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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2012

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"Real Steel" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-january-2012-steel

Synopsis

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max to build and train a robot that will defy the odds and win it all. In doing so, perhaps it will also make Charlie the father and champion that he should have been.

Specifications

  • Disney/Touchstone Entertainment
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 7 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Codec: MPEG 4
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
  • Directed by Shawn Levy
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Rock 'em, Sock 'em
  • Sex: No
  • Language: None

Commentary

I grew up on Robbie the Robot, Tobor the Great, Gort and the Lost In Space bot, so I know a thing or two about robots. The robots in this flick ranged from junk-yard mean to hi-tech sophistication and are a robot lover's dream. They exhibited individual personalities, too. Jackman played a down and out jerk of a father who ultimately changes his ways and wins back his son (Wow...I've never seen this plot device before). Goyo did a good job for a kid actor and had just enough defiance and wonder to make him work. The dancing robot scene was a bit silly for an adult, but since this movie is geared toward the adolescent crowd, I can not really object. Overall, no new ground was broken with this story (you know how it will end), but it is sure to entertain your kids with plenty of loud action scenes and a Rocky-type ending that’ll make cheer. I hope the sequel has football playing robots…that would be cool!

Technical

The production used motion capture technology used in Avatar and had boxing star Sugar-Ray Leonard choreograph the fight scenes. The robots work because they looked interesting…and real. Each robot had an actual life-sized mock that was used during many of the scenes and that enhanced the organic look and feel of the film. You really can't tell the CGI from the real one. As with almost all Disney films, this one looks pristine and detailed. Colors, such as the neon lit robots, looked great. Let's get ready to rumble- as the sound is aggressive in the robot fight scenes with lots of deep blasts and crowd noise all around. Dark scenes never got swallowed into the murkiness. I still can’t figure how Atom never got his fencing-mask face smashed in, but that’s Hollywood for you.

Extras

Includes four featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, and of course some bloopers.