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October 7th, 2011

Movie Review - Real Steel

Real Steel

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand, Hope Davis, Karl Yune, Olga Fonda, and more...

Directed by: Shawn Levy, Screenplay by: John Gatins, Story by: Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven, Partly based on a short story. Original Music by: Danny Elfman

A washed up boxer who's been eking a living on fights using the very robots that drove humans out of the sport, gets saddled up with his estranged kid for the summer after he's hit rock bottom. When looking for replacement parts to cobble another robot together, they come across an out of date training/sparring robot named Atom that might just bring them together. (Rated PG-13)

Review: I'm a total sucker for robots. The first time I saw the preview for this film I was pumped. Rock-em-Sock-em Robots life sized - oh yeah! Then throw in Hugh Jackman, some great CGI, and Steven Spieldberg/Dreamworks, and I knew I was in for a fun ride. And it did not disappoint.

Jackman and Goyo have a great rapport which only deepens as the film goes on. The extra layer of both story and character added in by Evangeline Lilly was well done. And though silent, Atom, adds layers all his own.

The films shows kids that you reap what you sow, especially the bad stuff, but also to cling to your dreams even when you think there's no way to make them possible again.

Some really wonderful and subdued visuals. Lots of play with reflections, which I really liked. With boxing as a sport and the robots themselves, the whole production team had fun and it shows. Flashy players, battered players, players with personality. And an underdog story with multiple layers. 

The fights themselves were fun, going from just punches and destruction to the art that is boxing and just the stubbornness to stay your course. By the last fight, you'll be just as pumped as the audience in the film.

Since it's a near future in the film, I loved all the little technological touches, quite believable while still showing a world we're quite familiar with. The cell phones were rad with their crystal circuitry and batteries had definitely come a long way.

Very subtle nods here and there to the rock-em-sock-em robots and other robots from Japanese anime and manga. Beautiful integration of the CGI with Real Life as well, almost seamless. And since there was that much CGI, it makes the IMAX well worth it for extra eye popping detail.

Overall it was a fun and heartwarming film about redemption and reaching your dreams, even if not in a way you ever expected. Kid friendly, though there will be a few points that may not be too clear for them, so expect some possible questions. Definitely worth seeing.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission in IMAX)  

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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