Saturday, July 21, 2012


On the least level, I'm a sucker for sports movies. It's a weakness. I'm not sure where it comes from.

I'm also a relatively new father, and I recently lost my father, with whom I had a difficult relationship with.

And I love robots fighting.

So Real Steel was kind of hardwired to push my personal buttons, so I'm not sure if my review would be useful.

I liked it. It pushed all of my buttons.

It seems like it rushed through some beats, but it worked.

For me, at least.

The most popular dismissal seemed to have to do with the possibility of it being too similar to the game Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Now, I see why this might be a concern for Mattel, but I'm not sure I understand why it would be for the rest of us.

For what it's worth, it really is a Rock' 'Em Sock 'Em Robots movie. The robots heads even fall back as they're about to lose.

I suspect the Richard Matheson story, Steel, upon which it hangs it's concept keeps DreamWorks safe enough. The story first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in May, 1956, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots came out in 1964, according to my intensive Wikipedia search.

Mind you, I'm not sure I've ever read the story, and its been some time since I've seen the Twilight Zone episode that had previously used it as a basis. I'm only modestly interested in doing either at this specific juncture, although I'm a huge Matheson fan, so I expect I'll get to it one day.

But outside the potential for stretching legalities and pushing the limits of the concept of adaptation, what's the problem with Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots: The Movie?

I love Robot Jox by the brilliant Stuart Gordon - Yeah, fellow Cult Movie fans, I still love Robot Jox more than Real Steel, don't worry! - and it's clearly a riff on that idea as well.

People made the same argument about Battleship.

I think Battleship should also be no trouble to turn into a movie. I don't know about the Transformers inspired alien invasion idiocy that they used for the actual movie Battleship. That doesn't seem sensible on any level.

To me, the obvious pitch is a classic World War II naval battle movie like Run Silent, Run Deep or The Enemy Below. Yeah, even if that was a sleeper hit and critical success, it'd probably make less than the faux-Transformers one that everyone hated.

We officially live in a very strange world.

But luckily it's a world in which I have multiple choices of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots movies, and that now includes one I can watch with Conan on my lap in a few years and get weepy, try to hide it from him, and tell him all about his grandpa the blacksmith. For me, that's pretty cool.

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