"The Iron Man was a 1968 children’s book by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. Published in the U.S. as The Iron Giant, the book concerned a giant robot that surfaces from the ocean and befriends a young boy. Hughes originated the story to console his two children following the suicide of their mother, poet Sylvia Plath in 1963.
[Director Brad Bird, of subsequent The Incredibles fame] read The Iron Man and ultimately pitched his own version to Warner Bros. “Hughes’ book is a great story that tries to show kids about the cycle of life. Even though there is death, life has a continuity. My version is based around a question I asked the execs at Warner Bros. What if a gun had a soul and chose not to be a gun? Basically I wanted to honor the book, but also take it in a new direction.” -via This Distracted Globe.
The original book is supposed to be fantastic, have to pick that up. Iron Giant (1999) the movie is on repeat chez nous. Set in 1950's Maine, I was surprised that it was not filled with comedy long-vowelled locals. The animation is bold and clean (except Dean's 5 o'clock beard which keeps changing) but that may have been an economic necessity as well, as evidenced by the almost total lack of PR and marketing done for the film's release in 1999. Voice work by Jennnifer Aniston, Harry Connich, Jr. and Vin Diesel but no fear, you might only recognize Connich. The premise that you can make choices and use XYZ power for good á la Superman is central. It is worked in by introducing guns and equating the iron giant to a walking gun, who can choose not to be tempted and ultimately reject that gun persona. Long/short works to stretch the mind of a sub 8 year old. No Shrek'd gross out humor or innuendo.