Iron Man – Speed Racer

Miles and I started The Movie Club. There are only two members and we intend to keep it that way. Every week, we will see a new movie. If there are none in the theater we’re even slightly interested in, we’ll rent. Miles was voted in as President, but the VP can overrule any decisions – as well as overthrow the President. Any “review” I do of the movies shouldn’t be much of a spoiler. Certainly not of important things. But if you want to see the movies first and make up your mind, you may want to skip my reviews until then.

Iron Man ticket stub Last week, we saw Iron Man. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical. The trailer looked decent, but I knew nothing of the Iron Man / Tony Stark character, nor cared about him. I only went because my husband wanted to. It was amazing. Robert Downing, Jr. (and his humor) really made Tony Stark likable and made you want to root for him. I think if he had been more conceded or arrogant, I wouldn’t like him as a superhero – but maybe that’s the kind of guy Stark was in the comics. I’m not sure. The seamless integration of photo realistic effects was really quite impressive. The computer in his helmet (and home) was believable as an intelligent type of technology, as well as the robotic “characters” in Stark’s shop. The story was not only believable, they made it applicable to current culture and events – even though the story was conceived a few decades ago. The interaction between Pepper and Tony was entertaining and well executed. Gwenyth Paltrow did a great job walking the line between being enchanted by Stark’s charm and putting him in his place. So not only were the effects amazing and believable, so was the story. And the music. It fit in so perfectly, you wouldn’t even know, until you heard it, that the Iron Man theme didn’t actually play until the credits. And then there’s a little extra for those who are respectful enough to read the credits. All in all, it’s in my top two superhero movies released to date. Maybe number one, but that decision is too close to call.

Speed Racer ticket stub Tonight we saw Speed Racer on DLP. I was also skeptical of this movie. Mostly because I was afraid I’d have seizures from all the fast-moving colors. Let me just say that I knew in the first thirty seconds that I was disappointed. The extreme contrast between the brightly colored animation and the low-lit practical shots was just as disturbing as looking at a poorly super-imposed image. The shadows on the actors’ faces didn’t make sense and really looked flat when composited in with the effects. The parts where the style looked decent were when no practical shots were used – mostly when there was a wide-angle shot or very fast motion blurs. If the whole movie had been done with the effects, I maybe would have liked it. Maybe it would have even been forward-thinking. Either the technology isn’t up to speed enough to pull off this style, they didn’t put enough time and thought into executing it, or this style will never make it in the movie world. The only scene I enjoyed in this movie was when Speed Racer was sitting in the locker room at the beginning of the movie. There, and only there, did I feel that the “look” worked. And I don’t think there were any effects on those shots. One positive result of the movie is that Matthew Fox was in it as Racer X and seeing him sent my mind off to distant and beautiful lands of LOST theories and wonderment of the upcoming finale episodes. *ahhh*

All of this being said, I don’t know much about Speed Racer the character or show, and so maybe this style makes sense for keeping in line with it. But I know enough about anime to know that it probably doesn’t keep in line with it. And if it does, I still didn’t like the style. I did, however, enjoy reading Miles’s twitters about the movie. See them here. Also, the DLP might have been good but it’s hard to tell with a movie you can’t enjoy.

I hear Tony Stark will be making an appearance in The Hulk this summer, with Edward Norton, and you can bet your bottoms The Movie Club will be in attendance. A sequel to Iron Man has been announced for a release date of April 30, 2010.

I give Iron Man a 5 out of 5 stars and Speed Racer a 2.5 out of 5 stars.