The Iron Giant
1999, Warner Brothers
Somehow this little diamond escaped my notice for over a decade; when at last I caught up with it, I felt regret that it took so long for me to see it, because it's well and truly a classic. But the saddest part is that, despite being a major critical success, it was a major box office disappointment. Evidently this was due to a totally botched marketing effort on the part of the studio.
Financial failure aside, the film succeeds brilliantly on multiple levels. The story is solid and emotionally satisfying, with some sensitive touches. Reinforcing the temporal setting of the film—the flying saucer paranoid 50s—is the visual style, which is reminiscent of traditional 2D cell animation, as well as a pop tune-driven score. It totally works; audiences are allowed to become involved with the characters, rather than be dazzled by high-end CGI (even though the film was computer animated). It's a shame this labor of love didn't get the recognition it deserved, although it does now have a substantial cult following.
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