Real Steal Blu-Ray/DVD Review
Release Date: January 24, 2012
I don’t like to spend a lot of time reviewing the actual movie when it comes to these Blu-Ray/DVD reviews because there are a ton of other sites out there that have had reviews of the movie itself since it was released in theaters, but I do want to take a second and discuss this one. When the trailers for “Real Steel” starting hitting TV and the internet I think I laughed out loud. Were they really making a movie about Rock-em Sock-em robots? Those same silly little plastic toys I used to play with as a kid… Who green-lit this bomb of a movie? Needless to say my first impressions of the movie, solely based on the trailers, were not positive at all. I had no desire to see this one in the theater and was 100% sure that it would be terrible and hit store shelves in less than 3 months.
Finally hitting Blu-Ray and DVD on January 24th, I was lucky enough to score a review copy and was forced to sit down and watch this one, and honestly, I’m glad I did. This movie is not the lame rock-em sock-em robots movie that I envisioned when I saw the trailers, but a great movie about a son and his estranged father coming together to fight for something they both realized was missing from their lives. It was actually a quite touching movie mixed in with some really cool robot fighting matches. I was extremely surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the flick.
So definitely don’t write this one off as some lame popcorn flick, it’s actually got some heart to it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the movie and may even regret writing it off when it was in the theater.
Now that Blu-Ray technology is moving out of it’s infancy, the studios are putting out better and better transfers of the movies, and this one is no exception. Everything looks amazing, the robots look amazing, the fight scenes are amazing, everything about the video is amazing. Pretty soon I’m not even going to have to put a “video” section as part of the review because there’s going to be such a high standard for blu-ray that it’s all going to be next to perfect. Except, of course, when we start getting 4k transfers on different media, but that won’t be for years to come. The video is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio as well.
Presented in 5.1 DTS HD-MA (as well as 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital) the sound quality is amazing. Every steel-on-steel crunch during the robot fights can be felt all throughout your body. The soundtrack isn’t overpowering and still allows for the voices and actors to be heard clearly during the big fight scenes. All in all I was very happy with the sound mixing on this movie and couldn’t have asked for much more.
Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story runs about 13 minutes and features interviews from “Charlie Kenton”, his friends and opponents and anyone else related to his history as a boxer. It’s just like something you would see on HBO before a big boxing match. It’s not an interview with Hugh Jackman or the actors, it’s the characters that are talking to us, telling us the back story of Charlie Kenton. I thought this was a very cool thing to throw on the special features as it brings you into the story even more when you think about the characters as real people.
Making of Metal Valley runs about 14 minutes long and takes you through everything that went into turning Metal Valley into a reality on screen. The scene when Max falls down the crater and ultimately ends up finding Atom is the basis for this featurette. This is a great behind the scenes look at the anatomy of an extremely difficult scene in the movie. So if you’re interested in what it takes to bring something like this to the screen, you’ll enjoy this featurette.
Building The Bots is about 5 minutes long and follows Legacy Effects as they create the robots used in the movie. It’s amazing to me that they actually built physical models of the robots, some of which were working, to an extent. Practical effects are always better than digital effects in my opinion, so the fact that they actually build some real scale robots for the actors to interact with is awesome.
Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ runs about 6 minutes long and follows as Sugar Ray Leonard comes in to teach Hugh Jackman how to box so that it looks like he’s a real boxer in the movie. It’s cool to see that Hugh was actually trained, as well as he could be in the given time, to be a boxer so that he fit the part and looked the part. It seems like Sugar Ray is a genuinely nice guy and it seems like they had a lot of fun training for this flick.
There are a couple deleted and extended scenes with intros by the director Shawn Levy. These are your typical deleted scenes, running about 17 minutes total in length. And of course there is the always fun blooper reel that runs about 2 and a half minutes.
And finally, if you have an iPad or a Blu-Ray drive on your computer you can take advantage of the Real Steel Second Screen: Ringside With Director Shawn Levy. Since I have neither of those devices I was unable to explore what this feature has to offer, but if I had to guess I would assume it’s some sort of interactive commentary type track that plays on your iPad while you’re watching the movie.