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1-Star Movie Reviews: The Iron Giant

The internet was all a flutter right before the holidays with the confirmation that Vin Diesel would be voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. The popular joke would be that an animated alien that only says "Groot" would be the perfect use of Diesel's acting talents. Sure it's funny, but then we remember that Diesel has already captured our hearts as an animated alien with limited speaking lines.

The Iron Giant is the story of a boy named Hogarth in 1957 who rescues and befriends a giant alien robot war machine. The Iron Giant has a built in defense mechanism so whenever he encounters a gun, he goes activates his weapons systems.


Hogarth introduces the Giant to Superman comics and uses them to teach the robot that he doesn't have to be a war machine if he doesn't want to be. Meanwhile, the Government discovers the existence of the the Iron Giant and mobilizes to destroy him, ultimately resorting to a nuclear strike. The Giant takes Hogarth's lesson to heart and sacrifices himself in order to protect the small coastal town in Maine where the boy lives. In the end The Iron Giant chooses to be a hero, not a destroyer. That's it. Sure there are themes of anti-violence and Cold War paranoia. Read anything into that you want, but it is basically a movie about changing your own destiny.

The Iron Giant was released by Warner Bros. in August of 1999. The film was directed by Brad Bird and starred the aforementioned Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., and Eli Marienthal. The story is based off the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, which had already been adapted into an album titled The Iron Man: The Musical by Pete Townshend of The Who. Unfortunately, Townshend's album does not include any mention of the Iron Man being turned to steel in the great magnetic field or of his having traveled time for the future of mankind. This adaptation was eventually adapted into an animated film which grew into this movie. The title was changed from The Iron Man to The Iron Giant in order to avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics character (and probably a lawsuit). When the movie was originally released, it was a critical success but a commercial failure. This is a shame because The Iron Giant really is a great movie. That's the way I feel, but as always there are those who don't agree.

Let's look at some stats. There are 853 reviews for this movie on Amazon.com. There are 21 1-Star reviews. Of these reviews, five are for technical problems with the DVD or download. People need to seriously learn about region codes before they buy DVDs. That leaves sixteen people who didn't like this movie. There was a distinct lack of angry capitalization and weird rambling in these reviews, but as you will see towards the end, this movie really riled up some of the pro-gun, conservative, conspiracy folks.


The Iron Giant

I give one star for the fact of cartoon . Kids may be interested in such a movie . But I personally cant hack it.


Didn't you know that this was a cartoon going into it? Amazon lists it as being animated if you buy the DVD, but maybe you streamed it instead. Oh, wait! You can watch a trailer of the movie before you buy it. Try that next time.


I am greatly disappointed that such a good film would promote or allow poor language (i.e. swearing). It doesn't make sense, since we don't allow children to speak this way in our schools and most parents do not allow it at home; why would it be acceptable in a children's movie?


Here is what screenit.com has for profanity in this movie:

At least 3 hells, 1 damn, 2 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Oh Lord," "God," "My God" and "Sweet Mother of Jesus" as exclamations.


That doesn't seem too bad for a movie that is rated PG. Did you know that the MPAA even allows some instances of brief nudity in a PG movie? Crazy!

This Movie is NOT Rated G!

I would have never purchased this movie for my daughter knowing the true rating was PG. Too much gun/laser usage, violence, and destruction. Amazon lists this as a Rated G movie, but on the clamshell it shows a rating of PG.


I checked and Amazon actually lists this movie as PG. To be fair, maybe they changed it in the nine years since this review was written. They can't be trusted; they are building armies of drones after all!

Very violent and confusing to small children

I purchased this video because the cover was marketed to young children: it speaks of a little boy who looks to be about 6-7 years old, and his giant robot.


I watched the movie from beginning to end. It is violent and deals with death, war, personal sacrifice, and other issues that are similarly complicated for a young child's mind. All of these mature concepts are presented in an explosive visual experience, with shooting, aggression, and military action in the major, high-tension, scenes. If the viewer is too young to grasp the complicated issues of the movie, then the violence in the movie appears to be wanton and meaningless.

In watching the video to completion, I felt that it was not appropriate for children under 6 years at all and that it would probably even take some explaining the intricacies of the plot and its ramifications to children who are 7 to 9 years. There is shooting and/or knee-jerk threat of that action that goes on throughout the film. The main character of the show (the robot) automatically arms himself with a huge arsenal and transforms into a war machine whenever he feels threatened.


The story line includes a few scenes with redeeming principals. The robot eventually realizes, with advice from the young boy, that he doesn't have to follow that knee-jerk programming; that he doesn't have to react to other peoples' violence, and that he can be peaceful. And, the story line includes the robot's sacrificing himself in the end, to protect the young boy he has befriended. This latter scene is very emotionally difficult to handle because of the circumstances; one is extremely sad that the robot, who had 'learned his lesson about violence' and refused to fight, ended up being blown up in the end. At the same time, the viewer is very angry at the guy who pulled the trigger.

The film's story and the magnitude of its concepts would be very difficult to explain to small children. This could be a movie for parents to watch with older children and then discussed.


The main character, Hogarth, is actually nine years old, but that doesn't matter. The movie is rated PG which means it is the parent's responsibility to provide some guidance and decide if it is appropriate for their children. I have two children and both of them watched this movie without me having to sit down with them afterwards and have discussions about why the bad men killed the robot. I think a child in the age range of 7-9 should be able to process the themes of this movie fairly easily. Maybe my kids are more intellectually and emotionally equipped to process these things or maybe I've desensitized them by letting them watch HBO.

I hate children's movies with political agendas!

This movie seemed to have a political agenda against guns and went so far as having the giant do a cameo with a simple message that "guns are bad". Very distasteful on the part of the producers for sneaking in unapproved messages like this.


Yeah, those producers and their unapproved messages! I think that you missed the point here. The Iron Giant was built to be an implement of destruction, but Hogarth helps him learn that he can change his fate. He doesn't have to be a gun. He can be a hero like Superman if he wants to. I would like to point out that the Iron Giant doesn't need to snap anyone's neck to learn this.

very disappointed

great until it got to it's anti-gun message. in this case the moral of the story is wrong. not recommended.


Bowling For Columbine is an anti-gun movie. Go give that a 1-Star review! This movie is not crusading against your right to bear arms. They are trying to fry much bigger fish. It's dealing with Cold War paranoia and violence on a global scale, not with stopping you from buying an AR-15.

Hmm.. too much brain washing...

I really do not like movies that try to tell me how to think. Movies that try to influence kids on political ideology are completely revolting.


I have to apologize to this reviewer, because, when I first read the review, I thought it said "I really do not like movies that make me think." But seriously, these reviewers really need to change the record.

Political Anti: Gun, Hunting, Military, War Informercial

Anti Gun, Anti Hunting, Anti Military, Anti War Informercial. That aside I still do not think the story or the animation was that great. It is a PG as it should be because it is not suitable for young children.


Another one? I must have missed the anti-hunting message in the movie. The Iron Giant responds negatively in that scene to the guns, which he is programmed to perceive as a threat, not the act of killing a deer. I do commend you for being of the only reviewers who has some understanding of what PG means.

The prettiest peice of brainwashing propoganda I have seen in years.

"Hook em while their young!"

I'm sorry, but this just misleads people about several things that are very important to me. I know that one amazon review isn't going to change the world. Really. But it sickens me the level that people let others think for them, and believe they are thinking of their own accord...

This is anti-gun, anti-hunting, anti-military, and anti-conservative. It tells a story with good acting and some beautiful art that is incredibly loaded politically. Showing this to a child is unfair and misleading. The topics, and their method of address, in this film range across those listed above, and none of them are given a fair shake. And none of them are viewed positively in this film.

I felt betrayed by this movie. When the line came out "Don't be a gun". I damn near gagged. While I understand the metaphor, and the choice between good and evil, the MACHINE is not to blame guys... the will behind it is. And this film doesn't adequately address that choice where it instead chooses to pass the buck and stomp around the old anti gun war path.

The art is amazing, and the message is a joke in poor taste. If you want to view this film, please do so with an open mind, because if this is what certain people want to teach my kids, then I understand home schoolers WAY better.



A title and one sentence and you managed three spelling errors, ugh.

You don't understand the metaphor, because you, like many of your fellow 1-Star reviewers, came out that the message was anti-gun. "the MACHINE is not to blame guys... the will behind it is." That's what you said and if you had stopped right there you would have nailed it. Even though the Iron Giant was built to kill, he chose to not kill. He had all the tools, but not the will.


Anti-military Activism to the Max

My neighbor gave this film to our 2 & 4 year old boys several years ago. After we watched it once, I had a talk with them and threw it out.

It portrays US military commanders as unthinking, stubborn, reactionary thugs who are responsible for war and injustice.

I saw officers that drifted in that direction as a Marine intelligence analyst in the 1980s, but they were rare, disrespected, deadened in their careers and they were still never this bad. This filmmaker imagines them to me in charge of our forces, I'm sure there's no shortage mislead people who agree, but it's not reality.

US commanders are nowhere near perfect, but on average they are equal to or better than the business executives that I've worked with in management and IT consulting in hearthcare in terms of ethics and judgment. This film's portrayal of them is juvenile and misleading.

If you respect our military, you probably won't respect the message of this film.


Why did you capitalize Max? Are you addressing a person or maybe the hang out from Saved By The Bell? Are you calling me out? Never mind.

I know for a fact that there are military commanders who exhibit all of the traits that you believe them to be incapable of. It's just a reality. The military is a microcosm of society. Military officers are not some learned elite that are hand picked from the noblest of families. Some of them are completely incapable of leading men and still advance through the officer ranks.


Also, I've been over this before. If someone gives you a gift, it is incredibly rude to throw it away. Here is your very long, Pete Townshend-themed winner.

Living proof as to why and how Hollywood often insults the intelligence of today's movie-watchers.

This past August, I had bought the soundtrack to Pete Townsend's 1989 musical The Iron Man, which was also based on Ted Hughes's 1968 novel, and was impressed not only with Mr. Townsend's artistry, but also with the wisdom of the message that its songs conveyed as individual selections on an entire album that was just plain fun to listen to. Naturally, I thus came to thinking that maybe this motion picture, which was released a whole decade after that particular CD, would likely appeal to my imagination in the same way the musical would have, had I only the opportunity to see the latter presentation myself. Unfortunately, I found out how wrong I was when I rented this rightfully less-than-appreciated flick last weekend and forced myself to sit through it.

Now, I'll admit, the animation was definitely something worthy of applause; that's the ONE thing I'll give The Iron Giant credit for. However, that's as far as my praise for this movie goes. I'll also admit that it didn't follow the exact same lines as either the book or the musical, but then again, I was expecting that to be the case. Rather, it was the overall tone of the film that earned my enmity. To begin with, though I am well aware that many animated features and other family-themed features contain the occasional sight gag or adult-themed joke, TIG seemed to be heavily punctuated with them, from beatnik scrap-sculptor Dean McChoppin unzipping his fly to let young Hogarth Hughes's "pet" squirrel escape his pants to the "bathroom" scene where Hogarth tries to cover for the robot's hand as it exits the Hughes's home—the latter scene of which has AT LEAST two instances of what one could easily call "toilet-bowl humor." Not only that, but I found the protagonist himself to be just the most obnoxious and repulsive example of a lead character I have ever come to know: a loud, unruly, disobedient brat reminiscent of all four of young Charlie Bucket's tourmates from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who tries to pass himself off as having more depth than he really has. Honestly, he's NOT what I would call "amiable," "heart-warming," or even "cute"; such adjectives I'd rather reserve for the wide-eyed, honest, poverty-stricken Mr. Bucket. Of course, it's not like I really appreciated any of the other human characters in this flick, either—not little Mr. Hughes's ridiculously clueless diner waitress mother Annie, nor the deadbeat wannabe "artist" Dean, nor even the inept government agent whose name I have completely (yet thankfully) forgotten despite his being the most complex Earthling participant in the entire cartoon. As such, only the hundred-foot-tall, metal-munching robot—a softhearted and self-maintaining (if nonetheless hopelessly brain-damaged) extraterrestrial being who has no memory at all of his origin—impressed me. Even so, the movie portrayed the poor guy as being so incredibly dimwitted (as opposed to being haplessly misguided and a tad naive, which I was hoping he'd come off as being) in an effort to make him likeable to the kids in the audience that I ended up pitying him more than anything else. Needless to say, then, as much as I tried to grapple with each and every one of these elements as they presented themselves, I merely found it harder and harder to get over and accept them all as a collective whole, and I ended up returning this movie to the video store in utter disgust.

Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, I really tried to appreciate The Iron Giant, but despite my efforts in trying to see the side of the story that its fans see in it, all was for naught, and now I am left asking myself as to just why I even bothered to rent it in the first place. After all, it has been known to be one of a number of very unpopular motion pictures from 1999, and with good reason: It caters to a very low level of mentality, even amongst the underdeveloped minds of the kids for whom it was made. Tragically, so do many other movies these days, regardless of how successful or unsuccessful they are—a current, seven-plus-year-long fad that honestly disturbs me and gets me wondering about the sensibility of the average person these days. Worse yet is how a movie as plagued with such lowbrow buffoonery as this one would have a "special edition" on DVD five years after its initial release—especially considering how allegedly few people have actually seen it. Oh, well...I still wish I could've seen Pete Townsend's Iron Man musical. At least THAT would have been something worth witnessing.


1-Star Movie Reviews Archive

|A Christmas Story|Dr. Stranglove |Close Encounters | The Princess Bride | Time Bandits | The Goonies | 2001: A Space Odyssey | Alien | Blade Runner


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