Thursday, October 6, 2011
Real Steel review, a good movie with heart
Hollywood is going through an amazing transition right now. Studios are very eager to green light films with a built in audience. Movie properties with very little risk are making their way to theaters more so than risky art house pics. Real Steel is supposed to be a low-risk movie. It's based on a popular kid's game and short story. Who doesn't remember Rock'em Sock'em Robots? Well, these films are usually duds in my opinion and don't do much for me. Well, let me tell you, Real Steel was awesome! I'm excited to share what I think, so let's begin.
What I liked about the film:
Humans are the story
Hugh Jackman leads the cast as Charlie. He's a former boxer who has moved on to fighting robots. Under extreme circumstances, his 11 year old son (whom he has no relationship with) has come to live with him for the Summer. Jackman's son is played by Dakota Goyo. The relationship starts out pretty cliche. They don't like each other and they get on each other's nerves, and it's only because they're so much alike. This part of the film, we've seen before. Jackman and Goyo have a lot of chemistry together and it really shined though.
Shawn Levy does a good job balancing the action, and making sure it is there to compliment the story, not take it over. The CG is terrific, among the best I've seen in a long time. The main robot in the film is Atom, and is treated very carefully by Levy. He didn't want to make us feel too attached to the robot and lose sight of the father and the son; but you can't help but look at him as another main character worth rooting for. It didn't hurt that the fight sequences were choreographer by the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard. Nicely done.
Danny Elfman is wonderful. I had the pleasure of seeing the film early with a packed theater, and there were several scenes where a lot of clapping was going on. Just as it was with The Fighter and Warrior, the music played an essential role in the success of the fight scenes.
post announcing Levy the director. I criticized his hiring because of the films he's made in the past. The films in his past may very well be the reason he was the perfect hiring. The Night at The Museum films taught him how to use CGI to his advantage; films like Date Night, Just Married and Cheaper By The Dozen helped to focus on the human stories. The casting, score and editing were great in my opinion. All that is attributed to Levy's vision.
What I didn't like about the film:
No Real Villain
Olga Fonda plays a robot owner who is annoyed by Atom's success. She owns the undefeated, undisputed champion of all robots, Zeus (of course, right?). Like I said earlier, the director did a great job of making the movie more about the humans than the robots, so Zeus isn't really the villain. And Fonda is barely in the film, so she isn't either. I just wish there was a clear cut villain.
A lot of fun, a lot of heart