Cold War paranoia, fear of a nuclear holocaust, and a benevolent military robot were perhaps subjects too heavy for American audiences who, despite all the critical acclaim for The Iron Giant, stayed away from it when it premiered in 1999. But the animated feature debut of director Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles), has since gained a notable cult following worldwide, and with good reason. Based on a novel by the poet Ted Hughes, the timeless story of friendship concerns Hogarth, a lonely and imaginative boy who, with the help of a beatnik named Dean, must save his giant robot friend from the military that wants to destroy it. Listen for the voices of Jennifer Aniston as the boy’s mother, Harry Connick Jr. as the beatnik, and Vin Diesel as the giant. Trust us, you’ll want to bring a lot of tissues.

Fri., Dec. 24, 2010