The Iron Giant
**** GM
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Eli Marienthal


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I was anxious to see this movie because I'm a sucker for A) cartoons and B) big ol' robots, hence my love for "The Transformers: The Movie." I wasn't expecting a whole lot more than another trying-real-hard-to-be-Disney movie. To my surprise, I got an excellent film with breathtaking animation.

I hate to use words like 'fresh' and 'breathtaking' and all the typical words movie critics fall back on, but sometimes they work. I haven't seen any of these Disney movies for a while, but one huge thing working in the favor of The Iron Giant is that, at no point in the entire film, does Peabo Bryson suddenly burst into song.

Another thing that's really interesting about the film is that they don't explain where the heck the Giant came from. All we know is he's from outer space, and he's got some really nasty artillery when you piss him off... and it managed to make the concept of warfare seem horribly wrong and frighteningly barbaric... something that doesn't always come across these days when Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Rene Russo beat the crap out of ninjas in their home with regularity.

Perhaps the fact that I had lowered expectations contributed to how awed I was by some of the animation. but the visuals at times actually made me mutter superlatives to myself, which is not something I do at movies. Also, the script had some really funny moments, it wasn't hokey in the Disney way, and there was no stupid and obvious love story cluttering things up. The voice of John Mahoney was a nice surprise, and Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Aniston all do a really good job. Eli Marienthal as Hogarth is a standout, especially with the espresso scene.

Aside from wondering just how the Giant was able to understand Hogarth so quickly, I had no problems with this film. It was well-written, amazingly animated and DIFFERENT enough to warrant more attention than its getting... but then again, it's also a lot of fun to root for the underdog.

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