The Iron Giant – Special Edition


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Rating: PG

Jennifer Aniston as Annie Hughes (voice)
Harry Connick Jr. as Dean McCoppin (voice)
Vin Diesel as The Iron Giant (voice)
James Gammon as Marv Loach/Floyd Turbeaux/General Sudokoff (voice)
Cloris Leachman as Mrs. Lynley Tensedge (voice)
Christopher McDonald as Kent Mansley (voice)
John Mahoney as General Rogard (voice)
Eli Marienthal as Hogarth Hughes (voice)
M. Emmet Walsh as Earl Stutz (voice)

Special Features:
Commentary by director Brad Bird, animator Tony Fucile, Story Department Head Jeff Lynch, supervising animator Steven Markowski

All-new digital transfer

Eight additional scenes including an alternate opening

13 branching featurettes on the making of the film

Director Brad Bird and Creative Consultant Teddy Newton analyze two sequences

“The Voice of the Giant”

Still galleries




Other Info:
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 86 Minutes

This film was originally released in 1999. It is based on the book by Ted Hughes. The following is the official description of the DVD:

“An enormous robot has come from deepest space, crash-landed on Earth and followed eleven-year-old Hogarth Hughes home.

Now, young Hogarth has one big friend and an even bigger problem: How do you keep a secret that’s 50 feet tall? Especially when a paranoid government agent is on the “alien invaders” trail, bringing with him the full might of the U.S. military to destroy the giant. It all adds up to a rousing adventure that’s part metal, part magic . . . and all heart.

Featuring the voice talents of Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel, John Mahoney and others.”

This DVD is rated PG for fantasy action and mild language.

The Movie:
There are two kinds of people in the world – those who have seen The Iron Giant and those who have not. If you’ve seen it, then you already know it is an incredible movie and one well worth adding to your collection. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll try to tell you why it’s worth checking out.

First and foremost, it’s a great story. It has comedy, action, adventure, drama, science fiction, and more. There’s something here for everyone. The story is similar in a lot of ways to E.T., so if you liked that movie then you’ll most likely enjoy The Iron Giant. The creators have a twisted sense of humor which is also fun. One of my favorite scenes in the film takes place when Hogarth’s squirrel runs up Dean’s pants in a diner. He stands, calmly says, “I’d like to apologize in advance for this”, then unzips his pants in front of the patrons as the squirrel jumps out. That’s comedy. Iron Giant features some incredible action as well. The battle scene at the end features mayhem and destruction as good as you’ll see in any live action sci-fi movie. This isn’t just kids stuff. The film also has a message about choosing your own destiny which isn’t too preachy and is a worthy theme for everyone.

The voice cast is also filled with a few big names. Hogarth’s mom is played by Jennifer Aniston. The beatnik Dean is played by Harry Connick Jr. The Iron Giant himself is played by Vin Diesel. Frazier’s John Mahoney plays General Rogard while character actor Christopher McDonald is excellent as the villainous Kent Mansley. If you’re a fan of any of these actors then you’ll want to check them out in this film.

The animation is also stunning. It’s a great mix of CGI and 2-D animation. The Iron Giant looks fantastic and his design and movement are extraordinary. When The Iron Giant eventually shoots his imaginative weapons, the plasma effects are quite beautiful. All of it comes together to make some of the best animation out there. The music by Michael Kamen also perfectly adds to the emotion of the story.

The Iron Giant didn’t get much of a push by Warner Brothers when it hit theaters and it was gone before many people got a chance to see it. Brad Bird went on to do The Incredibles and is finally getting the mainstream recognition that he deserves. However, you’ll definitely want to go back and see his early work in this excellent movie.

The Extras:
First off, if you already own the earlier version of The Iron Giant on DVD, this Special Edition won’t necessarily replace it. That version has a 22 minute documentary and a music video that this version doesn’t have. Do these bonus features make this Special Edition worth picking up if you already own it? That’s hard to say. It depends on how big of an Iron Giant fan you are. This version also has a ton of Easter Eggs which are easy to spot. Here are the highlights of what you will find:

Commentary by director Brad Bird, animator Tony Fucile, Story Department Head Jeff Lynch, supervising animator Steven Markowski – This is a pretty informative commentary though it does seem to lean heavily on the technical side of things. Bird and the other crew talk a lot about the development of the film, the technical challenges, and what they wished they could have done but were unable to do. Animation fans will probably get more out of this commentary than general audiences.

Eight additional scenes including an alternate opening – These deleted scenes are actually quite interesting. One features an alternate opening of the film involving the Iron Giant encountering a ship in the eye of the hurricane. Another scene shows the Iron Giant dreaming of the alien world where he came from (and the dream appears on Dean’s television). One of the deleted moments shows Hogarth and the Iron Giant outrunning some drag racers while another shows Hogarth and his mother getting their truck out of the mud on the side of a road. Then there’s a scene of Dean, Hogarth, and the Iron Giant sitting around a campfire and another with more of Kent dealing with his Ex-Lax moment. If you’re a fan of the movie you’ll want to see these deleted scenes.

13 branching featurettes on the making of the film – You have the option of watching the film with this feature turned on. When nuts and bolts appear on the screen, you hit the ‘select’ button and it kicks off the documentaries. They cover a variety of topics. Unfortunately you can’t watch them separately from the movie.

Director Brad Bird and Creative Consultant Teddy Newton analyze two sequences – Two scenes are looked at – “Annie Meets Dean” and “Duck and Cover”. In the first one Newton did an entire sequence of Hogarth’s mom going out on a date with Dean. In the rough sequence Dean is shown to be a jerk, Annie is shown checking herself out in her underwear in a mirror, and it’s hard to believe the two could fall for each other. It barely resembles the final film. Then Newton shows his original “Duck and Cover” film shown at the school. It has a catchy jingle about what to do when the bombs drop and to not let people in when they bang on the door during the fallout. Cheery, eh?

“The Voice of the Giant” – This is a very brief featurette showing Vin Diesel talking about voicing the character. Brad Bird talks about why he was chosen and Diesel is shown grunting his one word lines from the film.

Still galleries – The still galleries are actually shown in a video with the final footage from the film. Comparisons between concept drawings and final shots are made along with the music from the movie. You see character designs, backgrounds, and more.

The Bottom Line:
The Iron Giant is a required addition to the collection of any sci-fi or animation fan. It’s also worth checking out whether you’re a kid or an adult. It has something to offer everyone.