Forget 'Iron Man's' fighting prowess, check out his computers

<i>Iron Man</i> has plenty of digital special effects, good acting, and great production design, but the futuristic computer scenarios will grab the attention of the geeks.

Dan Farber

I saw Iron Man (cool Web site) on Sunday, joining the hordes who contributed to the $100 million dollar plus opening of the film. The movie was a blast so to speak, and Robert Downey Jr. was outstanding in the lead role. It has plenty of digital special effects and great production design, especially the futuristic computer usage scenarios.

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment

Minority Report has some interesting computer usage scenarios, but Iron Man is far more sophisticated. It's difficult to describe the digital systems, but they are artificially intelligent (pass the Turing Test), and allow Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, to design, fabricate, and control very complex gear, with voice commands and hand movements, in matter of weeks, not decades or centuries.

There were some old-fashioned keyboards and command line screens along with advanced 3D user interfaces and heads up displays, but no Google searching, Twittering or iPhoning. The cars (Audi paid for the new R8 to have featured role in the movie) were very ordinary but fleet.

A note to movies goers: the jumbo popcorn with the free refill has been suspended due to the rising cost of corn and production of ethanol, at least at my theater.

See Metacriticfor reviews of Iron Man.