Iron Giant DVD Review

Animated films that don't have the Disney logo attached rarely dominate the box office. Case in point: Warners superb Iron Giant. Though it's failure at the box office could be attributed to their horrible marketing of the film (read: none at all), I'm sure if Disney had got a hold of it, this would have fared much better than it did. Hogarth Hughes is a lonely 50's child who's mother is always working late. While home alone one night, watching "The Brain from Planet Auros" (in animated form of course), his TV signal goes out. Turns out a giant, metal eating robot from, well, no one quite knows where from, is the culprit. Hogarth (still can't get over that name) befriends the giant and makes an attempt to hide him in a junkyard. The government is determined to to find this supposed "destructive monster" and bring it down. This is a stunning movie, not only a throwback to a great movie era, but surperbly directed by Brian Bird of Simpsons fame. There are so many in-jokes to the era (the duck and cover video is priceless) with a great story and performances, it's a crying shame this one never caught on. The animation, a mix of CG and hand drawn style, is just awesome. There are some unexplained elements of the film such as what happned to Hogarths father and the who/what/where's of the title creature (who happens to be voiced by Vin Diesel in his only decent performance), but these are minor flaws in an nearly perfect film. (**** out *****) The Iron Giant is a double sided disc with one side in widescreen and the other pan & scam. The widescreen version, presented in 2.35:1, is the only way to go here. The expansiveness and the framing just isn't done justice with the cropping on the pan & scam version. The video quality is just stunning. The colors are almost always solid and are perfect for the format. Compression problems are noticeable if you look, but are very subdued compared to other animated features. Nightime sequences are a bit more obvious as far as compression is concerned, but this is still close to refrence quality video. (****) Audio options are easy: English 5.1 surround. That's it. Though never really using all the speaker available, the thunderous steps of the Giant are wall shaking with their bass. There are some excellent stereo effects during dialouge sequences, giving the film some nice positional sound. The few sequences where the full surround sound effect should be evident isn't used fully to perfection, but it gets the job done. (***) Much like the marketing of the film, the disc is releatively barren. Commentary track? No. In-depth documentary? No. All we get is a made-for-TV documentary that runs a little over 20 minutes. Vin Diesel hosts this ugly piece of promotion that was probably viewed by 10 people whenever it aired on TV. The only other real extra is a music video by Eddie Platt. The usual gauntlet of trailers, filmographies, and animated menus fill out the rest. (**) Warner has announced a special edition of this film packed with extras. It has been announced, then delayed, announced again, then delayed, and then annoucned again. They are most likely now holding out for the release of Brad Birds upcoming "Incredibles," due out later this year. Whether or not you choose to get this disc now is entirely based on your patience, just know a new edition is most likely not far behind. Unless of course they delay it again....

Comments (1)

This is one of my all time favoriate movies! I bought the DVD almost 2 years ago. I have watched it about 20 times so far. Really well done.

I fully agree with you Matt. Definatly a 4 out of 5 star in my book too!

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