'The Iron Giant' is one of THE most underrated movies!

Iron Giant movie poster - vintage movie postersStory 

A giant robot from outer space crash lands near Maine and is discovered by a young boy named Hogarth and the two form an unbreakable bond.

I love the story because it is more than it seems, and I only realised that when I was older. The relationship between Hogarth and the Iron Giant is important but I also realised that the movie is a Cold War metaphor. The US government is afraid of this super powered being and want to destroy it with a nuclear weapon (sound kinda familiar?). Quick note after doing some research, I found out that the movies does take place during the Cold War and the events of the movie takes place after the USSR launched the Sputnik 1 into space.

 Voice Acting 

This movie only really focuses on 2 characters, 4 if you want to stretch it, but there is no denying that Hogarth and the Iron Giant are the main characters.

Eli Marienthal play Hogarth and his performance is really good. Hogarth is such a pleasant character that you can't help but like him. Even though everyone around him thinks he's a kid with an overactive imagination you can just tell that there is something special about him. And he likes comic books which is always a plus in my book!

Vin Diesel plays the titular Iron Giant and has the best performance in the whole movie. Anyone who has seen Guardians of the Galaxy knows that Vin Diesel has a deep, resonant voice
that can  carry a lot of emotion with little words (I think this movie is part reason he got the role of Groot) The Iron Giant is extremely likeable and you warm to him the same way you would a small child.

All the secondary characters do a great job in creating a well rounded narrative even though you aren't as invested in them as you are the main characters. Hogarth's mum is voiced by Jennifer Aniston. Kent Mansley the film's antagonist is voiced by Christopher McDonald and his character is one of those that looks harmless but could be really sinister.


The movie was directed by one of the favourite directors Brad Bird (this was actually his first feature films) and the direction in this movie is good. It has solid pacing and a very rigid story structure. It only focuses on the main story and because of that, the secondary characters are very one-dimensional.

While writing this review I also found out that the movie was based on a Ted Hughes novel and even though this is an adaptation there are enough changes made that differentiate it from the source material and make it stand out on its own.


This is one of the weaker aspects of the film however I'm not deducting points because it  has a significantly lower budget than other animated movies at that time. For comparison, Tarzan was released in the same year but had almost double the budget at $130 million, while this movie had a budget of $70-80 million and it shows. And in the movie's defense the animators also had less time to create the finished product

The animation is very reminiscent of animation in the early late 80s- early 90s even though this was released in 1999. The blend between the CGI and traditional animation is completely seamless and while it is something that I noticed right away, it didn't detract from the overall film that much. Once you get into the movie you don't notice the difference that much.


The score isn't much and is my least favourite aspect of the whole movie. That isn't to say Michael Kaman did a bad job, it just isn't very memorable. As I write this review I truly have nothing to say about the score because it didn't grab my attention in any way.

Overall Thoughts

I remember seeing this movie when I was a lot younger, I think my family rented it (when you still did that) but I fell in love with it when I saw it. For years I would talk about how underrated this movie is and I still think that. The love I had for this movie 10 years ago is still there (albeit not as strong). I still think this is a brilliant movie with a great message, it's one that you've heard a million times but never fails to have an impact, especially the way it was delivered in this film.

The Iron Giant is one of those movies you watch every few years because you forget about it but fall in love with when you do eventually watch it and I highly recommend it because this cult classic is worth it.