From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Principal Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

Remaking Iron Man

My 7-year-old recently watched the first Iron Man movie and part of the 2nd. Afterwards, he was inspired to re-create the film. He does this. We’ve done Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and Jumanji. Iron Man is the just the latest.

This whole process has yielded a few discoveries.

First, I’m impressed that he can tell that Iron Man 2 is not a great sequel. I mostly expect when he’s watching this stuff that he’s watching for the action scenes, but about 30 minutes in, he was not impressed and wanted to turn it off. So he’s picking up on more than I’d expect (or it’s a much worse movie than I remember).

Second, iMovie is incredibly good. I don’t think it has gained a lot of new features in the last few years, while Apple’s attention has been elsewhere. But it’s shocking how high-quality the output can be with minimal effort. I haven’t played with these tools for over a decade, and while I knew that this technology was democratizing media creation, it’s been fun seeing it personally.

I remember all the complaining when iMovie ’08 was first released and introduced the magnetic timeline. People were upset that their muscle memory for slicing and dicing was replaced with a “Toys-R-US” version of movie editing. The complaints continued when this style of timeline was introduced to Final Cut Pro X.

Personally, I’m a convert. Apple clearly made the right decision even if it made a vocal minority unhappy. The speed in which you can throw together a movie is incredible.

Since 2008, they responded to a lot of the feedback and they’ve added lots of great stuff. Combining free and open-source explosion and beam effects from YouTube with iMovie’s minimal support for Chroma keying essentially gets you Iron Man (at least through the eyes of a 7-year-old).

The 7-year-old also had some choice quotes during our busy production schedule. I’ll catalogue some of them here: