By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By Claire Lawton
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Anna Merlan
Screenplay by Tim McCanlies; screen story by Brad Bird
Based on the book The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
With the voices of Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Vin Diesel, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Cloris Leachman, James Gammon, and M. Emmet Walsh
Opens August 6
Clanking tin-pot robots go back in the cinema at least as far as the '30s, and they've been befriending little boys ever since the '50s, in movies such as Tobor the Great, The Invisible Boy, and The Colossus of New York. It's a classic daydream of American boyhood: On an episode of the TV sci-fi comedy Futurama, a robot asks the hero whether he'd want a robot for a friend, and the hero says he has wanted one since he was about 7 years old.
Robots have also been developing their own feelings and desires quite literally for as long as the term "robot" has existed. (The word, which is derived from the Czech robota, or "forced labor," was coined by dramatist Karel Capek for his 1921 play R.U.R., a story of a futuristic class of artificial workers seeking the right to self-determination.) In The Iron Giant, the title character realizes he was intended as a fighting machine -- "a gun," in his vocabulary -- and through Hogarth's humanizing influence he decides that he doesn't want to be a weapon. Bird and McCanlies have adapted the material in the best sense. They use the American idea that you can choose to be whatever you want as the moral of the story.
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