Real Steel

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Movies to see before you die, Reviews | Tags: , , , |


First of all, a big thank you to the couple of hundred of you who’ve carried on visiting this site despite my appalling lack of updates. I won’t whine about my degree anymore.
Today I went to see Real Steel at the IMAX. This was a doubly exciting experience because a) It involves Hugh Jackman teaching robots how to punch each other and b) I’ve never been to the IMAX before.

When I first saw the trailer for Real Steel, my first thought was this looks like the one cool bit of Transformers but with very little chance of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, which can only be a good thing.

Having just returned from the cinema all I have to say is this: YYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Real Steel is the cinematic equivalent of drinking 8 cans of Red Bull.  I am on such a buzz right now that I’ve completely forgotten about how earlier today I basically fell asleep trying to write-up my lecture notes.  A significant proportion of the film is given over to people yelling/cheering/screaming and one epic moment of Hugh Jackman shouting “BRING IT!” that it’s almost impossible to resist joining in. If I hadn’t been scared that I would be thrown out I probably would have been on my feet on numerous occasions.

It’s just the perfect adrenaline junkie movie. It opens with a robot fighting a bull. Seriously. Bot vs Bull. Who get’s away with that?! But it’s amazing. And every fight is so ramped up and energy fuelled that you can’t help but get sucked in. I think the IMAX’s epic screen definitely helped with that, and I strongly recommend you see this movie in a cinema on the biggest screen you can, but on top of that the camera angles put you right in there with the baying crowd so that you feel the full force of every mighty hydraulic assisted punch.

Scratch the surface of this film and you wont find much, but that’s exactly what makes it so good. I was a bit worried at first when Hollywood staple plot padding the good ol’ Daddy Issues were brought in to add some drive, but thanks to perhaps my favourite on screen kid ever (Dakota Goyo, who looks so much like baby Anakin Jake Lloyd I almost don’t believe he’s a different person) it never gets in the way of the steel crunching action that we all came to see.

At times the dialogue is so cheesy it’s practically painful.  But you don’t care. This is a film that doesn’t take itself seriously. Even Hugh Jackman plays most of it with a wry smile on his face that says, “Yes, I’m boxing with robots, but don’t pretend you wouldn’t rather be watching this than some deep and meaningful awards chaser.”  He’s not exactly stretching his acting muscles, but given how ripped the rest of him is in this movie I think we’ll let him off.  When it does get it right though, there are some really nice moments, my particular favourite being the exchange between father and son at the door, which has all the right sign posts for the classic redemption arc but with none of the saccharine.

Evangeline Lily is basically there to cry, cheer and wear shorts. She does all these things very well.  But this movie isn’t about her. Strip it down and you’ve got your basic underdog fighter claws his way to the top. The  twist being that our junkyard dog is literally a heap of scrap metal.  Huge kudos though for doing what Transformers never could and getting me to care about a lump of iron. I don’t know whether it was the blue doe eyes or the fact that he was serving as the personification of our estranged family, but I really wanted that little robot to keep swinging punches.

The plot is predictable as expected, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t engaging. The big final showdown fits pretty much to formula, but I was still holding my breath every time things took a turn for the worse and equally thrilled when Jackman step up for the big finish.  The one thing that did surprise me I don’t want to spoil, but for those who have seen it, the way they capture Atom’s “flair” is definitely the best thing to happen on a big screen in a long time. 😉

The look of the film is also impeccable. The CGI is seamless and interacts beautifully with the surrounding environment. The setting in the not-too-distant future is also good, with references to historic fights in the late 20-teens, allowing the super advanced tech to seem that little bit more plausible.

As you can probably tell from this stream of consciousness set of superlatives, I’m still on a pretty big high from this film, but I wanted to write this as soon as possible to try to get that feeling across to you. What we have in Real Steel is a flawlessly uplifting popcorn movie that I could happily watch on repeat without ever getting bored. It doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. It’s Hugh Jackman punching robots. And it’s fricking awesome.

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4 Responses to “Real Steel”

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haha! you almost won me over. well, not really. Hugh Jackman punching robots.. i think ill pass

Come on, it’s amazing! The best thing about is it that it’s a completely stupid idea. Mindless fun. I think you’d love it. 😛

I’m with Katie here… ended up giving this 9/10. Saw it with a few mates and loved every second of it. Will be watching again, and again, and again…

Me too, it’s just a brilliant bit of action junkie fun. I can’t wait for the DVD 🙂

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