ReThinking The Iron Giant: Cold War Anti-Gun Fun...For Kids!

08/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jonathan Kim Gentleman farmer, film critic for ReThink Reviews

What's an anti-violence parent/babysitter to do? You want to keep a child entertained and docile during the dog days, but so many kids' movies and video games involve heroes who spend most of their time shooting, beating and exploding the bejeezus out of everything. Isn't there a kids' movie out there that's fun and adventurous while advocating non-violence?

There is -- the excellent and much overlooked 1999 film, The Iron Giant. Watch my review below:

The Iron Giant is the tale of a friendship between a boy named Hogarth and a giant robot from space who crashes on earth with no memory, but it's so much more than that. Set in Maine in 1957, the film takes place under a cloud of Cold War paranoia brought on by the atomic age and the successful launch of the Sputnik satellite, while boldly addressing complex issues like identity, self-determination, militarism, mortality, and even gun control.

The Iron Giant is unlike any kids' movie I've ever seen and is the closest thing to a Pixar film a non-Pixar studio has ever made when it comes to tone, themes, cleverness and generational crossover appeal. I imagine this film could start some interesting age-appropriate discussions with kids about the dangers of the wartime mentality, the unexpected consequences of violence and the unglamorous truth about what guns really do. At the same time, The Iron Giant is fun, funny, adventurous, beautifully executed and transcends the realm of kids' movies to be an excellent film in its own right.

This summer, forget about the loud, awful Transformers 2 and show the kids in your life what a real robot hero looks like.

To see me discuss The Iron Giant on Cenk Uygur's XM/Air America show, The Young Turks, click here.

For more ReThink Reviews -- the only (and, therefore, best) political movie reviews anywhere -- go here.