Preview Film: The Iron Giant

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The Independent Culture
One for discerning children this Christmas - culled from the book by Ted Hughes and anchored by the sort of subtle, storybook animation you thought Disney had killed off long ago. On the face of it, the plot offers a fairytale of misunderstood-monsterism (see King Kong, Frankenstein). The giant of the title (left) crash-lands in Cold War USA, and finds himself hounded by federal agents. But there is a depth to the finished film that pushes it closer to the original spirit of Hughes' story. For all its comedy trimmings, Warner Bros's second stab at a cartoon feature (after Space Jam) is a movie out of time. Fifties details abound, from the drawly local beatnik (voiced by Harry Connick Jr), through the retro designs, to a crisp pastiche of a government nuclear-warning broadcast. The script seems fired by a sense of idealism. Its homespun family values come wedded to a pointed pacifist message and its line of storytelling is measured and gentle. In this season of tinselly tat, The Iron Giant is an odd and unexpected guest to be welcomed with open arms.

`The Iron Giant' (U) is on general release