The most exposure The Iron Giant receives (and has ever received) is an annual marathon on the Cartoon Network. That's more publicity than anything offered by Warner Bros. before, during, and after the theatrical run. If one person a year finds this film during that marathon, then justice has been served.
This is the second time Iron Giant has made it to DVD. It's just as enjoyable as the first time. Everything, from the masterful use of color to the brilliantly conceived and somewhat campy 50s setting, is flawless. This is one of the greatest animated films of all time, and with repeated viewings, it's easier to notice things buried inside.
No matter how much time passes, this never stops being a perfect film. It just gets better, and yet slightly more frustrating. It's impossible to imagine just why this movie didn't garner more attention. It's perfect for families in an era where rather useless "watchdog" groups complain about the violence children are exposed to, yet no one seems to care.
It's not hard to figure out what this films fans see here either. It's a wonderful story containing just about everything you can pack into an 80-minute feature. There's comedy, parody, drama, heart wrenching moments, great performances (Vin Diesel as the Giant), and a predictable yet acceptable ending to put a perfect cap to it all. If you even consider yourself a minor movie fan, this is necessary viewing. You'll never regret it. (***** out of *****)
There's little difference between this transfer and the original disc. Colors are brighter, keeping the proper tones intact. The biggest complaint is still compression, at times too much. Aliasing seems to be a slightly larger problem this time for whatever reason. In addition, the only version available this time out is the 2.35:1 widescreen version, the way it should be. It's not an improvement over the transfer in the original (though the marketing department wants you to think otherwise), just equal. (****)
Nothing has been done to the sound. This is same mix. Bass is still powerful as the Giant walks and minor positional audio is noticeable. There's little use of the rear speakers, and the finale should be something to show off a home theater with. That's not the case, and it's disappointing enough to be a problem. (***)
Fans have waited far too long for this disc, and depressingly, the features hardly make the wait worthwhile. Though cheap, the 20-minute making of from the first release has been cut from this disc. In it's place is a small section of it now called Voice of the Giant.
The commentary with Brad Bird and some of his support team is upbeat, and no one complains about the marketing of the film. It's professional of them, but you can't say the studio didn't deserve a bashing. There's a branching feature that runs alongside the film, and unfortunately, there's no other way to access these features. They cover the basic aspects of creating a film like this.
The Duck & Cover sequence is analyzed by creator Teddy Newton with the complete song and animatic. Another feature focuses on Newton, this time another storyboard with a wild interpretation of the meeting between Annie and Kent.
The Motion Gallery is a series of storyboards and film footage shown over music. It's nothing special. Eight deleted scenes are included in various forms of completion, but none of them have color. They are, for the most part, storyboards. Yes, there is a pattern here. Finally, two trailers finish the disc. It's not great, and the lack of the previous features means you have to hang on to the first disc. It's a shame, yet better than nothing. (***)
Brad Bird would of course go on to helm The Incredibles and finally get the recognition he deserves, though he was known for the Simpsons before this. This film still languishes though. It seems as if nothing will bring people around.