The Actor’s Review with a Majeliv Perspective
Opened October 7, 2011 | Runtime:2 hr. 7 min.
Some violence, intense action and brief language
Charlie Kenton – Hugh Jackman
Max Kenton – Dakota Goyo
Bailey Tallet – Evangeline Lilly
Finn – Anthony Mackie
Ricky – Kevin Durand
Deborah Barnes – Hope Davis
Marvin Barnes – James Rebhorn
Tak Mashido – Karl Yune
Russian Robot Owner – Olga Fonda
Director: Shawn Levy
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction, Sports Drama
Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo make one memorable duo. The pair stirred up audiences as their father/son movie took the weekend…
Should we be surprised this film currently dominates the box office? Probably not.
On one hand its publicized by a moderately successful marketing campaign but mostly its the universal element that strikes men and women with a truth about fatherhood and ultimately manhood.
This tale about a former boxer and his son hit an emotional nerve men will have a hard time concealing in public. The story about the ambitious robot boxer who is forced to face himself when he is reunited with his estranged son packs a one, two punch of action and real emotion.
All the signs were there of a possible box office domination, with Jackman as the leading man who controls his robot counterpart in the “Rocky-like” atmosphere setup by the small yet resilient sparring bot, Atom.
Why would names like Steven Spielberg (executive producer) and Robert Zemeckis (producer) attach to this full out action-drama?
Well, for what now seem like obvious reasons:
The action of course, but the heart expressed within the main characters convinces me the most. Subtle moments of human frailty…
…like the details of Bailey Evangeline Lilly’s character as the mechanic. She’s the supporting actress and love interest of Jackman’s character. She has just enough depth for us to see more about how Jackman’s character affected her life. It’s not just about the risk losing fights, robots or money, for her its about losing her father’s legacy, the same father that trained Charlie when he was still boxing.
Dakota Goyo, stole the show though, with obvious success he steps into Max, Charlie’s 11 yr. son, almost flawlessly. His genuine joy of dancing with his robot Atom was fascinating to watch. Plus his ability to emulate his father’s ambition with a bit more wisdom than his old man, created a tennis match of emotions between the duo that kept the story going.
Who is Swan Levy though? The director of Night at the Museum films and Date Night did an overall good job directing Real Steel. He truly put together an impressive story with a rare attention to the actor.
We can see this in shots of Jackman looking straight into the camera. This seems reminiscent of crafty directors like Mike Nichols, who trust their actors to make a direct connection to the audience with their straight on camera performances.
No doubt, that Hugh Jackman’s powerful screen presence adds a sense of reality to the story. His acting is superb. Definitely one of my favorite roles he’s done. I dare say his performance heightens the work of the cast ensemble and therefore it’s no shock I found myself so closely connected to each of them to the very end, despite some recognizable movie traits.
THINGS PARENTS SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING THE KIDS:
Language was an issue indeed. It’s not overtly used and within the context of the story it adds a sense of background on where these characters come from, the lives they’ve led thus far.
The violence and language both lend for good discussion with a kid 12 yrs or older. I would say if your 8-12 yr. kid can handle the responsibility to not misuse the language in their world, then take them.
It quite simple:
If your kids can’t handle the task, or yourself for that matter, then don’t take them.
For more family oriented info go to the Plugged In Movie Review.
THINGS I REALLY LIKED OR FOUND MOST INTERESTING
The Hear and Soul comes from Danny Elfman’s (Alice In Wonderland, The Wolfman Batman), amazing musical score. Consistent as always in his ability to capture emotion and action in a sincere way. His music carries us to a place where our lives are the character’s lives for a couple of hours in our day.
I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN, BUT THAT’s OKAY!
Despite the rather predictable story-line, I didn’t know the details as to how it would all play out. The specific moments leading the much anticipated ending were exhilarating to witness.
HUGH JACKMAN OFFERS A BIT OF MARKETING ADVICE
In one of Charlie’s lines to his son, Max, meant to encourage him to dance with his bot before each fight is misunderstood. Max thinks his dad is picking on him. Charlie tells him that people love the idea of a cute kid dancing with his bot…its appealing.
Know your audience. Be sincere and consistent. Show them humanity.
A kid enjoying life appeals to people because its real.
One review of this film on imdb.com criticizes that “there’s nothing new here, some of the same cliche details.”
But hey, it’s a decently put together film with a solid performance by the lead actor with elements addressing a greater dichotomy, the father/son dilemma.
Any reminder to the obvious issue of men failing to be real men and growing from a dark place must be supported if done with class, sincerity and of course style.
A MIGHTY MESSAGE TO MEN, ESPECIALLY TO DAD’s
Don’t give up on yourself. Especially don’t give up on your kids. Listen to them. Their eyes are your own and so their lives will impact you by reminding you of who you really are.
Perhaps that is why some men run. They can’t handle contemplating on who they truly are.
I was moved to tears reflecting on what drives me. My kids help me believe in my strength.
Keep the fight…and those kids just might be brought to tears of joy from watching you succeed in something you’re good at, something you built together.
Production info provided by Variety.com:
Camera (color, widescreen), Mauro Fiore; editor, Dean Zimmerman; music, Danny Elfman; music supervisor, Jennifer Hawks; production designer, Tom Meyer; supervising art director, Seth Reed; art directors, Jason Baldwin Stewart, Jeff Wisniewski; set decorator, Victor J. Zolfo; costume designer, Marlene Stewart; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/Datasat), Steve Cantamessa; sound designers, Warren Hendriks, Craig Henighan; supervising sound editor, Henighan; re-recording mixer, Paul Massey; stunt coordinator, Garrett Warren; animatronic supervisor, John Rosengrant; live-action animatronic and robotic effects, Legacy FX; special effects supervisor, Joey DiGaetano; visual effects supervisor, Erik Nash; visual effects, Digital Domain, Cantina Creative Digital Neural Axis, Ockham’s Razor; associate producer, Ron Ames; assistant director, Josh McLaglen; casting, David Rubin, Richard Hicks.
- ‘Real Steel’ director: Dakota Goyo brought ‘authenticity’ (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Real Steel: Review (screencrave.com)
- Hugh Jackman sees ‘Real Steel’ as father-son story (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Superfluous Codpieces and Real Steel (polarprisca.com)
- Dakota Goyo shines in Real Steel (canada.com)
- ‘Real Steel’ director: Hugh Jackman offered warmth amid the metal (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Real Steel Director Shawn Levy Talks Hugh Jackman’s “Likeability” and Getting Eminem on the Soundtrack (popsugar.com)
- ‘Real Steel’ Sequel: Hugh Jackman, Shawn Levy Weigh In (moviesblog.mtv.com)