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IRON GIANT, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
October, 1957 and Russia has just launched Sputnik. Off the coast of Rockwell, Maine, single mother Annie Hughes (voice of Jennifer Aniston) works at the local diner, while keeping a watchful eye on her nine-year-old son, Hogart (voice of Eli Marienthal), who is always on the lookout for alien invaders. Tall tales about a giant metal man begin to spread, prompting the arrival of government agent Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald). After befriending the Iron Giant (voiced by Vin Diesel), Hogarth teams up with beatnik artist Dean (voiced by Harry Connick jnr) who hides the visitor in his junkyard. Dangerous fears and prejudices are rife in Rockwell…

"This wonderful cartoon-strip tale about a robot from outer space who is befriended by an impressionable boy, is terrific entertainment for all ages. Brought to life by an excellent cast, it's easy to relate to the characters in this Warner Bros animation, and join them on this adventure, with plenty of heart.

In the 'making of' feature, director/writer Brad Bird (The Simpsons) explains that in order to convert this classic 30 year old novel to the screen, he first had to convince movie executives. His pitch? 'A gun with a soul'. The 'gun' of course, is the gigantic tin robot set pre World War 2 innocence and post WW2 paranoia in 1957. Vin Diesel, whose deep, resonant voice plays the Iron Giant, hosts the feature, which gives an insight into the extraordinary film making process. It's perfect casting, smiles Diesel - after all, his character is the misunderstood one. It's an interesting feature - obviously made for television and split into three parts - but would be more enjoyable had it not been so very cheesy.

But beyond that, there's much of interest. Jennifer Aniston describes how moved she was by the relationship, and Harry Connick Jnr is enthusiastic about taking his kids to see the movie. Of course it's interesting to meet the cast and watch them create the voices in the studio, but for me, the most fascinating part is learning how the animation and computer generated characters are combined. We watch the artists painting backgrounds and see Brad Bird sketching the characters and flipping the pages quickly to make them initially come to life. The challenge, says Bird, is putting the CG character into the animation. It's a slow process - only three seconds per week is achievable. Bird also talks about the impact of sound in the project and we watch the orchestra at work under the baton of composer Michael Kamen. The music, like the animation is very different to that of Disney. Here the action is more street level, fast and with a harder edge. (Imagine a Grimm fairy tale which gives the feeling of walking into a dark forest.)

The Iron Giant is delightful storytelling and its message that you have to get past appearances - is an inspiring one. Recommended."
Louise Keller

Publication date: September 28, 2000

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IRON GIANT (PG)
(US)

See our REVIEWS

VOICES: Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jnr, Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal

DIRECTOR: Brad Bird

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 4, 2000

SPECIAL FEATURES:
'Making of' documentary
Cha-Hua-Hua Music Video
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer
Languages: English, French, German, Dutch
Subtitles: English, French, German, Dutch
German for the hearing impaired
Widescreen

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We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.

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