In a field where Disney dominated the classically animated movies for decades and the big shift towards fully computer-animated motion pictures was irreversible, The Iron Giant was an entry that symbolized the charming end of an era. When it was released in theaters in 1999, it couldn’t impress at the box office but managed to win over many fans in subsequent years. And director Brad Bird, who also surfed the wave of CGI films with The Incredibles and Ratatouille, didn’t forget about his little robot film, either.
After he expanded to real-life films such as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland, he also made sure that The Iron Giant would get a little bonus for its Blu-ray premiere. Adding material later on is quite unusual for animated films since normally there isn’t much material left on the cutting room floor (if we count out Rango, which also got an extended home video release, see comparison). For the “Signature Edition”, Bird integrated two previously unfinished scenes and corrected an issue that first came up when the film was prepared for cinemas. Especially the nightmare scene is a nice addition to the storytelling and character development of the giant so fans should be happy about the release.
Compared are the Theatrical Version and the Director’s Cut (both inlcuded on the US Signature Edition Blu-ray by Warner Bros.)
2 additional scenes, 1 scene with alternate material = 113 sec. or 1 minute 53 seconds
0:15:51: Dean apologizes to Annie for the chaos partly caused by him in the diner yesterday. She assures him that it wasn’t his fault and that her son Hogarth is quite lonely. Dean says that Hogarth is a wonderful boy and they both look at each other in a romantic way. That harmony is abruptly interrupted when Earl asks Dean to come outside because he wants to show him something.
0:29:30: The theatrical version has the TV depicting a commercial for Maypo cereal while the Director’s Cut shows the TV screening a commercial for Disney’s “Tomorrowland” attraction. This was a rights issue earlier and was resolved in the meantime. Bird’s role as the director of Tomorrowland starring George Clooney surely wasn’t a bad constellation for that to happen.
No time difference
0:54:38: Dean sleeps in front of the TV that shows a talk show. The picture then gets distorted and we see how the giant, who sleeps outside of the house, has a nightmare from his past. It shows how he was part of a destructive robot army and some of those scenes are “broadcasted” to the TV where Dean eventually wakes up and is shocked about what he sees. The giant’s nightmare then ends and he continues sleeping normally while Dean is still staring at the screen.