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- “ Oh, here. This guy is Superman. Sure, he’s famous now, but he started off just like you. Crash-landed on Earth, didn’t know what he was doing… But he only uses his powers for good, never for evil. Remember that.”
- ― Hogarth to the Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is the deuteragonist of the Warner Bros. 1999 animated science fiction film of the same name, voiced by Vin Diesel. He is a genial 50-foot tall autonomous robot from another world that crash lands on Earth before becoming friends with a young boy named Hogarth who rescues him from his own internal defensive mechanism.
The Iron Giant is loosely based on the title character of The Iron Man, a 1968 novel by Ted Hughes.
Official Warner Bros. WebsiteEdit
- A 50-foot, metal-eating robot with a pleasant, inquisitive demeanor enters Hogarth's life and changes everything. With eyes that change color according to his mood, parts that transform and reassemble, and an innocent heart, he becomes best friend, coolest toy, and immortal hero to Hogarth. He learns that you are who you choose to be and uses his strength for good rather that destruction, proving to the world that he recognizes the value of human life.
The Giant is a curious, gentle, kind, and friendly being who is simply trying to adapt to life on Earth. While capable of incredible destructive powers and equipped with highly advanced and destructive weaponry, he is rendered benign by damage to his head. After meeting and befriending Hogarth, the boy teaches him to use his strength for good rather than destruction, proving to the world that he recognizes the value of life. He enjoys playing with Hogarth, Superman and creating sculptures with Dean. While normally peaceful after Hogarth saves his life, the Giant reacts defensively if it recognizes anything as a weapon, immediately attempting to destroy it, but usually can´t stop himself. His eye color is an indicator of his emotional state, changing from a passive white glow to red with closed apertures when threatened or angry.
Role in the FilmEdit
The Iron Giant is a large 50 foot robot of alien origin, and the deuteragonist of the film of the same name, adapted from the original novel by Ted Hughes, The Iron Man. Though built as a weapon, the Giant's crash landing on Earth reset his programming, leaving him with a childlike sense of wonder. The dent on his head is an indicator of this. The Giant is well-armed but will only use his weapons in self-defense, is capable of flight and can also repair himself via a homing beacon in his head. The Iron Giant has eyes that glow and can change to red when threatened or angry and parts that transform and reassemble. He is also indestructible to virtually anything. The Iron Giant's diet consists only of metal.
In 1957, the Giant came to Earth and crash-landed off the coast of Rockwell, Maine. After terrifying a fisherman by the name of Earl Stutz, who called the government upon his return to land, the Giant wandered into the town's nearby woodlands after eating a few vehicles, and set his sights upon devouring a power station. He would have been shocked to death had nine year old Hogarth Hughes not been searching for the culprit who ate their TV antenna and shut the power down. The Giant continued to eat local pieces of machinery and later re-encountered Hogarth, befriends him and then proceeds to follow him home. The Giant was seen by one of the train's engineers Frank Thomas after the train hit the Iron Giant, who was trying to fix the railroad tracks that he was trying to eat earlier. This led to him being hunted down by obsessive government agent Kent Mansley, after following the train engineers's suggestion on where to find a phone. Kent leaves only to figure out that the BB gun that he was in possession of was Hogarths since Hog Hug was the only thing left of Hogarth's name on the gun. To try to get Hogarth to tell Kent about the whereabouts of the Giant, Kent rented the room that was for rent at the Hughes's residence.
Slowly, the Giant began to learn, through Hogarth's teachings, how to speak, about right and wrong, life and death, and some elements of culture, specifically Superman, who Hogarth thought the Giant could relate to since Superman also crash landed on Earth and had to learn everything. After relocating the Giant to a Junkyard owned by beatnik artist Dean McCoppin, Hogarth spent much of his days having fun with the Giant while keeping his existence a secret. Nevertheless, Mansley called the army and General Rogard after interrogating Hogarth into revealing the Giant's whereabouts, but Hogarth and Dean were quickly able to disguise the Giant as another one of Dean's art projects. A short time after, the Giant's automatic defense mechanisms activated when Hogarth pointed a toy gun at him pretending he was the evil robot Atomo, and Hogarth was almost killed by the Giant's eye beams. The Giant didn't seem to understand what he was doing.
Dean was quick to dismiss the Giant, calling him 'a big gun' and ignoring the Giant's stammered protests of 'No, I not gun.' After Hogarth left in pursuit, Dean noticed Hogarth's gun, realized why the Giant had attacked, and went to help. Unfortunately, Mansley spotted the Giant rescuing two boys in danger and ordered that the army attack immediately. The Giant and Hogarth fled, resorting to flight after falling off a cliff, but in one of the attacks Hogarth was knocked unconscious after the Giant was hit by a jet. The Giant thought Hogarth was dead since Hogarth wasn't moving or responding and the Giant was distraught. When the army fired again, the Giant snapped, activating as many weapons as possible, seeming to relinquish his gentle nature and firing upon the army. The only available option was to fire a nuclear missile from the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), according to Rogard and Mansley. Before it could be fired, Hogarth recovered and confronted the Giant. The Giant recognized his friend and returned to normal after Hogarth told the Giant that he didn't have to be a gun, and instead that he had to choose. Mansley ordered that the missile be fired anyway, ignoring the fact that it was targeted on the Giant and thus everyone in Rockwell would be killed.
Hogarth explained to the Giant that when the missle hit, everyone was going to die. A saddened Giant looked upon the missile and made his decision by saying "I fix." After telling Hogarth 'you stay, I go, no following', mirroring one of the first things Hogarth said to him, he took off into space, heading straight for the missile. Bracing himself for impact, Hogarth's words of 'you are who you choose to be' rang though the Giant's head, and he said his decision to himself before the crash: 'Superman.'
Some time later, Dean had built a statue in the Giant's memory, which was erected in town, and Hogarth received a package from General Rogard which was the jaw bolt from the Giant, the only part the army could find. That night however, the bolt began tapping against the window as though trying to get out. Remembering that the Giant was self-repairing, Hogarth let it go free, saying 'see you later.' The Giant's parts were converging upon a glacier in Iceland, where the Giant's head, still active and smiling, was waiting.
Immense Strength and Size Edit
Because of his size, the Giant can perform incredible feats of strength. He is strong enough to rip apart metal structures with his hands, lift boulders like pebbles, uproot trees, and karate chop vehicles into stopping.
Made from an unknown alloy, the Giant's armor renders him completely invulnerable to harm. He has survived being hit by an oncoming freight train and can withstand machine-gun and missile fire along with multiple high-caliber rounds from tanks, artillery, and battleships. Perhaps the most impressive display of the Giant's invulnerability was surviving a head-on collision with a nuclear missile.
Self-Repairing Function Edit
Whenever the Giant is smashed to pieces, an antenna on his head sends out a homing beacon to the scattered parts, automatically repairing himself. There appears to be no known limit to the beacon's range, and it can be detected as far away as Iceland.
The Giant's feet house rocket thrusters allowing him to fly. The rockets are powerful enough to leave Earth's atmosphere and travel through space at tremendous speed, and the Giant himself can fly fast enough to outrun and outmaneuver a military fighter jet.
Matter Ingestion Edit
The Giant regularly consumes metallic objects as a form of sustenance. When hungry, his stomach groans similar to an organic lifeform.
Dream projection Edit
A deleted scene reveals that the Giant can subconsciously broadcast his dreams and memories on electronic devices, shown when his memories of the deer and a war on an alien world are broadcast on Dean's television.
The Iron Giant is equipped with seven different kinds of armament that are far superior to any human weapons. The armaments themselves use an unknown type of green energy, enabling virtually limitless ammunition. The weapons themselves do not have official names.
Arm Cannon Edit
On his right arm, the giant's arm retracts to reveal a massive cannon similar to a tank gun. The weapon itself fires a blast of green energy that explodes on contact with the target.
Laser Vision Edit
Similar to Superman's heat vision, the giant can emit powerful laser beams out of his eyes that effectively burns straight through metal surfaces.
Tri Scorpion Cannons Edit
Three scorpion tail-like cannons that comes out of the giants back. The tails appear to target enemies with a spotlight before firing. Although the weapons use spotlights, they appear to not be heavily accurate and more designed to maximize destruction.
Energy Claw Edit
On his left arm, the giant's arm retracts to reveal another cannon with a claw mounted at the end. The claw fires a sphere of green energy that appears to levitate and vaporize a target on contact.
Laser Spin Gun Edit
A rotating disc atop the arm cannon that, when pinched by two needles, fires small laser bullets at multiple targets.
Energy Cannon Edit
In the center of the the giant's chest, he can charge a big green plasma ball to fire at a large target. Its effect and blast radius is similar to a nuclear bomb. This is assumed to be the most powerful weapon in the Giant's arsenal.
- I am NOT a gun.
- Souls don't die...
- No Atomo... I Superman.
- Hogarth, you stay... I go... no following.
- (last words) Superman.
The character was well received by critics and audiences. Vin Diesel's voice performance as the Giant was praised for being able to deliver a genuine personality to the character. The Iron Giant ranked #1 on WatchMojo.com's Top 10 Saddest Robot Deaths.
- The specific creator of the giant is never revealed and unknown. The only hint comes in the opening sequence, specifically that the giant comes from somewhere beyond the Earth's moon. It can also be inferred from his weapons that the giant was sent to Earth for unpeaceful purposes. (Note: From a deleted scene from the film, he has a brief vision of robots similar to him destroying a different planet, which can suggest that the Iron Giant originally was a weapon of mass destruction and the giant's original objective was to destroy the planet.)
- He is voiced by Vin Diesel with some computer effects added; other actors such as Sean Connery, Frank Welker, and James Earl Jones were also considered to do the voice.