Just got back from “Real Steel” and I must say that I really enjoyed it. This is the kind of movie you would want to see in the theatre. It opens in American theatres on October 7th but it opened up here at Al Shati Qurum in Muscat on October 6th! The action is great and a real treat to see on the big screen. The acting was especially good, particularly that of Hugh Jackman and the boy-actor, Dakota Goyo, making the movie even more fun to watch.
One recurring theme throughout the movie was of fatherhood, but more specifically of failed fatherhood or “deadbeat dads”. I think this movie is a good reflection of the failure of fathers in our generation and the increase in “disposable marriages” and “disposable parental responsibilities”. In this futuristic movie (they never actually tell you what year it’s supposed to take place), human boxers are replaced with robot boxers. Hugh Jackman plays the role of Charlie, an ex-boxer and struggling robot boxing promoter, who is suddenly in contact with his 11-year old estranged son and has to deal with the mistakes of his past. Don’t worry, I’m not about to ruin the movie for any of you who haven’t seen it! Some of the movie lines that cut to the heart of the issue of fatherhood are:
1) “That’s how you are. If something doesn’t work, you throw it away?” (not an exact quote but was the basic meaning of the line)
2) “You forget who I was. You deserve better than me…It’s for your own good, kid.”
3) “Stubborn kid!” (Charlie says about his kid) “Surprise. Surprise.” (His girlfriend says in response, meaning that he’s just like him or “a chip off the old block“.)
4) “What do you want from me?” “I want you to fight for me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.” Sad response that could describe any child’s longing for affection from their parents.
5) “You sound like your father.” (A compliment in this case paid to a female character and she smiles, loving the sound of that.)
6) “Your problem is you.” (Great truth for just about any one of us out there. We can be our own worst enemy!)
7) “I know I’ve done all kinds of wrong by this kid. I’d just like to do one thing right.”
In this movie, one important criteria to determine how long a robot fighter will last in the ring seems to rely on how durable the steel is. Atom, “the leading robot character” is special in that, as a sparring robot, his steel is very durable and he can really take a licking and keep on fighting. Likewise, the complexity of human relationships depends very much on how endurable we are willing to be with those in our lives. Are we willing to bear with the failures and flaws of others?
I recommend seeing this film in theatres while you can. I loved it and thought is was actually quite a deep movie, as well as a lot of fun! Here’s a pretty cool trailer that manages not to give the whole movie away: