UCB Parents Recommendations

Iron Giant

Advice and recommendations from the UCB Parents mailing list. This page is brought to you by UC Berkeley Parents Network

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Annie 8/18/99
A message for my friends...
I am really affected by the influence advertising has on the
success of films.  It makes me sad to see great films being 
overlooked because of lack of publicity - especially when 
the film is made with genuine respect for younger viewers.  
Please take the time to [go see] the film Iron Giant.
Go see the movie and take a friend, or if you have kids take
all of them.  You will not be disappointed - this is a film for
everyone, adults included. It is probably the best new
non-Disney animated film in a long time.

(The Iron Giant is showing throughout the Bay Area. The SF Chron
web site says:
"This is a sweet yet pointed animated feature about a 9-year-old
boy in Maine who makes friends with a robotic metal man from 
outer space. Simple and graceful, it avoids the cartoon freneticism
of most animated features and seems like a throwback to a leaner 
storybook '50s style. Adapted from the children's book by 
the late British poet Ted Hughes, Directed by Brad Bird." 
(rated PG)

Linda 8/99
I second the suggestion to see Iron Giant. At first I thought
it was going to be some high-tech robot bang-bang movie, but it's gentle,
heartwarming, loving, and has a message that is very important for kids to
see. The message is there, but subtle and sweet. It's the best kids' movie

I've ever seen.

Age level for "Iron Giant"?
Suzanne 8/99
I was thinking of taking my 3 yr. old daughter to her first movie in a theatre.
I read the recommendations for "Iron Giant" and wondered if it would be
appropriate for a young pre-schooler.  The giant is obviously the good guy,
but could he be construed as scary for a three year old?

Alexis  8/99
It's funny you should ask

I took my 4.5 yr old boy to The Iron Giant, which was only the second 
movie he'd ever been to, and 10 minutes into the film, he was so 
scared we had to leave!  (He'd crawled into my lap five minutes 
earlier, when the fear first hit him, but my lap just wasn't enough 
safety.)  I'd really been looking forward to seeing this movie, which 
is supposed to be *wonderful*, but I guess I'll just have to go see 
it without him.

I'm sure at least part of his fear stemmed from the sheer volume of a 
"live" film (rather than a video, of which he's also seen very few), 
and I know that individual kids vary considerably, but I was really 
shocked that it hit him so hard, and it made me feel a bit guilty for 
having exposed him to that experience, when I'd been hoping for a fun 
and cozy outing, just the two of us, without his father or his little 
brother.  Oh, well!

Dawn 8/99
We took our 2 1/2 year old daughter to see Iron Giant the other day.  The
Giant is rather scary, especially toward the end of the movie.  She went
from sitting in her own booster seat, to sitting in Dad's lap.  Dad just
reassured her that it was OK, and that the Giant was a good guy.  Then we
talked about it for a while after the movie.  She kept trying to make the
Giant into the bad guy afterwards, but we kept talking about it till she
seemed to "get" that he was a good guy, even though he was big and scary
and did some scary things.  I don't think it was too traumatizing for her.
She hasn't mentioned it since.  To the contrary, she keeps waking up and
reporting that her Mickey Mouse doll gave her "bad dreams" and woke her up!
You never can tell what's going to scare kids....  I think if you think
your child is ready, that it's a REALLY good movie, and definitely worth
seeing by the whole family.

Deborah 8/99
Some preschoolers will definitely find it scary. I would wait till it comes
out on video rather than making it your first trip to the theater. My 4 yr
old commented that there was a lot of shooting. Check screenit.com for a
blow by blow account. Great movie, but better for elementary age kids (and
their grown-ups!).

Hi everyone!  Many MANY thanks for the recommendations
for this movie-- my son had been asking to go to another
movie in a theatre (he has been to one only-- Wizard of Oz--
which did not scare him) and I've been so disappointed that 
there were no movies for young children (pre-school, young 
elementary).  I don't want to take him to Star Wars (though
he would love it)-- there's just too much hype about it 
(especially the consumerism) and it's too much non-stop 
action for my preference (not to mention the violence).  

After seeing the first recommendation for Iron Giant (thank you!
As the person who posted was concerned, I had seen no advertising 
for this movie and wouldn't have known about it without her msg!).
I took my little-over-3-and-a-half year old son to see Iron Giant.
We both loved the Iron Giant!   My son was not afraid at all-- 
it is not a scary monster in any way-- I think a 3-year-old will 
do fine.  The story line is nice and fun, and the talk (by the boy-- 
age around 10)-- about how guns hurt people and animals is so *great*!!
It is not a hard-hammered msg but a very short and sweet portion
of the movie.  What a wonderful movie-- what a noble thing 
(in this day and age where it is violence that makes the big bucks)
that someone would make a movie where it is a *child* (and a *boy*!) 
who is teaching this lesson about how guns hurt rather than the mommy 
(mommies are so often in this role that I think the msg sometimes gets
ignored as if it is an old wives' tale that guns hurt).  This boy 
(in the movie) is a role model for children-- for all people but 
especially boys who are into guns and other weapons.  Our culture 
needs more visible role models for this philosophy-- especially more 
boys and men.

Since I so liked this movie (for all the reasons above) and people 
will wonder if their child is old enough, I will hazard a suggested 
age range for the movie (my opinion only).
It depends on your child, but maybe age 2.5 to 10 or 12.

Age level for "Iron Giant"?
My husband and I took our 3 year old son to Iron Giant.  It
scared my son a lot.  He didn't like the loud noises.  There's an 
introductory scene when the Iron Giant first appears.  It's dark, 
and the Giant seems big, loud, and scary.  Most of the movie portrayed 
the Iron Giant in a good light, but he was still loud and scary.  I'm 
taking my son to a nice, quiet Disney film (with singing) next time. ;-)

Eric 8/99
I would also like to wholeheartedly recommed the movie.  I went to see it
with my five year old son and found it so much more enjoyable than the
hyperkinetic, wisecracking and obnoxious animated movies that inundate the
screens.  He liked it also, and talked about it a lot on the way home.
Moreover, the movie does not pander to the culture of violence that, behind
the guise of a righteous struggle, is so prevalent (*Balto* was a prime
example of this).

Its visual style is unique and appealing, and its humor and nostalgia full
of references the adults will enjoy, in truth perhaps more than children.
But the latter will like the robot and his friendship with an adventurous
and imaginative boy.  It does harken back to a time when kids had fun
without computers (although TV is a big part of Hogarth's life, providing
great references to fifties sci-fi and horror shows) and when they could go
play in the woods alone.  Women will probably appreciate that Hogarth's
mother is a hard working single mom, although no obviously fastidious
"message" is given, whether about this or the overall theme of the movie.
Finally, the movie addresses the issue of death in a poignant yet not
melodramatic way.

I do hope that it runs long enough for more people to go see it.

Judi  8/99
I took my 31/2 and 51/2 year old boys to see the Iron Giant Monday.  They
really enjoyed it.  The younger boy kept on commenting on one scene in
which the "bad" hunters killed the nice deer so be forwarned that Bambi
like questions might come up.  My older son has really sensitive ears.  We
went to the new Sony Metreon which has tons of speakers so we made sure to
bring ear plugs to help reduce some of the volume.  If you happen to be in
the area of the Metreon, they had tons of the playground in the Yerba Buena
center afterwards.  Cool slides for kids 5 and up and a sand box for the
younger ones.

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