. You can almost feel yourself back in the 1950s as the story moves along, with a real sense of comradeship and togetherness.
Vin Diesel does a great job voicing the robot. He had to make the robot sound strong, but not so strong that he would pose a threat to Hogarth, who he could crush with one hand. Total trust is the key, and Hogarth has it. Fortunately, the Iron Giant does not abuse that trust.
There are many nods to classic science fiction. Looking at the picture below, you may notice a strong resemblance to the Martian craft from the 1950s "The War of the Worlds." Certainly, the similarity is intentional. The entire film hearkens back to that time, so visual cues like that help reinforce the ambience..
This is a great film for kids. Having a young boy as the robot's friend makes this accessible to children, and everybody loves Jennifer Aniston and Vin Diesel. This is well worth picking up and watching, you might be surprised how much you like it.
Below is the trailer for "The Iron Giant."