The familiar, sure-fire plot is inspired by old sci-fi yarns. It is October of 1957, at the height of the Cold War. An enormous being (Diesel) falls to Earth from outer space. Although he has only gentle intentions, he ends up being protected from aggressive, paranoid military authorities by Hogarth Hughes (Marienthal), the boy who first finds and befriends the creature. The pair are further aided by Hogarth's worried mother (Aniston) and a beatnik named Dean (Connick, Jr.) — but how much can they help? Will the "Iron Giant" survive on a hostile, untrusting Earth?
Although this movie is populated by many voice talents, this movie's chief assets are its sweet nature, and a refreshing simplicity, and restraint in both script and direction. Warm, nostalgic flavoring helps too. "The Iron Giant" is an old-fashioned but welcome change of pace to most over-the-top animated fare, a movie both children and their parents should heartily enjoy.