Iron Man has Friends
Hogarth Hughes is like pretty much any child who would love a pet especially as his mother Annie often has to leave him to his own devices whilst working at the diner, but after bringing various wild animals home she refuses to let him. Then one night whilst Annie is working and Hogarth is home alone he hears a noise from outside and when he climbs on to the roof to investigate he spots a trail of destruction which he follows in to the woods and up to the local power plant. It is there that Hogarth meets the Iron Giant; a mega robot from space which eats metal and is on the verge of being electrocuted but thanks to Hogarth is saved. Soon Hogarth and the Iron Giant become best friends but that brings Government agent Kent Mansley to the area as he is an investigator of strange goings on and is suspicious of Hogarth and the reports of destruction in the area.
Often when I go to watch a movie I know very little about I take a quick look at a handful of reviews and when I did that for "The Iron Giant" each review mentioned "ET". And yes "The Iron Giant" certainly shares some story elements with Spielberg's "ET" as we have this friendship between a boy and an alien visitor whilst we also have an agent snooping around although it is worth mentioning now for those who don't know "The Iron Giant" is adapted from Ted Hughes' 1960s story "The Iron Man".
Now there are many similarities between the two movies as we have a story which deals with things such as friendship, patience and understanding. But the twist is that here it is Hogarth who is the teacher rather than The Iron Giant and whilst not an amazing variation allows it to feel not like someone has tried to imitate "ET".
But more importantly for me what we have with "The Iron Giant" is an animation which is set in the 1950s and manages to capture that 1950s fascination with space. From the opening scene of Sputnik orbiting the planet to Hogarth's curiosity when he hears a noise and grabs his BB gun it is spot on. These elements along with some nice animation work which has that classic hand drawn look along with good voice work makes "The Iron Giant" one of those animations which is as entertaining for grown ups as it is for children thanks to its mix of humour and heart.
What this all boils down to is that "The Iron Giant" is one of those rare animations which has real depth which makes it fun for children but charming for adults. Plus whilst it shares some similarities to "ET" it also allows the audience to use their imagination which for me makes it so much more than just another animation.