The Iron Giant


1h 26m 1999

Brief Synopsis

In this animated fantasy, a boy befriends a 50-foot robot from space.

Film Details

Also Known As
Geant de fer, Le, IJzeren reus, Iron Giant, Järnjätten, Le Geant de fer, gigante de hierro, El
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Family
Fantasy
Period
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1999
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m

Synopsis

Set in the fictional town of Rockwell, Maine, Hogarth Hughes is a bright and adventurous little boy who rescues and befriends a huge, metal-munching, but lovable iron robot who has gotten himself tangled up the in high-tension wires behind his home. When the townsfolk begin to wonder why their automobiles and tractors are often found with large bites taken out of them, they begin to hunt for the culprit and soon the gentle giant is the number one enemy of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Crew

Allison Abbate

Producer

Eric J Abjornson

Other

Brett Achorn

Technical Director

Chad Algarin

Visual Effects

Constanc R Allen

Other

James Alles

Layout Artist

George Aluzzi

Other

Viki Anderson

Storyboard Artist

Mark Andrews

Storyboard Artist

Mark Andrews

Other

Ray Aragon

Visual Effects

Lori A Arntzen

Other

Miae Kim Ausbrooks

Visual Effects

James Austin

Music

Richard Baneham

Cgi Artist

Richard Baneham

Animator

Paul Bauman

Other

Richard Bazley

Animator

Andrew Beall

Other

Christine Beck

Camera Operator

Jeannine Berger

Post-Production Supervisor

John Bermudes

Animator

Will Bilton

Visual Effects

Brad Bird

Song Performer

Brad Bird

Screenplay

Brad Bird

Story By

Bobby Black

Song

Cathy E Blanco

Other

Grace Blanco

Cgi Artist

Alan Bodner

Art Director

Dennis Bonnell

Other

Brad Booker

Cgi Artist

Beau Borders

Sound Effects Editor

Willie Boyd

Song

Gina Bradley

Other

James Brett

Music

Christopher Brock

Background Artist

Christopher S Brooks

Music Editor

Christopher S Brooks

Music

Andrew D Brownlow

Cgi Artist

Daniel Bunn

Technical Director

Steven Burch

Technical Director

Adam Burke

Animator

Susan Burke

Animator

James Burks

Other

Jennifer Cardon

Animator

Kevin E Carpenter

Rerecording

Daryl Carstensen

Animator

Ray Charels

Song

Ray Charels

Song Performer

Chris Chavez

Casting Consultant

Michael A Chavez

Animator

Ruben Chavez

Background Artist

Steven Y Chen

Other

Yarrow Cheney

Cgi Artist

Minhee Choe

Cgi Artist

Anthony C Cianciolo

Other

Charlotte Clark-pitts

Animator

Teresa Coffey-wellins

Layout Artist

Katherine Concepcion

Casting Consultant

Sandro Maria Corsaro

Production Associate

Laura L Corsiglia

Visual Effects

Jesse M Cosio

Animator

Joanne Coughlin

Animator

Devin Crane

Animator

Stephane Cros

Cgi Artist

Ricardo Curtis

Animator

Ruth Daly

Animator

Bob Davies

Animator

Jean Cullen De Mourna

Animator

Marcelo Fernandez De Mouro

Animator

William Dely

Background Artist

John M Dillon

Animator

Mark Dinicola

Camera

Pepe Dominguin

Song

Lou Donaldson

Song

Lou Donaldson

Song Performer

Bob Dorough

Song

Adam Dotson

Cgi Artist

Dennis Durell

Background Artist

Rick Echevaria

Visual Effects

Rick Echevarria

Animator

Tony Eckert

Foley Mixer

Bruce Edwards

Cgi Artist

Robert Elhai

Original Music

Marc Ellis

Animator

Kolja Erman

Technical Director

Jeff Etter

Animator

Carla Larissa Fallberg

Art Department

Mark Farquhar

Cgi Artist

Lauren Faust

Animator

George Ferguson

Other

Ralph Fernan

Animator

Sylvia Marika Filcak

Other

Jim Finn

Background Artist

Babak Forutanpour

Technical Director

Allen Foster

Other

William H Frake

Other

Emmanuel C Francisco

Other

Stephan Franck

Animator

Tony Fucile

Visual Effects Designer

Tony Fucile

Animator

Michel Gagne

Animator

Ralph Garcia

Production Associate

Steve Garcia

Animator

Brian R Gardner

Technical Director

Frederick J Gardner

Layout Artist

Nathalie Gavet

Other

Yelena Geodakyan

Other

Gregory M Gerlich

Sound

Greg Gibbons

Background Artist

Tad Gielow

Graphics

Loius Gonzales

Layout Artist

Babs Gonzalez

Song

Babs Gonzalez

Song Performer

Irina Goosby

Art Department

Lennie K Graves

Animator

Katie Gray

Animator

Marci Gray

Casting Consultant

Shannon Gregory

Song Performer

Irene M Gringeri

Other

Annie Guenther

Background Artist

Victor J Haboush

Visual Effects

Russell Hall

Animator

Karen Hamrock

Layout Artist

Karen Hansen

Other

James Hatchcock

Visual Effects

Helen Hee Seung Lee

Animator

Corey Hels

Technical Director

Adam Henry

Animator

Ken Hettig

Animator

Earl A Hibbert

Animator

Rhonda L Hicks

Other

Gillian Higgins

Animator

Brett Hisey

Animator

Darren Holmes

Editor

Kevin D Howard

Other

Rusty Howes

Other

Ron Hughart

Cgi Artist

Ron Hughart

Story By

Ted Hughes

Consultant

Ted Hughes

Book As Source Material

Roger Huynh

Technical Director

Hiroki Itokazu

Other

Hiroki Itokazu

Technical Director

Louie C Jhocson

Animator

Andrew Jimenez

Animator

Andrew Jimenez

Visual Effects

Kevin Johnson

Animator

Joe Johnston

Other

Scott F Johnston

Art Department

Ben Jones

Animator

Shaunda Grace Jones

Casting Associate

Michael Kamen

Music

Michael Kamen

Music Conductor

Michael Kamen

Original Music

Karenia Kaminski

Other

Doc Kane

Screenplay

Doc Kane

Writer (Dialogue)

Doc Kane

Adr Mixer

Yair Kantor

Cgi Artist

Conor W Kavanagh

Other

James Keefer

Other

Ernest Keen

Animator

Craig Kelly

Background Artist

Jae H. Kim

Animator

Brian Kindregan

Story By

Darren D Kiner

Technical Director

Andy King

Technical Director

Sara-jane King

Other

Pam Kleyman

Animator

Dawn Knight

Visual Effects

Tom Knott

Casting Consultant

Keith Kobata

Other

Lureline Kohler

Other

Martin Korth

Other

Piet Kroon

Storyboard Artist

Bryan Kulik

Production Associate

Francis Lang

Other

Phil Langone

Animator

Mark Lapointe

Visual Effects

Brian Larsen

Animator

Dan C Larsen

Other

Mary Helen Leasman

Foley Editor

Boowon Lee

Animator

Jerry Leiber

Song

Holger Leihe

Animator

Davis Lem

Other

Dennis Leonard

Sound Editor

Michael Leung

Technical Director

Carol Li-chuan Yao

Animator

Sebastien Linage

Technical Director

Marci Liroff

Casting

Jimmy Lloyd

Song Performer

John Logan

Music

Jimmy Logsdon

Song

Jose F Lopez

Other

Dominique Louis

Visual Effects

Joe Lubin

Song

Lane Lueras

Animator

Film Details

Also Known As
Geant de fer, Le, IJzeren reus, Iron Giant, Järnjätten, Le Geant de fer, gigante de hierro, El
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Family
Fantasy
Period
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1999
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m

Articles

The Iron Giant


A box-office failure at the time of release, The Iron Giant (1999) was nevertheless recognized by animation fans and professionals as one of the best films to come out of the "animation boom" of the 1990s, and deserving of space on the list of classic cartoon features from any era. Within a few years of release, general audiences discovered the film as well, embracing its well-told, simple story, its heart and its timeless quality.

The Iron Giant was the first animated feature directed by Brad Bird. Bird had been something of an animation prodigy, having submitted his first cartoon to Disney Studios at the age of 13. The studio was impressed by the effort and Bird was mentored by one of the legendary Nine Old Men of Disney animation, Milt Kahl. After going through Disney's CalArts program of studies, Bird's first major solo work was the highly regarded "Family Dog," a 1987 episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories anthology series. Also for Spielberg, Bird co-scripted the live-action film *batteries not included (1987). For much of the 1990s Bird avoided theatrical animation and concentrated on the then-freer environs of Prime Time TV, becoming a consultant and occasional layout artist on The Simpsons, The Critic, and King of the Hill. By 1997 Bird was developing a feature film project with Turner Feature Animation called Ray Gunn. Turner merged with Warner Bros., however, and Bird found himself at Warner Bros. Animation with a no-go project. Given the chance to pick from other projects being looked at by the studio, Bird happened upon a drawing of a little boy with a giant robot. The project was a potential adaptation of a British book, as filtered through the sensibilities of a British rock star. The book was The Iron Man by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, first published in 1968. (Hughes had written the book for his two children--to help explain to them the 1963 suicide death of their mother, American poet Sylvia Plath.) In 1989 The Who frontman Pete Townshend had adapted the book into a solo concept album, also called The Iron Man. After finding its way to the stage, the property ended up in the hands of Warner Bros., brought there by Townshend as a possible animated film using the music he had written.

Bird saw great potential in the Hughes book, but he wanted to Americanize the story and fashion it to his own tastes. As he explained at the time of release, "Hughes' book is a great story that tries to show kids about the cycle of life--even though there is death, life has a continuity. My version is based around a question I asked the execs at Warner Bros.--what if a gun had a soul and chose not to be a gun? Basically I wanted to honor the book, but also take it in a new direction." The filmmakers sent Hughes a copy of the near-finished script, which he approved of, saying that the new story had "...terrific sinister gathering momentum and the ending came to me as a glorious piece of amazement." (Unfortunately, Hughes died in October, 1998 and never saw the finished film).

In Hughes' book, the Iron Man's origins are totally unexplained--he simply rises from the sea. The Iron Giant opens with a journey through space. A form enters Earth's orbit, and passes the small Soviet satellite, Sputnik. The form enters the atmosphere of Earth near a raging storm at sea and splashes into the water. In a small town in Rockwell, Maine, in the fall of 1957, we meet single mother Annie Hughes (voiced by Jennifer Aniston), waiting tables in the local diner. She has her hands full raising her nine-year old son Hogarth (voiced by Eli Marienthal), who possesses a boisterous nature and a vivid imagination. In the diner, fishermen tell of seeing a giant metal man falling to the sea. The tales are ignored; everyone is jumpy because of the Soviet satellite currently circling the globe. Hogarth ventures out at night, however, and not only does he stumble upon the Iron Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel), he saves the metal-eating robot-man from being destroyed by the raging electricity of a power plant. Hogarth communicates with his new friend, and hides him in a junkyard run by Dean (voiced by Harry Connick, Jr.), a local beatnik artist. Because of rumors of a possible Soviet secret weapon in the area, government agent Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) begins to snoop around. Hogarth, with Dean's help, keeps the Iron Giant out of sight and also discovers the true nature of the Giant's purpose--a purpose that the Iron Giant himself comes to question.

Bird's goal was to make a film for all ages, not one strictly for children. As he told IGN FilmForce in an interview, "I can't name another art form on the face of the Earth that limits its audience by saying it's aimed at one age group...I have people asking me what it's like to be working in the animation genre. It's not a genre. It's an art form that can do any genre, and it's been limited by people's perceptions, but I think it can tell any story there is." As Bird further explained in Animation World Magazine, "Warner Bros. has offered me my first opportunity to do something in feature animation outside of 'the familiar tale set to Broadway music' formula, but with a budget sufficient to execute it here, in this country, under one roof and in full animation....With a production schedule a year shorter and a budget less than half the size of our friends at either of the two D's (Disney and DreamWorks), our margin for error is minuscule."

In his article for Animation World Magazine, Bird described the all-important storyboarding process, and how it affected the final scripting: "Simply put, the Disney method is to develop the 'business' of the story (gags, situations, emotions, etc) completely before dealing with how the business is to be presented....[But] it became increasingly harder for me to have an idea without simultaneously imagining how the idea was staged." So, Bird returned to a method of animation that was tried-and-true during the Golden Age of theatrical cartoon shorts (such as the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and the Tom & Jerry cartoons made at MGM): he and writer Tim McCanlies polished the script and developed story embellishments during the storyboard process. To aid in the eventual timing and pacing of the film, the storyboard was constantly updated as a moving, timed electronic entity by inputting the artwork into the After Effects program. Here, possible camera movements, staging, and timing decisions could be tried out before the scenes were even handed out to the animators. The resulting "story reels" were helpful in showing how the finished film would flow kinetically--both to studio executives and to the animation crew itself.

Not all of the film was animated traditionally--the Iron Giant himself was a computer-generated (CGI) creation. Great pains were taken, however, to integrate the CG Giant into the hand-drawn world of the rest of the film. Effects designer and live-action director Joe Johnston helped design the Giant--a deceptively simple-looking retro robot featuring great obvious strength and size, yet a "blank" looking face that could reflect varied emotions. Johnston said, "He has a simple jaw shape that can't really bend into a smile or a frown, but he has other ways of expressing thoughts and ideas through physical movements." The computer-generated lines of the Giant were actually downgraded during production to give the Giant a more hand-drawn feel; the crew came up with a computer program that gave the lines a slight "wobble."

Bird decided to shoot The Iron Giant in CinemaScope-style widescreen, "...even though I was warned that you don't ever want to shoot tall things in that kind of wide-screen." The decision made it that much more difficult to create compositions, but Bird felt that the process was more immersive for the audience, and besides, "...a lot of movies in the late '50s were shot in 'Scope, so I thought it was appropriate for a movie set in 1957."

Bird broke again with the then-current mode of feature production when it came to assigning animators. The practice at Disney had long been to assign a specific character to one animator, so that an animating supervisor would only be responsible for drawing one character. Bird decided to play up an animator's strength and assign them entire scenes based on the emotion or action, regardless of which character appeared. Because of this, several animators might draw different sections of the same scene. This practice, too, was a throwback to the way cartoons were done in the Golden Age, such as by Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett and his unit at Warner Bros.

The Iron Giant only made $23 million in its first three months of release, a poor figure for a major studio animated feature. In its release to home video and in subsequent TV showings, audiences discovered the film and responded to both the simple charm of the story as well as some of the more complex themes touched on in the multi-layered film. As Bird told Salon.com in an interview, "...we have to deal with our technological sophistication versus our spiritual sophistication--and technology always seems to be ahead of where we are spiritually. The machine in the movie ends up representing our own inventive side of ourselves and begs the question: Is it a good thing, or is it a dangerous thing?" Following The Iron Giant, Bird became the first outside director to helm a feature at Pixar Animation Studios. The resulting CGI-animated film, The Incredibles (2004), was a box-office smash and acknowledged by many as the best Pixar movie to date.

Producer: Allison Abbate, Des McAnuff
Executive Producer: Pete Townshend, John Walker
Director: Brad Bird
Screenplay: Tim McCanlies
Story: Brad Bird, (based on The Iron Man by Ted Hughes)
Cinematography: Steven Wilzbach
Film Editing: Darren T. Holmes
Music: Michael Kamen
Production Design: Mark Whiting
Art Direction: Alan Bodner
Voice Cast: Jennifer Aniston (Annie Hughes), Harry Connick, Jr. (Dean McCoppin), Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant), James Gammon (Marv Loach, Floyd Turbeaux, General Sudokoff), Cloris Leachman (Mrs. Lynley Tensedge), Christopher MacDonald (Kent Mansley), John Mahoney (General Rogard), M. Emmet Walsh (Earl Stutz).
C-86m.

by John M. Miller
The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant

A box-office failure at the time of release, The Iron Giant (1999) was nevertheless recognized by animation fans and professionals as one of the best films to come out of the "animation boom" of the 1990s, and deserving of space on the list of classic cartoon features from any era. Within a few years of release, general audiences discovered the film as well, embracing its well-told, simple story, its heart and its timeless quality. The Iron Giant was the first animated feature directed by Brad Bird. Bird had been something of an animation prodigy, having submitted his first cartoon to Disney Studios at the age of 13. The studio was impressed by the effort and Bird was mentored by one of the legendary Nine Old Men of Disney animation, Milt Kahl. After going through Disney's CalArts program of studies, Bird's first major solo work was the highly regarded "Family Dog," a 1987 episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories anthology series. Also for Spielberg, Bird co-scripted the live-action film *batteries not included (1987). For much of the 1990s Bird avoided theatrical animation and concentrated on the then-freer environs of Prime Time TV, becoming a consultant and occasional layout artist on The Simpsons, The Critic, and King of the Hill. By 1997 Bird was developing a feature film project with Turner Feature Animation called Ray Gunn. Turner merged with Warner Bros., however, and Bird found himself at Warner Bros. Animation with a no-go project. Given the chance to pick from other projects being looked at by the studio, Bird happened upon a drawing of a little boy with a giant robot. The project was a potential adaptation of a British book, as filtered through the sensibilities of a British rock star. The book was The Iron Man by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, first published in 1968. (Hughes had written the book for his two children--to help explain to them the 1963 suicide death of their mother, American poet Sylvia Plath.) In 1989 The Who frontman Pete Townshend had adapted the book into a solo concept album, also called The Iron Man. After finding its way to the stage, the property ended up in the hands of Warner Bros., brought there by Townshend as a possible animated film using the music he had written. Bird saw great potential in the Hughes book, but he wanted to Americanize the story and fashion it to his own tastes. As he explained at the time of release, "Hughes' book is a great story that tries to show kids about the cycle of life--even though there is death, life has a continuity. My version is based around a question I asked the execs at Warner Bros.--what if a gun had a soul and chose not to be a gun? Basically I wanted to honor the book, but also take it in a new direction." The filmmakers sent Hughes a copy of the near-finished script, which he approved of, saying that the new story had "...terrific sinister gathering momentum and the ending came to me as a glorious piece of amazement." (Unfortunately, Hughes died in October, 1998 and never saw the finished film). In Hughes' book, the Iron Man's origins are totally unexplained--he simply rises from the sea. The Iron Giant opens with a journey through space. A form enters Earth's orbit, and passes the small Soviet satellite, Sputnik. The form enters the atmosphere of Earth near a raging storm at sea and splashes into the water. In a small town in Rockwell, Maine, in the fall of 1957, we meet single mother Annie Hughes (voiced by Jennifer Aniston), waiting tables in the local diner. She has her hands full raising her nine-year old son Hogarth (voiced by Eli Marienthal), who possesses a boisterous nature and a vivid imagination. In the diner, fishermen tell of seeing a giant metal man falling to the sea. The tales are ignored; everyone is jumpy because of the Soviet satellite currently circling the globe. Hogarth ventures out at night, however, and not only does he stumble upon the Iron Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel), he saves the metal-eating robot-man from being destroyed by the raging electricity of a power plant. Hogarth communicates with his new friend, and hides him in a junkyard run by Dean (voiced by Harry Connick, Jr.), a local beatnik artist. Because of rumors of a possible Soviet secret weapon in the area, government agent Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) begins to snoop around. Hogarth, with Dean's help, keeps the Iron Giant out of sight and also discovers the true nature of the Giant's purpose--a purpose that the Iron Giant himself comes to question. Bird's goal was to make a film for all ages, not one strictly for children. As he told IGN FilmForce in an interview, "I can't name another art form on the face of the Earth that limits its audience by saying it's aimed at one age group...I have people asking me what it's like to be working in the animation genre. It's not a genre. It's an art form that can do any genre, and it's been limited by people's perceptions, but I think it can tell any story there is." As Bird further explained in Animation World Magazine, "Warner Bros. has offered me my first opportunity to do something in feature animation outside of 'the familiar tale set to Broadway music' formula, but with a budget sufficient to execute it here, in this country, under one roof and in full animation....With a production schedule a year shorter and a budget less than half the size of our friends at either of the two D's (Disney and DreamWorks), our margin for error is minuscule." In his article for Animation World Magazine, Bird described the all-important storyboarding process, and how it affected the final scripting: "Simply put, the Disney method is to develop the 'business' of the story (gags, situations, emotions, etc) completely before dealing with how the business is to be presented....[But] it became increasingly harder for me to have an idea without simultaneously imagining how the idea was staged." So, Bird returned to a method of animation that was tried-and-true during the Golden Age of theatrical cartoon shorts (such as the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and the Tom & Jerry cartoons made at MGM): he and writer Tim McCanlies polished the script and developed story embellishments during the storyboard process. To aid in the eventual timing and pacing of the film, the storyboard was constantly updated as a moving, timed electronic entity by inputting the artwork into the After Effects program. Here, possible camera movements, staging, and timing decisions could be tried out before the scenes were even handed out to the animators. The resulting "story reels" were helpful in showing how the finished film would flow kinetically--both to studio executives and to the animation crew itself. Not all of the film was animated traditionally--the Iron Giant himself was a computer-generated (CGI) creation. Great pains were taken, however, to integrate the CG Giant into the hand-drawn world of the rest of the film. Effects designer and live-action director Joe Johnston helped design the Giant--a deceptively simple-looking retro robot featuring great obvious strength and size, yet a "blank" looking face that could reflect varied emotions. Johnston said, "He has a simple jaw shape that can't really bend into a smile or a frown, but he has other ways of expressing thoughts and ideas through physical movements." The computer-generated lines of the Giant were actually downgraded during production to give the Giant a more hand-drawn feel; the crew came up with a computer program that gave the lines a slight "wobble." Bird decided to shoot The Iron Giant in CinemaScope-style widescreen, "...even though I was warned that you don't ever want to shoot tall things in that kind of wide-screen." The decision made it that much more difficult to create compositions, but Bird felt that the process was more immersive for the audience, and besides, "...a lot of movies in the late '50s were shot in 'Scope, so I thought it was appropriate for a movie set in 1957." Bird broke again with the then-current mode of feature production when it came to assigning animators. The practice at Disney had long been to assign a specific character to one animator, so that an animating supervisor would only be responsible for drawing one character. Bird decided to play up an animator's strength and assign them entire scenes based on the emotion or action, regardless of which character appeared. Because of this, several animators might draw different sections of the same scene. This practice, too, was a throwback to the way cartoons were done in the Golden Age, such as by Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett and his unit at Warner Bros. The Iron Giant only made $23 million in its first three months of release, a poor figure for a major studio animated feature. In its release to home video and in subsequent TV showings, audiences discovered the film and responded to both the simple charm of the story as well as some of the more complex themes touched on in the multi-layered film. As Bird told Salon.com in an interview, "...we have to deal with our technological sophistication versus our spiritual sophistication--and technology always seems to be ahead of where we are spiritually. The machine in the movie ends up representing our own inventive side of ourselves and begs the question: Is it a good thing, or is it a dangerous thing?" Following The Iron Giant, Bird became the first outside director to helm a feature at Pixar Animation Studios. The resulting CGI-animated film, The Incredibles (2004), was a box-office smash and acknowledged by many as the best Pixar movie to date. Producer: Allison Abbate, Des McAnuff Executive Producer: Pete Townshend, John Walker Director: Brad Bird Screenplay: Tim McCanlies Story: Brad Bird, (based on The Iron Man by Ted Hughes) Cinematography: Steven Wilzbach Film Editing: Darren T. Holmes Music: Michael Kamen Production Design: Mark Whiting Art Direction: Alan Bodner Voice Cast: Jennifer Aniston (Annie Hughes), Harry Connick, Jr. (Dean McCoppin), Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant), James Gammon (Marv Loach, Floyd Turbeaux, General Sudokoff), Cloris Leachman (Mrs. Lynley Tensedge), Christopher MacDonald (Kent Mansley), John Mahoney (General Rogard), M. Emmet Walsh (Earl Stutz). C-86m. by John M. Miller

The Iron Giant (Special Edition) on DVD


The writer-director of The Incredibles (2004), a Poet Laureate and a rock 'n roll guitarist were the unlikely contributors to the history of The Iron Giant (1999), one of the best recent children's movies, now released by Warner Home Video in a Special Edition DVD.

After the poetess Sylvia Plath committed suicide, her husband, the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes tried to comfort their children by creating a story about a gigantic iron man with a taste for metal. Appearing out of nowhere, this huge robot is befriended by a boy named Hogarth who protects him from the fearful townspeople. When Earth is attacked by a dragon from space, Hogarth and the Iron Man save the planet.

In 1968, Hughes' story was published in the United Kingdom by Faber & Faber as The Iron Man, rapidly becoming a worldwide children's favorite. The next person to enter the story was an editor at Faber & Faber who, by chance, had once been the lead guitarist and songwriter for the English rock band The Who, Pete Townshend. Having risen to worldwide fame for his rock operas Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Townshend was looking for material for another theatrical piece and found it in Hughes' story. With Hughes' blessing, Townshend turned The Iron Man into an album in 1989 and a theatrical production in 1993.

After the Tony Award-winning Broadway staging of Tommy, Townshend and his co-producer Des McAnuff, brought The Iron Man to Warner Brothers seeking to make a film version of the musical. There it remained until 1996 when Brad Bird, animation writer and director on the TV series The Simpsons and The Critic, found the project while trying to make his first movie. Bird took over, introducing a new concept for the story. In his version, the Iron Man would land in 1950's America at the height of the Cold War. Hogarth would teach the giant but playful robot about life while trying to hide him from a paranoid government agent.

The next change Bird made was to drop Townshend's songs and take the unusual step of making a more realistic, non-musical, animated film right after Disney had had success after success with musical fantasies. He also changed the title to The Iron Giant, which had been used for the U.S. publication of Hughes' book. The result pleased not only the critics, but also Hughes and Townshend who both praised the finished film. Unfortunately, the movie was only a moderate success at the box office, but The Iron Giant may rise again now that Bird has gained fame as the writer and director of the hit animated movie The Incredibles (2004).

Warner Home Video's Special Edition DVD of The Iron Giant has a bevy of wonderful extra features including deleted scenes, background interviews and a DVD-ROM game. If you have only heard about this movie in passing, you have a delightful surprise coming your way and if you've seen it before, this DVD is the best presentation you could own; a treasure for both children and adults.

For more information about The Iron Giant, visit Warner Video. To order The Iron Giant, go to TCM Shopping.

by Brian Cady

The Iron Giant (Special Edition) on DVD

The writer-director of The Incredibles (2004), a Poet Laureate and a rock 'n roll guitarist were the unlikely contributors to the history of The Iron Giant (1999), one of the best recent children's movies, now released by Warner Home Video in a Special Edition DVD. After the poetess Sylvia Plath committed suicide, her husband, the British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes tried to comfort their children by creating a story about a gigantic iron man with a taste for metal. Appearing out of nowhere, this huge robot is befriended by a boy named Hogarth who protects him from the fearful townspeople. When Earth is attacked by a dragon from space, Hogarth and the Iron Man save the planet. In 1968, Hughes' story was published in the United Kingdom by Faber & Faber as The Iron Man, rapidly becoming a worldwide children's favorite. The next person to enter the story was an editor at Faber & Faber who, by chance, had once been the lead guitarist and songwriter for the English rock band The Who, Pete Townshend. Having risen to worldwide fame for his rock operas Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Townshend was looking for material for another theatrical piece and found it in Hughes' story. With Hughes' blessing, Townshend turned The Iron Man into an album in 1989 and a theatrical production in 1993. After the Tony Award-winning Broadway staging of Tommy, Townshend and his co-producer Des McAnuff, brought The Iron Man to Warner Brothers seeking to make a film version of the musical. There it remained until 1996 when Brad Bird, animation writer and director on the TV series The Simpsons and The Critic, found the project while trying to make his first movie. Bird took over, introducing a new concept for the story. In his version, the Iron Man would land in 1950's America at the height of the Cold War. Hogarth would teach the giant but playful robot about life while trying to hide him from a paranoid government agent. The next change Bird made was to drop Townshend's songs and take the unusual step of making a more realistic, non-musical, animated film right after Disney had had success after success with musical fantasies. He also changed the title to The Iron Giant, which had been used for the U.S. publication of Hughes' book. The result pleased not only the critics, but also Hughes and Townshend who both praised the finished film. Unfortunately, the movie was only a moderate success at the box office, but The Iron Giant may rise again now that Bird has gained fame as the writer and director of the hit animated movie The Incredibles (2004). Warner Home Video's Special Edition DVD of The Iron Giant has a bevy of wonderful extra features including deleted scenes, background interviews and a DVD-ROM game. If you have only heard about this movie in passing, you have a delightful surprise coming your way and if you've seen it before, this DVD is the best presentation you could own; a treasure for both children and adults. For more information about The Iron Giant, visit Warner Video. To order The Iron Giant, go to TCM Shopping. by Brian Cady

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Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of nine awards at the 1999 Annie Awards including excellence in character animation, effects animation, directing, music, storyboarding, writing, theatrics, individual voiceover and production design.

Released in United States Summer August 4, 1999

Released in United States August 6, 1999

Released in United States on Video November 23, 1999

Released in United States November 1999

Shown at London Film Festival November 3-18, 1999.

Ted Hughes' book "The Iron Giant" was illustrated by Andrew Davidson and was first published in England in 1968 under the title "The Iron Man."

Pete Townshend, of the rock band The Who, previously adapted Ted Hughes' novel for his 1989 album "The Iron Man: A Musical."

Feature directorial debut for Brad Bird.

Began shooting September 2, 1997.

Completed shooting spring 1999.

Project utilizes computer generated images.

5/18/00 keyed c&c SightSound

Expanded release in Australia April 13, 2000.

Expanded released in Australia April 20, 2000.

Released in United States Summer August 4, 1999

Released in United States August 6, 1999

Released in United States on Video November 23, 1999

Released in United States November 1999 (Shown at London Film Festival November 3-18, 1999.)

Winner of the 1999 award for Best Animation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.