The Iron Giant (1999)

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Released 4-Sep-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-The Making Of The Iron Giant (22:09)
Theatrical Trailer-2:09
Music Video-Cha Hua Hua-Eddie Platt (2:23)
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Site Mirror
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 83:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Brad Bird
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jennifer Aniston
Harry Connick, Jr.
Vin Diesel
James Gammon
Cloris Leachman
Christopher Macdonald
John Mahoney
Eli Marienthal
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Michael Kamen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Although it wasn't a huge hit in Australia, those who went to see The Iron Giant during its theatrical release were in for a treat. Based on the 1968 book The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, The Iron Giant is a masterpiece of film animation. Having never seen the film, I expected to see a film that would be good but would be very family-oriented. However, The Iron Giant is a lot darker than what the trailers give away, and even though it is mainly a children's film, it does have some older themes that make the film accessible to adults as well as children. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The film's plot revolves around The Iron Giant (Vin Diesel), and the fight to keep him undiscovered by Government Agent Kent Mansley (Christopher Macdonald), followed by a huge climax. The film's storyline is intriguing because you don't know where The Iron Giant is from. No information regarding his background is presented, which lets you make up your own mind as to what you think of him. This adds a very human feeling to the Giant as a character.

    The film is well-voiced by actors Jennifer Aniston as Hogarth's mum, Harry Connick, Jr. as the classic 50s artist Dean and Eli Marienthal as Hogarth Hughes. Special credit goes to Vin Diesel for his voice as the Iron Giant. Vin actually does the voice with no distortion effects or post-production processing added, which was a surprise.

    The film is mainly 2D but the actual giant is completely 3D with 2D rendering to make him fit in with the rest of the characters. At times, 3D work is used in the film, such as during the final scene where the screw is going through the grass. In this case, the grass is completely 3D and reminds me a lot of A Bug's Life.

    All-in-all, The Iron Giant is a fun film for the whole family which I highly recommend.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a stunning transfer just missing out on reference quality due to a couple of very minor problems. Since the film is a mix of traditional cell animation and 3D animation, some parts of the film are completely digital which makes the transfer nearly flawless.

    The Iron Giant is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is razor sharp at all times with well-defined lines and great depth. The clarity and detail of the image is amazing, although this would be helped by the fact that it is animation. The only problem I noticed was that the black level was not quite right during the opening credits, being a tad too high. No low level noise was present.

    Colour was vibrant throughout the feature, especially towards the end when the Giant attacks with all of its multi-coloured weapons.

    There are no MPEG artefacts. I spotted only one case of aliasing at 7:51-7:54 on a broken antenna.

    This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 76:12. This would have to be the best placed layer change I have seen to date. It occurs as soon as the film finishes and the credits start to roll.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An excellent audio track accompanies this movie.

    There are four audio tracks on this disc. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There are also French, German and Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks included. I listened to the English track only.

    The dialogue was clear and understandable at all times.

    Audio synchronization was perfect at all times except that in a couple of scenes, the facial expressions of characters didn't match the dialogue, but this is only to be expected in an animated film.

    The musical score by Michael Kamen was very suited to the film. Not unlike a Disney film, the score changed to suit the movie, from somewhat of a mysterious tone at the start to the triumphant finish.

    The surround channels were used extensively and were very good at creating a full 360 degree soundfield. A good example of this is when the Iron Giant first crashes into the Earth - surround effects envelop you nicely at this point.

    The subwoofer was very active, especially when the giant walked which created a very deep and satisfying effect.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A very small selection of extras accompanies this disc.

Menu

    This menu is one of the better that I have seen. It is themed around the movie and has the main title theme looped in the background. It also features a nice introduction before the menu comes up, not unlike the intro to The Matrix. It is 16x9 enhanced and has Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is of brilliant quality. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, is 16x9 enhanced and has Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Featurette - The Making Of The Iron Giant (22:09)

    This is a made-for-television special hosted by the Iron Giant himself, Vin Diesel. A good inclusion on the disc, it has interviews with all the main stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick, Jr. Some information on how the film was made is also included, such as the way the Iron Giant was composited in to the 2D art. One annoying part of this featurette is the inclusion of the commercial break intro and outro which just waste time.

Music Video - Cha Hua Hua - Eddie Platt

    A music video for one of the songs in the movie, the actual clip is just parts of the movie so it is more of a promotional piece than anything else.

DVD-ROM Extras - Web Site Mirror

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The inclusion of the Pan & Scan version would be good for the kiddies who don't appreciate the fine artwork of the widescreen version, although it is not enough to justify an import of the Region 1 version, and I'm not going to bother with the biographies and production notes as they add nothing but reference material to the disc. The Region 4 version would be the way to go.

Summary

    The Iron Giant is a great movie that is not just for children on a very well-produced DVD.

    The video quality is almost perfect, with just a couple of minor flaws stopping it from attaining reference quality status.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Andrew Siers (I never did my biography in primary school)
Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 34N9UXA. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha CX-600 Pre-Amp, Yamaha MX-600 Stereo Power Amp for Mains, Yamaha DSP-E300 for Center, Teac AS-M50 for Surrounds.
SpeakersMain Left and Right Acoustic Research AR12s, Center Yamaha NS-C70, Surround Left and Right JBL Control 1s

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