Wednesday, February 1, 2012
REAL STEEL is my personal sleeper hit of last year! Nobody took it seriously, the popular joke was calling it Rock em Sock em Robots. Right out of the gate this movie didn't really seem to stand a chance. But can you really blame us? With Hollywood pumping out kid/family movie garbage like GARFIELD, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUCKS, THE SMURFS, and TRANSFORMERS 1 – 3 a movie about Rock em Sock em Robots automatically becomes a target for scrutiny. Directed by the guy that gave us NIGHT AT THE MUSSEM doesn't help matters either.
But REAL STEEL delivered. Audiences loved it! I regret not seeing this on opening night. REAL STEEL is the kind of movie you really want to see and should see with an audience so you can share that “feel good movie of the year” unity that truly defines a theatrical experience.
I love the fantasy of REAL STEEL! In the not so distant future humans are swapped out for Robots in the sport of Boxing. This idea has a kind of Japanese Anime vibe to it. I could imagine this as a sub-plot idea in ROBOTECH or something. The production design and CGI of REAL STEEL is top notch. It's very believable that this could be our not to distant future and the robots of REAL STEEL look like something that could actually be built. Unlike another series of robot films where characters are just auto parts thrown together resembling mobile auto scrapyards.
The story of REAL STEEL is the ROCKY franchise, THE CHAMP, and OVER THE TOP all put into a blender and set on puree. A struggling promoter feels he has found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top Charlie Kenton discovers he has an 11 year old son who wants to know his father.
I normally hate and cannot stand most child acting (GROWN UPS I'm look at you) but Dakota Goyo and Hugh Jackman really end up playing well off of each other and become very believable in the father and son relationship. REAL STEEL every now and then becomes the “Boy and his Robot” movie but never lingers on it very long to become sappy and annoying.
Director Shawn Levy really put himself on the map for me and I am very interested what his next movie will be just as long as it's not NIGHT AT THE MUSSUM 3.