ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)



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Iron Giant (1999), (PG)
CAP Score: 71
CAP Influence Density: 0.52
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.


*Iron Giant* (PG) - A Good Family Show with a Little "edge to it"

*Iron Giant* was a good story of unselfishness. It even contained some programming attesting to the omnipotence of God. Some footage showed the characters looking to the Heavens in a subservient way and even included some dinner time prayer, albeit a little off focus and with a false heart.

I can just hear some folks saying "Gimme a break!" about this analysis. I mean, Great Scott! A Red CAPAlert light for a kid's show!? All I can say is the very same numeric analysis model used on movies in 1995/96 was used on *Iron Giant*. This movie is a perfect example of the ratings game and fortifies the findings of Pastor Wayne Wilson[1]: that the MPAA rating system is like the willow tree, not the oak; that it "bends with the winds of our culture." And *Iron Giant* corroborates the invasive claim of Amy Pascal, president of Columbia Pictures: "Kids are so much hipper and more sophisticated than they used to be that younger kids want to see stuff that has a little edge to it."[1]

Each example of aberrant behavior may seem minor, but the number of them made the numeric magnitude (the cell height for the statisticians) of the Impudence/Hate cell equivalent to some of the lesser R-rated movies of 1995/96. Thus, the overall influence is as great, almost invisibly but as great. Maybe this is another example of how the movie makers are learning, admittedly so, to use the MPAA rating system -- give kids what they want but make it appear non-offensive to Mom/Dad. Kids are smart, folks. They know what is going on.

While the movie contained no gratuitous nudity it did show Hogarth, the starring lead character, on the commode with as much skin exposed as would be expected of someone sitting on a commode, and he was so situated to prevent Mom (a single parent) from finding out something he was trying to hide from her. In some places language was rough. Of course, the MPAA defines this kind of language as "conversational snippets" but any use of profane words is wrong [Col. 3:8 and others].

Violence, especially warfare aggression was a little graphic at times. And focusing so much attention on nuclear holocaust and nuclear warfare was not necessary. Why must the producers bring such reality to such a young audience unless they are trying the "You'll thank me when you're older" tease [Matt 25:40]?

A by-chance mentor of Hogarth did not notify the boy's mother when he should have. A less-than-nice government official drugged Hogarth to control him --> b-a-d man! Also, a by-chance junkyard custodian mentor of Hogarth made a dangerous medical assessment. He said Hogarth was okay while the boy was unconscious from a great fall -- a most risky thing for a child in the audience to hear. After 12 years in emergency medical services, I can attest that is a possibly very seriously wrong assessment.

A couple times Hogarth engages in verbal confrontation with his mother and is portrayed as wise enough to handle life without parental involvement which was, of course, justified by the prevalent conditions: by the trumped-up "message" from Hollywood.

As always, it is not possible for this Summary/Commentary to provide a full accounting of the subject movie. For the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie, visit the Findings/Scoring section from the full report below.

[1] Worldly Amusements: Restoring the Lordship of Christ to Our Entertainment Choices, ©1999 Wayne Wilson, WinePress Publishing, Enumclaw, WA.

FINDINGS / SCORING: Iron Giant (1999) CAP Thermometers

NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below are likely.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • a storm at sea with a shipwreck and bear drowning
  • child climbing on to roof to fix antenna
  • child wandering into the woods late at night by himself
  • a cartoon of nuclear holocaust in an elementary school
  • bloody nose
  • playing in a junkyard
  • warfare violence
  • strong focus on nuclear warfare and the nihilistic desperation of it

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • belittlement of mother because she would not believe her son
  • 5 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • childish aggression by an adult
  • an adult not calling a child's parent when he should
  • a child sneaking out of the and into the house to hide aberrant behavior
  • lies to manipulate
  • dangerous example of risky medical assessment
  • a child in verbal confrontations with his mother

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • an adult unzipping his pants in public (a restaurant)
  • suggestive eye movement
  • a child on a commode with side nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • a child drugging an adult with a laxative
  • an adult drugging a child with chloroform for control

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 9 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • display of the yin yang (See Back to School Special)

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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