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PHOTOGRAPHY

IRON MAN Ultimate 2-Disc Edition
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 125 minutes, 2-disc set- two documentaries, visual effects featurette, actor's process featurette, Robert Downey Jr. screen test, atill galleries, Onion news piece
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Paramount Pictures/ Marvel Entertainment/ Marvel Studios
RELEASE DATE: 9-30-2008

ANALYSIS:
I never been much of a fan of the IRON MAN comic book, but I have kept up a little bit on the story lines. Like any Marvel comic book that I wasn't much of a fan of, the movie is great. The first two BLADE films are fantastic, but I never warmed up to the comics. IRON MAN rests on the shoulders of Robert Downey Jr. and the script behind him. The humor and action wouldn't have been as great if it wasn't for the bang-up performance of Robert Downey Jr. who takes the role of Tony Stark and milks it for all it's worth. The first film is an origin story and the gigantic box office means a sequel will be made. The origin story does have a lot of set-up and the sequel will be able to launch right into the story with all of the origin stuff out of the way. I hope War Machine pops in the sequel (a little hint is dropped in this film). IRON MAN does reference characters from the comic book series with the director playing Tony Stark's body guard/ driver.

After being captured by Afghan rebels, Tony Stark builds an amroured suit to mount his escape. He sees the legacy of his weapons company. He is a new man (who isn't just a careless playboy genius). He tries to change the course of his company and perfect the Iron Man suit despite his business partner (Jeff Bridges) trying to prevent it. The surviving rebels want their own armored suits after getting hold of new weapons from Starks Industry. Stay tuned at the end of the credits for a cameo appearance from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I never seen Nick Fury as a black guy. I always pictured him a white guy as I discovered the character in 1990. Sam might be great as Nick Fury if he has an expanded role in the IRON MAN sequel (I hope they show off the SHIELD helicarrier).

SPECIAL FEATURES:
The only extras on disc one are a trailer to the IRON MAN animated series (coming in Spring 2009 on NickToons) and a few interesting deleted and extended scenes cut mainly for pacing reasons (favorites beings the extended plane trip and the Dubai party scene). No original theatrical trailer in sight.

Disc 2 has lots of great extras. The Onion News piece on turning the IRON MAN trailer into a feature film is lame. I rather had the original theatrical trailer instead. The screen test for Robert Downey Jr. is fun to watch in addition to THE ACTOR'S PROCESS featurette that sees Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges rehearse a scene.

Four still galleries are on the disc also (CONCEPT ART, TECH, PRODUCTION PHOTOS, POSTERS), but the best extras are two documentaries on this extra packed disc.

I AM IRON MAN (108 minutes))- 7-part documentary covering the making of the film from pre-production to the premiere of the film. It is never boring as it shows previz footage, developing the armor suits, production, and the director worrying about how the film will work during post-production. interviews with cast and crew.
THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (47 minutes)- a 6-part documentary covering the genesis and history of the comic book series from all of the changes in the armor and revising of the IRON MAN comic through various story lines. features interviews with various artists and writers (lots of stuff from writer Warren Ellis).

WIRED: THE VISUAL EFFECTS OF IRON MAN (27 minutes)- a look at the digital special effects work done by The Embassy, The Orphanage, and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic). See test footage from ILM- one of the big highlights of this featurette.

FINAL ANALYSIS: IRON MAN is a fun film with great action, humor, and a great (and funny) performance from Robert Downey Jr. The two disc has plenty of extras that give insight into the film and the comic book.

this DVD review is (c)9-29-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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