Image via Carlos Villagrana
What kid hasn’t ever wished for a gigantic alien robot as a friend?
The Iron Giant is now 15 years old (August 6, 1999). Of course the 1968 novel that the film was based on, The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, is even older, but to think that a movie so closely linked to so many childhoods is more than a decade old definitely invokes a sense of nostalgia.
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It’s 1957, and nine year old Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) is living with his widowed mother, Annie (Jennifer Aniston), in Rockwell, Maine. Annie works hard at a diner to put food on the table for herself and Hogarth, but she’s got her hands full with her son’s wild imagination. Hogarth is fascinated by anything extraterrestrial, so when he hears a fisherman at the diner talking about a metal man falling into the ocean, he’s determined to check it out for himself.
Hogarth makes his way through the wrecked woods where the Iron Giant (Vin Diesel) had made a trail. He discovers the metal man electrocuted in power lines near a substation. The Iron Giant has no memory, eats railroad tracks for energy, and his body is then able to slowly repair itself.
Naturally, he isn’t able to bring the Iron Giant home, so Hogarth hides him in the barn, and sneaks back to read comic books. The Giant takes a liking to Superman, but becomes distraught when he hears of an evil robot. Hogarth explains that everybody has a choice to be good or bad.
Meanwhile, the Iron Giant is wanted by the U.S. government. Agent Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) has been sent to investigate the sighting and locate the Giant, who the U.S. Military wants destroyed. Hogarth enlists the help of Dean McCopping (Harry Connick, Jr.), an artist and junkyard owner, to help protect the Iron Giant.
The Iron Giant is a timeless film about heroism and friendship, and it has inspired some pretty great fan art, too.
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