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Iron Man - Ultimate Two-Disc Edition - Blu-ray DVD / drama DVD review
IRON MAN
(ULTIMATE TWO-DISC EDITION)
Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb
Director: Jon Favreau   Studio: Paramount
DVD release: 30 September 2008   Runtime: 125 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features:Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, 5.1 Dolby True HD - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, Spanish, French, Portugese), Featurettes ("Origins", "The Journey Begins," "The Suit that Makes The Iron Man," "Friends & Foes," "The Definitive Iron Man," "Walk of Destruction," "Grounded In Reality," "Demon in a Bottle," "Extremis and Beyond," "Beneath the Armor," "Ultimate Iron Man," "It's All In The Details," "A Good Story, Well Told"), Additional Scenes, "Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test, "The Actor's Process, Trailers, The Onion "Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer to be Adapted into Full Length Film," Still Galleries, Credits, Iron Man I.Q. - BD Live, Easter Eggs (Stan Lee)

Why didn't they make movies like Iron Man when I was a kid? Sure, I had Star Wars, but superhero films like Iron Man and Spider-man were just not possible given the technology of the time.

In case you're one of the 17 or so people who hasn't seen Iron Man yet, here're the basics: Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a bazillionaire wunderkind playboy who has taken over daddy's business - that business being the tools of warfare. Stark is envied by men and drooled over by women. He womanizes as much as he can and then builds a new rocket in his garage. One unhappy day, Stark's convoy is attacked and Tony injured and captured by Middle-Eastern goons while doing an army demo in what is most likely Afghanistan. His captor Raza (Faran Tahir) demands that Stark build him something nasty and destructive and locks him in a cave with a gentle man named Yinsen (Shaun Toub) as an assistant. Stark has shrapnel in his chest from his capture that is awfully close to his heart and so he must remain connected to a car battery-powered electromagnet to remain alive.

This is too low-tech for him, so he creates a self-powered gizmo to sit in the center of his chest, glow with a whitish-blue light and keep that shrapnel from killing him. Stark uses the weapon components in the cave to create a huge robot suit and turn the tables on his captors. Iron Man is born. I'm not giving anything away as most of that was in the trailers.

Like the car-battery thing that used to keep him alive, Tony finds the original suit of mecha-armor to be less than what he desires. He outdoes himself, using his glowing chest power source as the power source for his new suit. He creates an intricately-built metal suit that makes him nigh-invulnerable, enables him to fly and shoot repulser beams from his hands and rockets from his shoulders.

Iron Man shows us great action sequences without skimping on the humor. The CGI is seamless and makes me want my very own Iron Man suit in a big way. There is so much thought put into every aspect of the film - for example, the heads-up display used in the suit shows graphics relevant to the situation at hand and seems like it could really work.

This Blu-ray edition is THE way to view the film. The picture is crisp and sharp and invites the viewer to step through the good sequences frame-by-frame. The first disc includes the feature plus extended and deleted scenes. There is also the Hall of Armor, which lets you see the various incarnations of the Iron Man and Iron Monger and look at them close-up. Take a close peek and then make it rotate 360. I fairly collapsed at this. The BD-Live feature accesses more features using your Internet connection. At the time of this writing, there is an in-movie trivia feature which shows you a clip of the film and asks you a question about something relevant to the shot (I did not fare well at this, as I've only seen the film a couple of times and the questions are fairly challenging. I'll keep trying.) I'll keep checking back to see what other features pop up. I feel confident that this is the kind of film that's going to do well on video, so I fully expect more BD Live features to come up.

The second disc features a well produced 7-part making-of feature shown in HD. This feature goes from pre-production to the final shot of the film to show all the love and sweat that went into its making. Director Jon Favreau lost about 75 pounds during the course of the film and himself plays the role of Happy Hogan, Stark's humorless driver. Most heartbreaking is a scene featuring the work of Stan Winston Studios. Stan showed up to show off some of the work done on the Iron Man suit. He excused himself saying he was sick and needed to go. He died a month or so after Iron Man was released.

There's a separate featurette on the visual effects which honors all of the separate effects houses that worked on the film. While the features don't quite measure up to the pinnacle of special features (Lord of the Rings Platinum Series Extended Edition), they are quite compelling and really do make you want to watch the film again. If you haven't gone Blu-ray yet, this might just push you over the edge.
 

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
   
         
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