The Pitch

Boy meets giant robot from another world.

Age Recommendations

Watch With the Kids: 6+ Common Sense Media: 6+

Content Advisories

Rated PG for fantasy action and mild language. The military assault at the end gets pretty intense, including the threat of an atomic missile. “Hell” and “butt” are as adult as the language gets. Laxative humor. Amazon Instant Video crops the film from 2.35:1 CinemaScope down to 16:9.

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07.23.14

Set in the age of "Duck and Cover"

The upside of The Iron Giant being a Warner Bros. Animation release was that the film could include actual references to Superman comic books. The downside was a marketing department that didn’t know how to sell a (mostly) traditionally animated film that included no wisecracking animals or musical numbers. It performed terribly at the box office, but director Brad Bird's subsequent films (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) have led people to rediscover this thrilling and heartfelt story (with a fantastic score by Michael Kamen). While there are surface similarities to E.T. (a stranded alien, a single mom), the film’s themes veer into paranoia, militarization, and the capacity for free will. When nine-year-old Hogarth first meets it, the robot does not recall its programming. But a frustratingly inevitable attack by the army will eventually bring it out. Fun game for parents: don’t look up the cast, and try to guess who voices the giant. —Chris Ereneta

Edited & designed by Chris Ereneta. Suggestions, feedback, and rants welcome at watchwiththekids@gmail.com, @WatchWithKids, or on Facebook. More about this site.