REAL STEEL is in the vein
of Disney/ Dreamworks family films for the 21st century. You have the down-on-your-luck ex-boxer who has a kid he doesn't
want to raise and he learns to love his son. The film features robot boxing and so REAL STEEL is a family sci-fi version
of Rocky with robots. Evangeline Lily is wasted in her small role as the love interest of the ex-boxer. He is
a down-and-out man who somewhat find redemption, but the robot boxing is the real steal of REAL STEEL.
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) travel
across the country about 10 years in the future where robot boxing is very popular. He finds out his son Max
(Dakota Goyo) is left alone after his mother is killed in an accident. Charlie doesn't want Max, but he ends up up
with him for the summer after selling Max to Max's aunt and older husband. After another robot is trashed in the ring,
Charlie and Max break into a junkyard where Max comes across an old robot called Atom. Charlie wants to sell Atom every
chance he gets, but Max believes this robot has a chance. It could even lead to a David Vs. Goliath match
between Atom and the big robot champion Zeus.
REAL STEEL is a an interesting film
which delivers on a few fronts while leaving some threads hanging like what is the level of Atom's intelligence.
Does the owner of Zeus (the daughter of a rich Russian businessman) know something about Atom that the movie never
says? I point to a scene where Atom and Max are running around the streets at night and Max asks Atom if
he can understand him. I wonder is Atom more than a programmable robot with the moves of Charlie and Max. Could
this robot boxer be independent and evolve?
REAL STEEL does have charm and the
robot boxing is impressive even though I wish the viewer saw more of the final robot boxing match and what happens
in the aftermath of the match once Max, Charlie, and Atom leave the ring. REAL STEEL has enough to
show the world as a rundown future that looks the same with robot boxing as the new form of entertainment.
If they do make a sequel, I want to see more about Atom's origins and whether Charlie will spend even more time with his son
Max. The movie has parallels to the first ROCKY and I wonder if a sequel will parallel the arc
of ROCKY 2.
The audio commentary with Director Shawn
Levy reveals details about the making of the film including a few changes like backing off from having Atom being a magical
type of robot (he decided to leave it to the audience to decide whether Atom was a self-aware robot).
The deleted and extended scenes (with introductions
by Shawn Levy) shows a different version of an early scene in the film and the excised Butterfly storyline which reveals more
about Max as a con-man while proving more character development. On one
side, the Butterfly storyline could have added more to the film and yet it could have also made the film even overlong (maybe
it will show up included back in the movie for commercial TV airings). The
blooper reel is OK. I wish they included the theatrical trailer on the
DVD and/or Blu-ray.
I wish they didn't split the making-of
extras up and only include some on the DVD. The ESPN style COUNTDOWN
TO THE FIGHT: THE CHARLIE KEATON STORY gives more background into the life of Charlie Keaton and I wish it was also on the
MAKING OF METAL VALLEY- a behind-the-scenes
look at how they filmed and created the Metal Valley scenes which are a combination of on location over four days and green
screen work to enhance it in post-production.
BUILDING THE BOTS- a look at how the film
used a combination of CGI and building the actual robots to give depth to how the robots appear in the film to make it a little
SUGAR RAY LEONARD: CORNERMAN'S CHAMP- behind the scenes with the film's boxing consultant, Sugar Ray Leonard as you see
Sugar Ray's moves being integrated into the robot boxing moves seen in the film.
It features interviews with sugar Ray, the Shawn Levy, and Hugh Jackman.
REAL STEEL SECOND SCREEN: RINGSIDE WITH
SHAWN LEVY is an interactive BD-Live
option that you need to connect the disc with the internet on your computer as it provides exclusive content not on the Blu-ray
or DVD. I like the idea of extra content, but I wish they just include
it on the discs instead.
FINAL ANALYSIS: REAL STEEL is a crowd
pleaser family film. Some extras do give excellent behind-the-scenes materials while I do feel torn a whole subplot
was deleted from the film (thankfully it is included on the Blu-ray as deleted scenes.
this review is (c)1-21-2012 David
Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org