Posted by: Dr P | July 11, 2008

Iron Man

As the more eagle-eyed (or stalkery) of you will know, I was a chemist in my previous academic life. My favourite metal is actually scandium, which is a rare earth, rather expensive, and completely bloody useless in actual fact. I was probably the world’s leading authority on the stuff at the time, now I wonder what on earth I was doing!

Anyway, iron is quite good too. But we’ll come onto that.

Normal service with Wingman Big G was restored this week and we decided to take in this rather excellent flick, starring Robert Downey Jnr as an electronics and computing genius, whose father started up the world’s leading military weapons company and from whom he took over.

But before we get to that, we saw some superb trailers. My, there are some good films coming out soon. One of them is “Prince Caspian”, the second film adaptation from CS Lewis’ Narnia series. Well, I was a bit baffled by the trailer, as it featured precisely nothing I can remember from the books, other than a bit where the kids return to their former castle only to discover it in ruins as 1300 years have passed in Narnia since their last visit. At least the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe featured a lion, a witch and a wardrobe!

There was also a new Indiana Jones trailer and a July 2nd release of “Hancock”, featuring Will Smith as an apparently very drunk superhero. Looks brill!

New Orange advert is also needed. Whilst I do like the Snoop Dogg one, particularly the “housies … HOMIES!” bit, it’s time for a change!

OK back to the film. Downey’s character starts the film demonstrating a new super weapon in Afghanistan, but on the way back from the demo, his military convoy is destroyed and he’s taken hostage. The militant group that captured him already seem to possess most of Stark Industries’ weapons, much to his horror, and they now want him to make the latest and greatest rocket launch device. So they supply him with loads of electrical gear (like they’d just have it lying around) and he cracks on and in less than a week he’s building all kinds of neat gizmos. This is a bit like the A Team actually, he’s put in a cave with some washing up liquid bottles and a blowtorch and comes out in an armoured personnel carrier.

Well, actually, he builds a suit – hence the film title – and uses it to escape from the militia. Having been found wandering in the desert he’s then returned to America, where he takes the massivce decision to stop his company selling weapons, and goes into reclusive mode to refine his metallic suit by investing it with some fabulous technology including the ability to fly at supersonic speed, fire all kinds of weapons, and make a cup of instant coffee that tastes just like the real thing.

The real joy of this film is Downey’s interactions with his assistant, played very well by Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, I never thought I’d write that, either), and with his talking computers. This is Knight Rider for the Noughties, with the computer robot assistants proving hilarious and very sarcastic …

A couple of memorable moments:

“Christine Everheart: You’ve been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?
Tony Stark: Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t paint.”

Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: [walking in on Stark’s robots trying to get him out of the Iron Man suit] What is going on here?
Tony Stark: Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing

Pratt: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with the Maxim Girls last year?
Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

Tony Stark: I was doing a piece for Vanity Fair. *this made me pmsl as they say*

Ok, as ever I won’t reveal any more spoilers, but there are some cracking twists and turns, and it all works out well in the end – but not for everyone!

On the way home, Big G and I had a few minutes of our usual hilarity as we discussed just how Darth Vader might have perfected his vocal technique. It’s not quite the same if you imagine him with a helium-enhanced voice saying “I want those plans, Commander” or “you have failed me for the last time” sounding like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

On the other hand, if you imagine Darth Vader and Yoda switching voices, it becomes very funny. Very very funny indeed if you try it and your Darth Vader accent sounds Pakistani, as mine did. So then of course you end up with Yoda, as Darth Vader, ordering Indian food, don’t you?

“Poppadums must I have. Hmmm?”

We don’t get out much.

Anyway, go and see this film, and look out for the inevitable sequels, Copper Man (the most conductive man in the world!), Mercury Man (short-lived as he dies in a freak toxicology disaster) and Scandium Man (completely and utterly pointless).

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