Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
I like this cover. Go figure. The slip cover is not one of my favorite packaging inventions, however, the Iron Man cover is an exception. The cover features Iron Man on the front and all of the jibberish no one reads on the back. Slip that off and you get the DVD box with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on the front, and Iron Man on the back, no jibberish. I can toss the cardboard cover in the recycle bin:)
The menu is Iron Man in a kind of computer blue print style background with floating techy bits and bobs. It’s an kind of a mini event, but it’s kind of anti-climactic since all you do is click through the cool menu to the movie and the extras.
- Deleted And Extended Scenes – These scraps were tossed aside for whatever reasons, but they did take the time to finish them off with special effects, sound, and everything. There is a couple with some digital scribbling on them, but it’s still fun to see what the director decided was worthy of finishing, and still cutting from the final movie.
- I Am Iron Man: 7 Part Making Of – Excellent documentary style behind the camera look at the process of getting Iron Man from script to the big screen. I love these kinds of extras. It’s not overly produced or directed. There aren’t a lot of talking heads in boring interviews. It’s mostly following Favreau and the cast around, and as mundane as that sounds it’s well worth the time to watch it.
- The Invincible Iron Man: 6 Part History Of The Hero – Hey, another great extra! This package is shaping up. I have never read Iron Man. Let’s be honest, I’ve never read any super hero comics. I hadn’t even heard of Iron Man until
- Wired: The Visual Effects Of Iron Man – It’s a CGI fest for people who have yet to have learned about how visual effects are done in these modern movies. I appreciate the effort they take to get this on the DVD. It’s fun to watch, but let’s be honest, after a few dozen views of computers crunching shapes and effects it all blends together after a while.
- Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test – Does a guy like Downey Jr. need to screen test for a role anymore? Testing lines and scenes with cast, crew, and mysterious folks is fun to watch. I wonder if he gets paid for it.
- The Actor’s Process – Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges work out how they will do scenes. It’s a great look at this aspect of making a movie if you are a budding actor. I love behind the scenes information but for some reason this doesn’t interest me at all.
- Still Galleries And More! – Galleries and “more” aren’t really extras, they’re just stuff shoved on a disc to make this list longer.
The Movie: 9/10
Iron Man? Isn’t that some animated movie from a few years ago? No? A comic book? Right. Never heard of it. That’s right, I had never heard of Iron Man before the trailers for this movie started floating around. This gives me a certain purity, if you will, when it comes to making a fair movie goer judgment about the cinematic version of this shiny gold and red dude.
What do I love about the movie. Yes, LOVE. I enjoyed it very much and there are a few reasons. The first and foremost element that charmed me more than a little is Robert Downey Jr. Come on, he’s fascinating to watch. He has a swagger and attitude that fits the Tony Stark character just right. I can’t explain exactly what it is about him that has always turned my crank, but whatever it is, it’s still there.
Of course this new thing with showing us a super hero discovering his powers or his true self, I like it. I might be on a bandwagon here, which sucks, but oh well. It’s satisfying to see Stark develop his idea, build his first suit, use it, learn from it, build another..etc. It takes the story from a place of almost reality to the world of heroes and villains, which is very interesting.
The next thing I really dig about the movie is the combination of audio, visual, music, all that stuff that makes an action movie a big powerful experience. The special effects are good enough to keep my from rolling my eyes. There are a couple of times when the ‘rag doll’ effect kicks in with some shabby CGI involving some movies by Iron Man. Other than that I thought it all looked great. It wasn’t 100% seamless, but sometimes flaws are overpowered by everything that’s right about a movie.
What else was enjoyable? Gwyneth Cold Play and Jeff Bald Bridges, they both held their own against the semi-crazy styling of Mr. Downey. I haven’t seen Paltrow in something that made me like her except Proof, and now i can add Iron Man to the list. She’s not got a lot of umph as a character, but she’s important enough to give me the feeling that she’s valuable in Stark’s world and in his life.
I also really like Terrence Howard as Roadie, Stark’s best friend. Between he and Pepper Potts (Paltrow) I got the strong sense of friendship and almost family for the genius billionaire Stark. Unlike a lot of these movies, these relationships are solid and the dialogue between them feels right. It’s a good foundation for some outrageous action sequences that can sometimes outshine the personal connections between characters, but Favreau and his writing team got it right for Iron Man.
The suit? Yes, it’s very cool. There are some “hero” moments that even got my feathers fluffed for justice and saving the world from danger. The technology makes me jealous. I want holograms and touchscreen everything. It’s all big and bold, but it all still fits the universe they all live in. I buy it, you know what I’m saying. We have all seen movies that have the ultra modern gadgets that don’t really fit in just right. Favreau and his team found a groove that works. Here’s hoping other movies follow this example.
What I didn’t like will be brief, but worth noting. The occasional bad human movement CGi is always a problem for me. I let it slide when I like the rest of the movie enough. I just wish they would never let these little slips happen at all these days.
I also don’t fully get what Iron Man’s agenda is. I know he wants to stop contributing to the evils of the world with his weapons manufacturing. I know he wants to protect people from bad guys. So, how does that translate in this movie to super hero antics? There are a couple of moments when he takes on the big task of rescuing victims and putting bad guys in their place, but i was left feeling a little super hero deprivation.
Overall this movie is an impressive summertime treat for me. Oh dear that sounds like some quaint old auntie talking, fair enough. It also kicks ass and got my heart racing a time or two, which is good for an aging broad like me.
Audio & Video: /10
I think I have found my personal superhero favorite in Iron man. I also think I have found the perfect disc to show off my HD Home Theater room. I can’t imagine a better looking or better sounding disc coming along this year (or any year for that matter). Paramount is using the AVC codec at a average bit rate of 29mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 clocking in at a crazy 3.8mbps on the scale. This makes one of the year’s hottest Summer blockbuster tickets that much hotter in its journey home. I could go on and on about how great the video and sound are on this release, but I would just be wasting time. Time that you could be using to get down the local DVD mart to get yourself a copy. Overall it’s a perfect superhero movie and a PERFECT home run hit for Paramount. If Blu-Ray didn’t have a killer application yet, it does now.
Iron Man is a quality action flick. I enjoyed it very much. The extras and packaging are excellent. So, why do I insist on saying that the value is only middle of the road? It’s still just a DVD folks. $27 is not reasonable for me to spend on an evening’s entertainment. For this caliber DVD I want to see a $14-$17 price tag on my movies. That’s just the way it is. If you give me a graphic novel, free movie tickets, plus a full length documentary about the making of the movie, THEN we are talking about something that’s worth my twenty dollar bill. Regardless of what I think about the price, this is a great DVD to add to your collection for a few reasons. I might complain about the price, but I don’t like how much my electric bill is either, but I don’t turn the air conditioner up just to save money:)
Overall Score 9/10