|“||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, explaining about Superman.|
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 Giant is loosely based on the title character of The Iron Man, a 1968 novel by Ted Hughes.
Slender, giant grey iron robot, white glowing eyes (they turn red if he sees any weapon, e.g. gun), many weapons on his chest and arms, rocket boosters on his feet.
Role in the film
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 tracking down 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' 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 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. Mansley called the army and General Rogard in after finding out the Giant's whereabouts, but Hogarth and Dean were quickly able to disguise the Giant as 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 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 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.
The Iron Giant made friends with Hogarth who began teaching him all different that he didn't know about. The giant can also play with Hogarth and the two became best friends. The Giant cares much for Hogarth when he thinks that he is dead (not knowing he is unconscious) and attacks Rogard and Mansley for that, only for Hogarth to bring back to his senses and uses him as his guide to prove his innocence. The Iron Giant, learning from Hogarth about the missile colliding to Rockwell, thus killing all of its population, makes his decision and bids farewell to his friend, mirroring what Hogarth said to him when he first met, and then goes to sacrifices himself to save Rockwell from the missile by colliding with it.
- I am not a gun.
- Souls don't die...
- No Atomo... I Superman.
- Hogarth, you stay... I go... no following.
- (last words) Superman.
- Main article: The Iron Giant (character)/Gallery
- The Iron Giant is the only character in this film to be animated in CGI, but the animators blended him in with traditional animated characters.
- The Iron Giant's creator is never revealed in any point of the film.