The Iron Giant (Blu-ray) (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation-Animation plus Michael Kamen theme
Featurette-The Giant's Dream (55:47) New Bird bio plus making of
Audio Commentary-Feature length both versions
Deleted Scenes-6 scenes plus intros (15:13)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Teddy Newton (5:38)
Featurette-Duck and Cover (2:23)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Voices (13:52)
Featurette-Making Of-The Score (4:49)
Featurette-Making Of-Behind the Armor (17:29)
Featurette-Making Of-Motion Gallery (4:22)
Theatrical Trailer-Two trailers (4:01)
Easter Egg-Letter plus sketches (1:48)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Salt Mines (7:06)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Hand Drawn (1:40)
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Brad Bird|
Warner Bros Feature
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Harry Connick Jr
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Iron Giant has finally been released on Blu-ray in a Signature Edition which adds roughly three minutes to the running time of this much loved "family" classic.
Originally released in 1999 this animated science fiction comedy-drama came from first time director Brad Bird (Ratatouille). Despite widespread acclaim from audiences and critics alike, on its first release the movie was a severe financial failure, at least in the US. Blame was generally levelled at Warner Bros for poor marketing of a product in which the powers-to-be had no faith. Over the years TV showings and the title's appearance on home video have built an enthusiastic fan base for what is now considered to be a classic of movie animation. This Blu-ray release was delayed to allow for the completion of an almost one hour new documentary on the making of the film, and its restoration. This release has been under the personal supervision of Brad Bird.
The origin of Bird's movie lies in the 1968 children's novel The Iron Man, written by poet Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998. Hughes' work became the basis of a Pete Townsend rock opera which eventually made its way from concept album to the stage. The stage work was ultimately bought by Warner Bros who thought it would be an ideal project for Brad Bird, whose previous experience had included Disney projects and The Simpsons. The fledgling director was given an unusual amount of creative control, and Bird, greatly impressed by Hughes' novel, originally wanted to write the screenplay himself. However, he was happy to hand the task to Tim McCanlies after reading this writers, at the time, unproduced screenplay for Secondhand Lions.
The great strength of The Iron Giant comes from its themes and its dependence on character. Despite the elements of fantasy and science fiction, this is a character driven plot. The movie opens, telling us we are in 1957. An object from space crashes into The Earth. Sailors, tossed in a storm, sight a huge out-of-this-world "thing". Later the same sailors tell their tale in a diner, overheard by a young boy. This is Hogarth Hughes, voiced by the now retired-from-acting Eli Marienthal (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen). Hogarth is a nine-year-old boy being raised by his mother, Annie Hughes (Jennifer Aniston), living in Rockwell, a small (fictitious) town in Maine, USA, where Annie works at this local diner. Being October 1957, shortly after the launch of Sputnik, Hogarth is obsessed by comic books and movies depicting "invaders from mars", or any other creature visiting Earth from "outer space". Annie has to work late at the diner this night, and she sends Hogarth home, cautioning him to avoid eating food that might keep him awake and, more importantly, not to watch any scary movies on TV. At home, devouring the forbidden fare, food and TV, Hogarth's TV reception is interrupted. An annoyed Hogarth grabs a flashlight and goes outside to examine the antenna. Exploring further, Hogarth finds and befriends a large metal-eating robot. To entertain his new friend, Hogarth reads comics to him. The giant robot is impressed by Superman, but disturbed by the negative depiction of "Atomo the Metal Menace". Hogarth calms him, reassuringly telling him that "you are who you choose to be ". A new arrival in town is U.S. government agent Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald), there to investigate the recent unexplained events and sightings since the night of the storm. Kent rents a room in the Hughes household, in order to keep an eye on Hogarth. To conceal his iron friend, Hogarth moves him to a local junkyard owned by beatnik artist Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr), who is attracted to Annie. When he becomes alarmed by the possibility of an attack by aliens, Kent calls in the military, headed by General Rogard (John Mahoney of TV's Frasier).
Given this set of characters - just six of them - the outcome is undeniably predictable. However it is the development of character and the shift of emotions that raises The Iron Giant to considerable heights. Hogarth is a sensitive loner, and from the outset we are drawn into his world by the detail in his efforts to fix his TV antenna problems, problems that lead him to discover the iron robot. Then we have the robot's conflict over his own identity. What will be dominant, the Superman qualities he possesses or those of Atomo the Metal Menace? Compounding this, we have the reassurance from Hogarth that, within one's self lies the ability to choose who or what we are to be. We have the sensitive introduction of death to the scenario, after the unlikely duo witness the death of a deer at the hands of hunters. Even the depiction of a mature attraction between Dean and Annie is surely unusual for an animated feature, enhanced particularly by the voicework of Harry Connick Jr (New in Town). This admirable actor is able to give the two dimensional, animated Dean loads of warmth, charm, humour and masculinity - guess that's part of the reason that HCJ is such a darned good singer. There is also good work from the remainder of the voice cast, particularly from Jennifer Aniston (Marley & Me) and Vin Diesel (Riddick).
Regarding those three additional minutes, there are three changes to the original release. At approximately half an hour in there is a minor change, an alteration to a commercial which appears on Hogarth's black-and-white TV screen. What was once a "Maypo Cereal" ad has been replaced by a promotion for Disney's Tomorrowland. Licensing problems caused this substitution when the film was originally released, but now that Bird is sheltered by the Disney umbrella the originally planned ad is securely back in place. The two more significant changes are actually two complete scenes. At approximately fifteen minutes into the film there is a scene in the diner between Dean and Annie which fleshes out the relationship between these two key adults in Hogarth's life. However, the most significant new footage is seen approximately fifty-five minutes into the film, just after the poignant moonlit scene between Hogarth and his Iron Giant. After witnessing the violent death of a deer, the boy and the robot have just attempted to verbalise some of the key themes of this meaningful work, the themes of life, killing, death and the existence of a being's soul. Then the boy leaves the robot and heads for home on his bicycle, while his metal friend gazes at the stars musing over Hogarth's parting words : "Souls don't die". The camera pans to the stars. Cut to Dean, dozing in front of his TV, the stars now becoming part of the logo for Tonight Starring Jack Paar. Through Dean's window the iron robot is visible, sleeping in the dark junkyard. Dreaming in his sleep, The Iron Giant experiences flashes of memories and feelings which in turn flash onto Dean's TV screen. Dean stirs, unsure whether he has been dreaming or not. He looks out of the window at the sleeping metal robot and then back to the TV, unsure of what has happened. He turns his head back to the robot, his face questioning. Cut to Hogarth cycling up to his home. This is a dramatic and beautifully executed sequence which relates directly to the sensitive core of this film.
There are multiple themes in this film, but they are all connected so that the viewing experience becomes incredibly rich and meaningful. The final metaphor of The Iron Giant is stunningly realized. Sometimes in life we are shot down and broken into pieces. What one must do is pick up the pieces, pull one's self together and move on. These final images and their message linger long after the movie has ended.
This movie has action, laughs and heart. It looks great, sounds great and this new extended version makes it an even more meaningful and moving experience.
Most highly recommended.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu screen features animation plus the beautiful Michael Kamen theme. Options are :
* Scene Selection : Signature Edition option : thirty-four chapters
Original Edition option : thirty-four chapters
Selecting brings up an overlay of thumbnailed chapters, six sets each of five scenes, plus additional four scenes.
* Audio : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 encoded at 48K
French : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 48K
German : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 48 K
Spanish - Castellano : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 48K
Spanish - Latino : Dolby Digital 5.1 endoded at 48K
Portuguese : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 48K
Thai : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 48K
* Subtitles : English for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
German for the Hard of Hearing
Spanish - Castellano
Spanish - Latino
Special Features :
The very good news is that this is an exceptional collection of special features - one of the very best.
Unless otherwise indicated all special features are standard definition.
The Giant's Dream : (55:47)
This is newly made for this release, and is both a biography of Brad Bird as well as a detailed "making of" for the movie itself. We are taken from Bird's childhood obsession with animation, through his apprenticeship at Disney, working on the Simpsons, then with Warner Bros where he first was introduced to this project. We have glimpses of his private life, the influence of his sister's death, his clashes with his producer on The Iron Giant. It all comes across as being very honest - and I suspect that the title of this documentary may refer to the director as well as to his "leading man". This is 1080p material, and presented at varying ratios. The segments that relate to older 1.33:1 material are also presented at that ratio, while we go to 1.78:1 if the available material is widescreen. Connecting animated sequences, single line black and white animated sketches, are all 1.78:1.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The local Zone B release appears to be identical to the US release.
|DVD||OPPO BDP-103AU, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 60UF850T 4K. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|