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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel

Real Steel

Real Steel is the kind of movie you can predict at nearly every turn, yet it really doesn’t matter. Though it’s not quite my favorite film of the year, it made me feel more ecstatic at its end than any other movie of 2011. To borrow a cliché, it’s the “feel good movie of the year.” I feel so dirty typing those lame words, but it’s true.

Yes, if you’ve seen a boxing movie or a family drama, you’ve pretty much experienced this story already, but it’s such a powerful, archetypal tale. And Real Steel tells it perfectly. Every good boxing movie needs some secret weapons. This one’s got two. First, the robots. Dear god, the robots. They are so frickin’ cool. Each one featured has its own look and personality to match, but it’s Atom, the “protagonist” robot, that really gets under your skin. In a lot of ways, this is a “boy and his robot story,” and Atom’s got just enough humanity to make him feel real. The special effects are jaw-dropping, so jaw-dropping that you’ll forget you’re watching something from a computer. Best of all, they're present to serve the story... not the other way around.

But as kickass as the robots are, the movie’s real strength lies in its leads. Hugh Jackman’s played variations on his Real Steel character before and, perhaps because of that, has it down pat. He's clearly enjoying himself, which translates to the screen. The arc his character goes through is expected, but so satisfying. There’s a bit at the end that totally got me. Just the look on his face. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Then there’s young Dakota Goyo. Where do I begin? I’ve gotta be honest and say that the trailers for this movie made him out to be the typical, annoying Hollywood kid. It’s a disservice, because his performance in this movie is nothing short of astonishing. He’s got more charisma than any kid actor I’ve seen in a long time and really, really commits to his scenes. Most of the tears I shed (and there were quite a few… I’m an ultra sappy moviegoer if the movie is right) were doen to him. I just can’t believe that such a young kid can take over a film like this. It really was his from the moment he was onscreen.

So there you go. See it. It's the kind of the movie that's so much better than you'd expect given the premise. Don't expect a reinvention of the wheel, but go in to see those established wheels spinning quite productively and passionately. It's a crowd pleaser, for sure. A


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Anonymous gmisk said...

Could not disagree more...this film was awful..the acting and script was abysmal, cliche after cliche terrible dialogue after terrible dialogue. Hugh Jackman what were you thinking! The product placement was everywhere as well and a major annoyance

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Sverige said...

I'm a huge fan of Josh Groban's and listening to both of his previous CDs have moved me to tears on more than one occasion but after listening to Awake over and over again, I have to say that I'm disappointed. I can't seem to find the same Josh in this CD, I know that he's trying to modernize his music but this "new style" of music doesn't really suit him, I particularly dislike his singing falsetto, he has such a powerful voice with an incredible range, he should use it. Of all of songs, I like the February Song and as much as I love the Romeo and Juliet song, I feel that his passion is somewhat lacking. This is definitely not his best work and I'm looking forward to his next CD.

1:24 AM  

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