The jokes about Real Steel being Rock'em Sock'em Robots: The Movie are still as prevalent as ever. It's seemingly the first description that pops to mind when anyone watches the Real Steel teaser trailer for the first time. So until we actually get to see exactly what director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Date Night) has conjured up, you shouldn't expect to hear the project referred to as anything else.
Since robot boxing is obviously the big selling point for Real Steel, the new featurette for the film focuses on the art of said sport - in terms of both its onscreen and offscreen mechanics (no pun intended).
When Levy has spoken about Real Steel in the past, he's described it as much more of a classic inspirational sports drama, in the vein of Rocky or The Champ, with a flashy sci-fi twist. The second Real Steel trailer focused more on that aspect of the film, but you'd be forgiven for failing to notice that amidst the footage of glistening metal warriors literally bashing one another to pieces.
Here is the official synopsis for Real Steel, for those who are curious about the plot:
A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near future [the year 2020], where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech, “Real Steel” stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, 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 (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.
For more on the futuristic world of Real Steel and how it was brought to life, check out the featurette below:
There's no guarantee that Charlie and Max's respective character arcs won't be kind of dull and predictable in Real Steel, which could fall into the trappings of many a previous effects-heavy movie that was weakened by a fairly routine plot. However, one thing should be obvious by now: The robot fights will be pretty spectacular.
Real Steel's mechanical characters have been brought to life through a very effective combination of animatronics, CGI, performance-capture technology, and real-life fighting choreography. Not only is it easy to distinguish between the various robots, in terms of appearance, but they actually look, sound, and feel all the more convincing because of that. In comparison - and despite its cutting-edge 3D visuals - even Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon was never able to create the illusion that giant metal men actually exist, with similar aplomb.
Real Steel hits regular and IMAX theaters in the U.S. on October 7th, 2011.