Tag Archives: The Iron Giant

Twofer ‘Toon Tuesday For Your Queue

You can put that obscenely expensive, insanely large HD TV to good use this week, as How to Train Your Dragon 2 releases for home entertainment. As visually arresting as its predecessor, Dragon reunites viewers with Hiccup and his beloved flying dragon Toothless as they take on dragon-napping pirates led by Drago Bloodfish. That is how you name a villain! Breathtaking visuals and a story rooted in family and frienship make this sequel well worth looking into.

An obvious double bill is the gorgeous, moving and thorougly entertaining original How to Train Your Dragon, but we hate to be so obvious. Instead we’re recommending another film about a boy, his unusual best friend and their adventures: The Iron Giant (1999). Director Brad Bird’s first feature roots itself in 1950s Cold War hysteria but tells a story brimming with immediacy. It’s also one of the more deeply touching animated adventures you will ever find.

Outtakes: Hippies, Chickens, Sobbing Women and Iron Giants


I somehow missed The Iron Giant when it was originally released. I’m not sure how. My son Riley, pictured here as a hippie, was a 6-year-old in ’99 – clearly the film’s target audience.



In a nutshell, director Brad Bird (who’d go on to win two Oscars with Pixar) puts Vin Diesel’s voice inside a weapons-grade robot from space.


At the height of the Cold War, lonely Hogarth befriends the monster, teams with a beatnik (Harry Connick, Jr.), and tries to hide the innocent metal heap from the US government that seeks to destroy it.


And yet, I neglected to get the boy to this film, and never saw it myself until years later when I was babysitting for my niece Ruby (pictured here as a chicken).

Chicken Ruby


She owned the book and had seen the film once already, but Iron Giant was her Netflix streaming choice one rainy afternoon. From her comfy spot on my lap, her head just beneath my chin, she kept me abreast of the plot: he’s really a bad guy; he makes crazy stuff with metal scraps; he’s a really very bad guy.

And then, the next thing you know, I am bawling. Just gulping and sobbing, tears rolling off my cheek and slapping the top of Ruby’s little head.

My God that movie broke my heart.

This is the Superman movie you want to see.

If you get the chance, check out this surprisingly powerful animated gem. It screens this week as part of the Gateway Film Center’s From Book to Film series. Catch it Saturday, 7/13 at 1:30 PM; Monday, 7/15 at 7 PM; or Wednesday, 7/17 at 1:30 PM. Go to http://www.gatewayfilmcenter.com/  for tickets and details.

Bring a hanky.