Posts Tagged ‘Real Steel’


Real_Steelwallpaper_resolution_real-steel-wallpaper_1Part Rock’em Sock’em Robots, part “Rocky” with a dollop of “Transformers,” “Real Steel” is a family drama about redemption, romance and robots.

Hugh Jackman is Charlie Kenton, a former boxer left behind when the game changed. To keep up with audience demand for more action promoters axed human fighters, replacing them with behemoth thousand pound battling bots. Kenton and his broken down robots barely eke out a living on the circuit, but he sees a chance at making some quick cash when his estranged son reenters his life.

Kenton makes a deal to sell his son for $100,000 to a wealthy relative. The glitch is the adoptive couple will be out of town for the summer, so he’ll have to spend three months with young Max (Dakota Goyo) until he can collect his cash. The kid turns out to be a chip off the old block—stubborn and cocky—but he loves boxing almost as much as Kenton does. When they uncover a robot named Atom at a junkyard they bond in ways neither could have imagined.

“Real Steel” is a strange movie. It’s a father-and-his-son-underdog-romance-redemption-road-trip movie with robots. The funny part is almost all the individual elements work well enough, but when they are slapped together something seems wonky.

The father and son bonding aspect works well enough, although I think if this was real life, child protective services might disagree with me on that one.

The underdog story is predictable, but who doesn’t like a bit of redemption?

The romance and the road trip aspects are played down, but are both important to the story.

Trouble is the movie is so thick with syrup—even the robot Atom has a heart of gold—that it feels like director Shawn Levy has a tendency to let his inner Spielberg get the better of him. By the time little Max says to his estranged father and boxing coach, “I just want you to fight for me… it’s all I’ve ever wanted,” the metaphors are flying thick and fast.

The movie tries to be all things to all potential audiences, and, as a result, feels like less than the sum of its parts.

Sports movies are never about the sports, they’re always about the subtext but here you have boxing robots! That’s something new—they’re not exactly Transformers—but the story insists on ignoring the cool characters—like the robot Zeus, the mechanical Mike Tyson—and focus on the more predictable aspects of the story instead.

Hugh not always so steely RICHARD CROUSE METRO CANADA Published: September 29, 2011

real_steel_hugh_jackman-wideHugh Jackman must be the envy of his drama school’s graduating class. Between the opening of Real Steel this weekend and the end of 2013 he’ll star in six films ranging from The Wolverine’s high octane action and the high notes of Les Misérables to the high comedy of Movie 43.

It seems apt that he’ll also soon be starring in The Greatest Showman on Earth because he can do it all — in between action movies he can out-sing-and-dance anyone on the circuit — but it wasn’t always that way.

“When I started acting I was the dunce of the class,” he says.

Success in school, he says, came because of his work ethic, a trait he picked up from his father.

“He never took one day off in his life,” he says. “Now, he had five kids he was bringing up on his own. If anyone deserved a day off it was my old man, but he never did. I learned that from him.

“There’s always that feeling of, ‘I have to work harder than everybody else. I’m not born Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I’ve got to just work harder and I’m prepared to do it.”

Being the youngest of five children also contributed to his outlook. “I always wanted to do stuff and not be left out,” he says, but adds, “I was quite a fearful kid, which I hated.

“I’ve always had a fear of fear. It’s a weird to think back now but drama school, it is a pressure kind of situation. People get kicked out of drama school. You are constantly being judged on how you are doing, are you progressing, are you not.

“Almost everyday you had to get up and do a monologue. Sing a song. Do it in front of everybody.

“I noticed I was always first. I never wanted to sit there waiting.

“I’m not saying that out of courage. It was too uncomfortable to sit, stewing. I don’t think I’ve told anyone else that.”

Later, fear of unemployment pushed him to expand his talents.

“When I came out of drama school I was like, ‘I’m going to do anything I can just to keep working.’ In drama school you do Shakespeare to movement to circus skills to singing all in one morning. I know a lot of people hated it but I reveled in it. I loved it. It’s weird how it evolved.”

Before Twilight, there was the Twilight Zone In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: October 04, 2011

atom_in_real_steel-wideIf the premise of Real Steel sounds familiar, it’s because the last time you saw it was in black and white, coming to you from the Twilight Zone.

“The Twilight Zone episode called Steel with Lee Marvin, written by Richard Matheson, was in the ’60s,” says Real Steel director Shawn Levy.

“It was about a robot boxing promoter, a guy who owns robots and fights them for money. From there we beefed it up.”

In its original run the anthology series mixed and matched science fiction, comedy, supernatural and occult stories usually featuring ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Hosted by Rod Serling, it was must see TV with a catchy theme song, which influenced thousands of writers and directors.

Three series and a movie have officially claimed the Twilight Zone name but dozens of other films have been either directly — or indirectly — inspired by the show.

Submitted for your approval, here is a list of movies that owe a debt to one of the greatest television shows ever:

The 1996 Kyle MacLachlan thriller The Trigger Effect was a reworking of a classic episode called The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, which shows the effects of a power failure on a neighbourhood. Named the best Twilight Zone episode by Time Magazine, the show is still shown in classrooms to illustrate how lethal a mix intolerance and panic can be. The film pays tribute to its television roots by placing its main characters at the corner of Maple and Willoughby Streets, a reference to another famous episode, A Stop at Willoughby.

The Cameron Diaz movie The Box was a remake of Button, Button, a story from the series’ 1980 reinvention and Child’s Play, the movie which introduced the murderous doll Chucky seems to have looked to a 1963 episode called Living Doll for inspiration.

Two towering artists of modern horror can count the Twilight Zone as seminal to their work:

The show perfected the use of the twist ending, which M. Night Shyamalan would later incorporate into his work. His most famous film, The Sixth Sense has echoes of Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a 1964 episode about a man who is revealed to be dead.

In Danse Macabre, Stephen King called the show “damn near immortal” and it’s been hinted that his novel Christine (later made into a movie) was inspired by the driverless car episode A Thing about Machines.