Iron Man, Noisy Patrons and Projectionist Excuses

These days, I only get to see first run movies if they are kid-friendly. That’s why I was quite pleased to see ‘Iron Man’ come along. This was right up my young guy’s street and, truth be told, it was right up mine too.

I enjoyed this film a lot. I like my comic-book-movies to take themselves a little seriously. That’s the way the original comics were – they created a fantastic world that they did not then feel obliged to apologise for. That’s why those ‘nod-and-a-wink’ movies like Tim Burton’s Batman never really did it for me.

So ‘Iron Man’ takes itself a bit seriously, but not too much so. Robert Downey Jr, looking gaunt and remarkably like Al Pacino at times, is perfect in the lead. This nicely-flawed egotistical, selfish hero almost feels autobiographical to him – except for the flying bits.

(Photo by Lman1138)

Support from Gwyneth Paltrow and most especially Jeff Bridges is excellent. Special effects are so good that it’s finally hard to see the joins between CGI and live action and the overall design mixes hyper-modern with a curious retro feel which simply works brilliantly.

Downside? It’s sufficiently slow to get off the ground that the young folk might twitch a bit (I didn’t). Oh and Terrence Howard doesn’t get enough to do to raise himself above standard sidekick material.

But it’s a complete blast, really. The Iron Man suits are iconic and powerful and the last line is wonderfully telegraphed for all the world to appreciate.

You’ll probably have to like comic books to like it.

But, if you do, you will.

My only complaint had nothing to do with the movie but rather with the theatre I saw it in – so pay attention Mayo Movie World, I know you monitor this feed on a 24 hour basis.

Basically, the sound reproduction in the cinema was nothing less than dreadful. The whole show sounded like it was coming out of a brown paper bag, it was muddied and indistinct.

I went into the foyer quite early on and asked whether the projectionist could come in and have a listen and see if he/she could do something about it. Nothing ever happened. I’ll write them a letter and maybe someone will look into it.

I think auditoria in multiplexes are under-monitored – ‘Set the movie running and then leave it alone’, seems to be the general policy. This is nothing new. In Sligo, many years ago, the movie ‘Christiane F’ ran for a full week with all the reels shown in the wrong order. The general view in the town was that the show was avant garde and challenging.

I also remember when I went to see ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in the cinema. The reels were cranked incorrectly so that only the heads and shoulders of the on-screen protagonists were being seen. The full-house munched away happily while I nearly went mad. I went out, found the projectionist, and told him what was wrong.

"Ah no," said he, in his very best Sligo accent, "Ye see that’s the way it was back in World War Two. They were all down in trenches the whole time."

As I got back to my seat, the image on the screen lurched upwards and corrected itself magically. I spotted the projectionist again as I left but I couldn’t catch his eye.

Finally, at ‘Iron Man’ last night there was a bunch of giddy schoolkids running in and out of the cinema laughing and shouting with no regard for the rest of us trying to watch the film. Well, I think there was regard because this kind of thing is mostly a play for attention, in my jaded opinion.

Anyway, I gave them the attention they craved with a stout warning from my darkened seat.

And guess what?

They all shut up! That never happened before.

... now I know I’m getting old.


Jena Isle said...

I have watched Shrek and Beauty and Beast only last week because of my granddaughter, and to think they have been in theaters years ago. I find them quite entertaining...really... not so stressful to watch.

My son was also telling me that Iron Man is good. I will still have to watch it. Thanks for the movie "review".

Rachel Fox said...

I used to have to complain about the sound every time we visited the Warner Village multiplex in Leeds. It was usually turned up so loud that it distorted all the way through the film.
These days it's 30 miles to the nearest multiplex and we only go when small girl (8) is really keen to see something and, like you, we very rarely go to anything other than a kids' film at the cinema. The last one we all enjoyed was 'Enchanted'. It was corny but really funny and endearing with it.

CelloBella said...

I'm trying to work out where you live. I assumed you were in Dublin (don't know why) and now you mention both Mayo and Sligo in the one post...

Hmmmm... I stayed near Ballina when I visited County Mayo a couple of years ago... anywhere near there?


Ken Armstrong said...

Jena: I went to Shrek with my kids when it came out first and loved it so much I brought my wife back the next night. My favorite but (at the moment) is the wolf in the bed, dressed up like Granny, saying, "What?"

Rachel: DVD is so much better anyway. I really need to see a film in the correct aspect ratio and this was often difficult back in video days. Now you see much more on disk that you do in my local Multiplex!

Cellobella - I *so* like your Guinness picture - I think you should sell it to Diagio as an advert for the blackstuff - even though I note that you don't like it.

To answer your question - I'm from Sligo (town) but I write with a bit-of-a-Dublin accent having been influenced by my college years there. After fifteen years in London (compulsary for a 1980's Paddy) I moved back to Castlebar in County Mayo, not too far from Ballina ('spent a week there one night). 'Spent a month or two in Perth too, back in the early nineties - down around the OBH at bit, is it still there?

Ah, memories...

CelloBella said...

The OBH? It is still there! I'll take a photo of it to remind you.

ROFL at Ballina comment.

Sounds like we missed the best county. Although perhaps a lucky escape from a bizarre cinema experience. :)


Henson Ray said...

I know exactly what you mean about talking obnoxious kids and projectionists who never monitor the film after pressing play. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go out to the lobby to tell someone the sound was off, or the picture was off, or the person in front of me needed to be turned off because he was so talkative.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

All, thanks for taking the time to stop by, read, and comment on this very long post! It's much appreciated.

Dave, looking forward to the post!

LadyJava, thanks for the validation and the very kind words! I'm at Roxy's blog every day, so no doubt we'll cross paths there!

Mariuca, thanks for the validation and the kind words! You're absolutely right, it's very fair just to comment on your regular reader's posts, or on posts that you come across that catch your eye. If they don't catch your eye, chances are it isn't worth reading (for you) in the first place.

Also, thanks for the tag. I'll get to that later this week. I've got my blogging all done through Thursday and the posts have been made--they're just waiting in the blogger scheduler for the time stamp I put on them to come around.

Dee, thanks for the kind words and the validation. I couldn't agree with you more. EntreCard has introduced me to blogs I never would have found otherwise. I now have a solid core group that I try to visit every day.

Henson, you're absolutely right. Over time, when you drop on a blog repeatedly, even if you're just dropping and running, you get to know some basic stuff about a blog: how often it's updated, what the theme looks like, the graphics, the entrecard graphic....If a blogger drops on me consistently, I'll often pause and look around before dropping and running. And I'll echo what you and Dee both said about meeting people you never would have met otherwise. You're one of those great people.

Ken, yeah, in the blogosphere it's typical for someone else to beat you to the punch. But I think it's clear we're all of a like mind.

Also, the way I drop isn't necessarily the best way. My style is a little rigid, but I find it maximizes the use of my time. But every once and a while I deviate. I think all writers do--when you come across something by chance that seems worthwhile, it's often worth the time to follow the road less travelled to see how it will pan out, even if it's not part of the program.

Matt--so far no negativity or criticisms, I'm actually kind of surprised, but gratified.

Cheers all!

Anonymous said...

Good review. I agree, they took a serious approach, but didn't take themselves too seriously. It will be interesting to see if they'll let Favreau do it another round.