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The Iron Giant

Director:Brad Bird
Writer:Tim McCanlies
Warner Bros.; 90 minutes; PG
Voices of:Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal

The Iron Giant is based on British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes' 1968 book for children. Penned by an intellectual and adapted with respect, it is the warm tale of a boy and his 50-foot robot. The metal-eating iron giant crashes into the sea outside Hogarth's Maine town (slyly named Rockwell). The year is 1957 — fears of Communism and atomic bombs wrack the nation. Young Hogarth (Eli Marienthal) hides the amnesiac robot, gently teaching him pacifism, sheltering the giant in a local beatnik's (Harry Connick Jr.) junkyard. Then come the Feds.

Themes of anti-violence, gun control, and the dangers of paranoia and militarization are handled very well. The movie treats its young viewers with respect. Solid animation supports the dominant suggestion of a need for technology's humanization.

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