Iron Giant

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Dacey » October 16th, 2015, 5:13 pm

That wasn't intended as a recommendation, Rand. ;)

*Giant sea serpent appears*

"Mother, what are you doing?"

"I'm whistling!"

:roll:

It doesn't help that the movie may be one of the worst edited/directed mainstream animated movies I've ever seen, mainly because the film seems unable to focus on the characters for more than five seconds without cutting to "Master Little" (Get it? It's funny because he's Asian!) or one of the cute animals. Ironically, the quality of this movie may be what kept Iron Giant from being a family outing, meaning that I didn't see that film until Pay-Per-View. Still, I do find it weird that many seem to blame IG bombing on the film's marketing, which I found fine. The trailer gave a pretty good idea of what to expect, and the 50's style sci-fi poster was spot-on for what Bird was going for in my book.
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by EricJ » October 17th, 2015, 4:01 pm

Dacey wrote:That wasn't intended as a recommendation, Rand. ;)
*Giant sea serpent appears*
"Mother, what are you doing?"
"I'm whistling!"
:roll:
If we're going to neurotically fixate on that plot point, the sea serpent is an illusion intended to create fear, which necessitates the musical-obligated number of "Whistle a Happy Tune". Where they say they're not afraid, and demonstrate it by...whistling a lot. If you want to blame someone for whistling, blame Oscar Hammerstein, even though he's been dead for fifty years.
A needless distraction, yes, but then, the song did seem a bit of a time-killer in the original musical, too.

As for why Iron Giant failed, think it wasn't so much the marketing, as that the marketing failed to convince us it WASN'T just another bit of forgettable Warner-wannabe, for the rest of us who live in the alternate timeline where Cats Don't Dance and Tom & Jerry weren't box-office successes. To us by that point, "Warner Animation" meant Quest For Camelot and Space Jam, and you weren't going to convince us otherwise, ever again. EVER. (Of course, back then, adults always blurred which studio made which, so it was hard enough to remember that it was Fox, not Warner, that made Ferngully and The Pagemaster...Or was it the other way around?) And apart from hardcore animation buffs who remembered the original Amazing Stories version of "Family Dog", Brad Bird in '99 was known only as "an ex-Simpsons writer", which made parents expect the humor would be lowbrow, and the squirrel in the pants didn't help matters any.
Studios treated animation as a marketable generic commodity all the way up to the great Rugrats-Bubble pop of '02, so the marketing accent of any non-Disney/Pixar movie was on the plot and gags. It had to survive on word of mouth, and did (in the underground), but the idea of mass audiences going to see an animated movie because it was good was one unfortunate year ahead of its time.
Last edited by EricJ on October 17th, 2015, 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Dacey » October 17th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Yeah. I'm pretty sure kids didn't--and still don't--think that way. Remember that both Tarzan, Star Wars and even Inspector Gadget were all still doing well when Iron Giant opened.

Fox didn't make Ferngully or Pagemaster. They didn't start making in-house animation until Anastasia with the short-lived Fox Animation Studios.

And adults would've read the great reviews for Iron Giant, so I don't think they would've expected it to be "another Space Jam." Similarly, I doubt they would've been turned off by Brad Bird being "an ex-Simpsons" writer. It is possible, though, that the PG rating may have still had some form of a negative impact back in 1999 (although, oddly enough, the G-rated Tarzan is actually a lot more intense!). But really, at the end of the day, sometimes a movie just bombs without anyone really being able to nail a reason.

(And, not that it really matters, but that serpent wasn't an "illusion" either. The Sorcerer just had to concentrate in order to keep his creations active, and all of the whistling distracted him, thus killing the sea serpent)
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by droosan » October 17th, 2015, 8:20 pm

I scoured YouTube and other parts of the internet to see if I could find the 1999 TV commercial for The Iron Giant, but could not. So, I will describe what I remember from memory:

----------------------------------

Sabrejets chase the Giant as Scorpions' Rock You Like a Hurricane begins to blare.

At strategic points in the song where the lyrics go "Here I am / ROCK you like ..", the Giant holds up a boulder and says "ROCK?" .. then cuts to Hogarth holding up a stone saying "ROCK!", also in synch with the lyrics.

As an electric guitar solo crescendoes, cut to the Giant looking down on the Annabelle as it crashes into him during the hurricane. End of 30-second commercial.

----------------------------------

1999 ME: :shock: :o :? :| :roll:

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Dacey » October 17th, 2015, 10:33 pm

My most hoped for extra on the Blu-ray now? That commercial in its entirety. ;)

Seriously. Not being sarcastic here. I genuinely want to see that thing!
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by droosan » October 18th, 2015, 1:06 am

Believe me; I'd have provided a link if I could've found it..! It was just such a 'wrong-headed' approach for the film it was supposedly advertising.

I got to see The Iron Giant a couple of times prior to its original theatrical run: in a sneak preview at the local Los Angeles Comic-Book Convention at the Shrine Auditorium, and another preview screening in Glendale. Those screenings were packed, and audience reaction was huge at both shows. It seemed to me that Warner Bros had a 'can't lose' hit on its hands.

But when I went to see the movie in theaters after its August 26th debut (several times, during those first few weeks) .. I was astounded at how dismally tiny the audiences for the movie were .. often just a dozen or so people, on average. In some multiplexes, Tarzan was still playing on another screen in the theater .. and (likely as not) with larger crowds.

The TV commercial I described (which was aired on Cartoon Network, and also presumably on other AOL/Time Warner outlets) certainly didn't give any credible idea of what the movie was like. Poster & banner advertising was rather minimal as well, by comparison to Tarzan's blanket coverage of bus stops, billboards, massive cardboard standees in theaters, etc.

But the original 1999 theatrical trailer -- which 'gives away' nearly every key plot point in the movie, including the film's literal 'cliff-hanger' climactic reveal -- was, to me, the proof that Warner Bros either didn't know what they had .. or, perhaps, didn't really care. :|

It's worth noting that Brad Bird was so horrified by that trailer that he's had 'final trailer cut' written into the terms of his contracts for every movie he's directed since.

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by James » October 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Don't remember this one but here's another terrible ad, this time for the home release:


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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Dacey » October 18th, 2015, 1:21 am

From that period where the 90's were transitioning into...whatever it is the early 00's were.

As a sidenote, in the states, Iron Giant opened the same day as The Sixth Sense, which no doubt took a huge portion of its "older" crowd away from it.

(And as another sidenote, a quick look at an old trailer reveals that King & I was produced by something called "Morgan Creek Productions"...whatever that is)
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Ben » October 23rd, 2015, 7:22 pm

According to an interview that Bird gave to promote Tomorrowland, both original and extended Iron Giant cuts will be coming to Blu-ray in early-mid 2016. :)

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Dacey » February 17th, 2016, 3:37 pm

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by James » February 17th, 2016, 4:16 pm

On a side note (sorry Dacey!), this is probably the oldest active thread in the forum! It started on October 22nd, 2004. I created the forum on the 16th but we didn't activate it for the public until the 22nd. So this thread started on our first day running our own messagebords. (We had a forum previously but it was run by a third party.)

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by ShyViolet » February 17th, 2016, 6:04 pm

Wow talk about a trip down memory lane! :)
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Ben » February 17th, 2016, 6:27 pm

Never mind all that!

What he said...where is the Blu-ray!?

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Re: Iron Giant

Post by James » February 17th, 2016, 10:37 pm

Ben wrote:...where is the Blu-ray!?
I think they're having to redo the cover artwork. Not sure what was wrong with this original:
igse.jpg
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Re: Iron Giant

Post by Ben » February 18th, 2016, 4:26 am

Maybe it was so the director could redo his signature not to look like "Bacon Rind"...? ;)

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