Paramount weren't content to just offer Blu-ray fans a superlative audio visual experience; oh no, they've packed two discs full of extras, so lets jump in to see what's here. Of note, all the extras are included in full high definition.
The centerpiece of the extras collection is the nearly two hour long I Am Iron Man documentary. Cut into seven pieces, but with a handy 'play all' function, the documentary takes viewers right to the start of production, chronicling the making of the film from concept through to completion. The documentary is very similar to 'The Beginning' documentary on the Phantom Menace DVD, and is of such a high quality that is rarely seen accompanying studio films anymore and reminds me of the more honest early days of the DVD format (maybe they thought no one was watching back then). Of note, is probably one of, if not the last, on camera interview with special effects legend Stan Winston before his untimely death earlier this year. While his studio still stands, the man himself will sorely be missed.
Next up is Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man documentary, which takes a lengthy look (40 odd minutes) at the visual effects for the film, from crude animatics, to final film. Whilst there is a lot of CG elements to the film, I certainly admire the high practical element to the film, which despite its rather outlandish plot, certainly helps to ground the film in at least a heightened sense of reality.
The Invincible Iron Man documentary is a comic book based history lesson on the Iron Man character, that helps to bring non fans, and new fans alike, up to speed with the mythology of the Marvel comics creation. Much like the careful handling of the X-Men franchise (well at least until the third film anyway), I am sure the devotion to the source isn't lost on fans.
Next up is a collection of 24 minutes worth of deleted scenes. The most notable extension is an addition to the final fight which would have slowed the climax down somewhat and is certainly better for its absence. It's interesting to see how the re-edit of that footage can salvage the momentum.
Robert Downey Jr's screen test leaves little to the imagination, but is certainly fascinating to see the footage that nabbed him the role. These multiple scenes, obviously shot over a prolonged time period, underscores an initial lack of confidence of him in the role, but one which was massively rewarding.
The actors process featurette is a fascinating, yet short behind the scenes snippet which shows the collaboration, and improvisation of the director and actors. It also goes to underscore Downey Jr's high personal involvement in the film.
Hall of Armor is a nice little BD Java enhanced extra which allows users to take a 3D look at the Iron Man armor, alongside annotated technical information. A nice touch, but one that will hardly be returned to.
Stills Gallery presents hundreds of photos under four headings. I have never understood the appeal of these, there's something inherently unappealing about pressing the forward button a couple of hundred times for little return on investment. Others may disagree.
'The Onion: Wildly popular Iron Man Trailer to be adapted into full-length film' featurette is a pretty funny, tongue in cheek satire of the popularity surrounding the films trailers.
BD Live IQ Test is a cool use of the fledging technology whereby fans can interact and create IQ tests on Iron Man lore. This is the first BD Live feature to be implemented so far, however over time more features will be made available. I vote for an in film trivia track.
Finally, we have four Theatrical Trailers. Presented in 1080p with Dolby 5.1 sound, these are very well made and evidently worked well to drum up interest in the film. Why so many discs leave these off is a mystery to me.
Review Equipment Used:
Display: Sony KDL52X3100 LCD (1080p resolution/ 24p playback)
Player: Sony BDP-S500 Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 (24p playback)
Sound: Sony STR-DA5300 Receiver (7.1 configuration), Sony SSX70ED front speakers (x2), Sony SSCNX70ED center speaker, Sony SSFCR7000 surround speakers (x4), Sony SAW3800 Subwoofer, (Front) Sony SAWM500 Subwoofer (Rear)