The Iron Giant is a 1999 animated science fiction film produced by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. Brad Bird directed the film, which stars a voice cast of Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald and John Mahoney. The film tells the story of a lonely boy named Hogarth raised by his widowed mother, discovering a giant iron man which fell from space. Hogarth, with the help of a beatnik named Dean, has to stop the U.S. military and a federal agent from finding and destroying the Giant. The Iron Giant takes place during the height of the Cold War (1957).
Development phase for the film started around 1994, though the project finally started taking root once Bird signed on as director, and Bird's hiring of Tim McCanlies to write the screenplay in 1996. The script was given approval by Ted Hughes, author of the original novel, and production struggled through difficulties (Bird even enlisted the aid of a group of students from CalArts). The Iron Giant was released with high critical praise (scoring a 97 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes), when released by Warner Bros. in the summer of 1999. It was nominated for awards that most notably included the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
At the height of the Cold War in October 1957, a giant metal humanoid robot (the Iron Giant) crash-lands just off the coast of the fictional town of Rockwell, Maine. Nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes (voiced by Eli Marienthal), follows a trail of destruction in the forest and discovers the giant robot (voiced by Vin Diesel) at a local electrical substation. There he saves it from being electrocuted profusely, only to have his single mother (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) worryingly arrive, and the Giant vanish from sight. Meanwhile, Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald), a pompous and selfish U.S. Government agent with ulterior motives to boost his career, arrives in town to investigate the mysterious stories amongst the citizens regarding "a giant metal man". Hogarth is able to hide the Giant in his barn, showing it comic books depicting Superman, an alien visitor who becomes a hero. Mansley, suspicious of Hogarth's involvement with the strange stories, rents a room at the Hughes' house.
Hogarth is able to convince a beatnik metal artist named Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick, Jr.) to have the Giant stay at his scrap yard. Mansley then finds Hogarth's camera (which he dropped in the woods) and finds a picture of the Giant, and convinces a brigade led by General Rogard to come to Rockwell. Dean and Hogarth disguise the Giant as a massive iron statue to throw them off. Rogard then berates Mansley for wasting his time and government money. As the army leaves, the Giant mistakes the toy gun held by Hogarth for real and retaliates. Dean rescues Hogarth and chases off the Giant, only realizing afterwards that the Giant has only acted in self-defence. He then assists Hogarth in giving chase to the Giant.
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