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Iron Man: Rise of Technovore Blu-ray Review

iron-man-rise-of-technovore-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English & French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Portuguese, Spanish, & Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1 (1  x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Run Time: 99 Mins.
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 16, 2013
  • List Price: $30.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

 

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Iron-Man-Rise-of-Technovore-BD_01

Marvel Entertainment just can’t seem to catch up to the level of quality that their rival DC has been able to achieve with their animated productions, so it makes sense for them to shake things up a bit by turning to Japanese anime production house Madhouse to help create something more edgy and adult-oriented for one of their most popular characters, Iron Man. The end result of this collaboration is nothing short of astounding when it comes to the graphic imagery and onslaught of action that Iron Man: Rise of Technovore yields. For some folks unfamiliar with the anime style in general, this may at first be off-putting since this creates a different world, completely different vibe and offers a different visual aesthetic than most are used to in the West. It’s also just bit edgier and adult-oriented. This is less Saturday morning cartoonish and more Animatrix, if you will.

That’s where the good stops and the problems begin. It’s one thing to create a visually innovative world for Iron Man to inhabit, but it’s another thing to create a story for viewers to care about. Somehow, this story just doesn’t jibe with the Iron Man world. It has all the earmarks of a good anime – surreal, dreamlike sequences, almost philosophical villains, oversexed women – but even with Iron Man, The Punisher, and Black Widow all together for one story, it fails to hold our interest for a sustained period.

Rather than taking the visual style of the anime world and creating a fantastic superhero epic, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore feels like an Iron Man story wedged into a mecha storyline, high-flying mechanical dogfights, a cybernetic antagonist, and, in typical anime style, a somewhat disjointed storytelling style that doesn’t quite fit this 90-minute superhero format.

The story as such finds Tony Stark launching a new powerful satellite system that is blown up by a terrorist attack. When he goes looking for the responsible party, one Ezekiel Stane, with the help of vigilante The Punisher, Iron Man finds himself targeted by S.H.I.E.L.D. as a criminal. He must battle his allies in S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the cybernetic enemy Stane to help save the world.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Iron-Man-Rise-of-Technovore-BD_02

While the quality of the animation from Madhouse cannot be argued against in any way, as mentioned previously, it does also have that typical, highly stylized anime look that doesn’t always yield the most spectacular high definition imagery, despite a rather high bitrate AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement in this case. They’ve opted for a very diffuse, often soft, and sometimes noisy-looking appearance. While this is not an issue with the transfer, the animation never really looks crisp or three-dimensional. At least there are no real issues with color banding or aliasing to be found.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Iron-Man-Rise-of-Technovore-BD_03

I implore everyone out there to give this one a watch with the Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack. Not only is it 24-bits versus the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track’s 16-bits, but this is a Japanese production after all and the voice acting is vastly superior to the English voice acting. That said, the track is an aggressive one that is perfect for showing of that home theatre sound system, whether you go for the Japanese or English. Explosions fill the room and sounds attack from every angle. Dialogue is clear and stays above the fray while atmospherics are lush. The disc is also supplied with a French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) dub and Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

Iron-Man-Rise-of-Technovore-BD_04

Not much is provided here outside of two brief featurettes and an art gallery with early sketches, which will be cool for animation fans to look through.

The supplements:

  • UltraViolet
  • Conceptual Art Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Tale of Technovore (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:26)
  • S.H.I.E.L.D.: Protecting the Marvel Universe (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:19)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Iron-Man-Rise-of-Technovore-BD_05

I was excited about this Iron Man project from Madhouse, but the end result is somewhat of a letdown given the middling story. The artwork, animation, and sound design are beyond reproach and so is the Japanese voice acting. The story, however, is middling, and so is the English voice cast, for those who would prefer to listen that way.

 Additional Screen Captures

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Iron Man: Rise of Technovore - Widescreen AC3 - Blu-ray Disc

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BestBuy.com:
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore - Widescreen AC3 - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Iron Man: Rise of Technovore on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

 

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