Oct 21
REAL STEEL: A MOVIE THAT LOOKS INTO THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERHOOD by Isabel Sebullen  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Oct 21, 2011

As a child, whenever I was asked whom to choose between my mother and my father, I answered them even without thinking that I cannot live without my mother. True enough, if you ask a dozen children, nine out of 12 will choose their mothers. Perhaps it is because of the nurturing image of a mother that children have this special kind of attachment. In most movies, mothers play very important role, and they do play special parts in our lives.

When I watched Real Steel at IMAX Theater in SM North, I was given the chance to reflect about father and son’s relationship, or perhaps father and daughter’s relationship. I have learned the importance of a father in a son’s life, or in a daughter’s life. Orphaned by a father at the age of eleven, this father-daughter relationship did not sink deeper into my consciousness. I did not even feel the void.

But after watching the movie, I have come to realize that fathers have important role in the lives of their children. The movie reviews of Real Steel are mixed, some critics found it a scrap, others found its real value in the message it conveys.

Real Steel is somewhat a mixture of different films. There is a touch of “Rocky” and “The Transformer” though the plot tells of a different story.

Real Steel is a film of science fiction drama genre and directed by Shawn Levy. It is film where robots play the role used to be played by humans in the boxing arena. The main character Charlie is a former boxer who participates in the sport of robot fighting. It is period where human boxers are replaced by robots since audiences want a fiercer battle inside the ring.

Hugh Jackman plays the role of Charlie, a former gladiator turned two-bit promoter, piecing together cut-rate fighting bots from scrap metal as he makes the rounds on the underground boxing circuit.

Charlie is heavily indebted to a scruffy foe (Kevin Durand), is in trouble his promoter (Anthony Mackie) and his trainer’s daughter (Evangeline Lilly) is about to give up on him because of his stubbornness. He has bad and very questionable values in life.

When his son by a former girlfriend comes into his life, he doesn’t like to have his custody but accepted him temporarily because of grease money offered to him by the husband of the sister of his girlfriend. It turned out that his son Max (Dakota Goyo), is a determined boy who will not just accept defeat.

Out of the money he got for taking care of Max while the couple goes for a vacation, Charlie bought a new robot. But this new one is not good enough to win the fight. When they look for some scrap metals, Max accidentally fell off the cliff but was saved by a metal (hand of a scrap robot). Max digs the metal and finds a robot that he diligently tries to get in spite of his father’s refusal to help. Max brings the robot and finds out it is still functioning.

The robot that they named Atom changes their fate. Atom is a robot who can follow whatever his trainer is doing. Atom, though not an attractive robot, is endearing, especially when he is doing some pre-match practice with Max.

Soon the father and son tandem wins battles with Atom, until he got a shot at the unbeaten Zeus. With a lot of struggles in the beginning of the fight, Atom was able to win the battle, but the judges score it differently, thus proclaiming Zeus as the undisputed champion. The spectators do not like the verdict and chanted the name of Atom. In his speech after the battle, Max settles for the title given to Atom, the People’s Champ.

The movie tells of the on-going reality, the changing human love for technology. It is evident that computers are now replacing people in the workplace. Gadgets are taking most of our time, and make us forget that there is human relationship to be nurtured. Children are now spending most of their time with their gadgets rather than talking with their peers and parents.

The technology of the film is very impressive. The writer was able to show the personality, boxing style, and movements of these robots that truly resemble greatest boxing moves of legends in the world of boxing.

In Real Steel, its most moving message is that: in spite of the wonders of technology, gadgets and machine cannot by itself survive, but need human maintenance to maintain its vulnerability and omnipotence in doing a human’s job.

I truly enjoyed the well-staged fighting sequences, the way I enjoyed boxing with Manny Pacquiao, but what is most heart rendering is the relationship between a father and a son where the son teaches the father real values, and not the other way around. What the film tells us, viewers, is that, we as adults, are being looked up to by younger ones. What we are doing are being imitated and what the next generation turn out to be, are our own making.

Real Steel for me is a wonderful and a touching movie, its message will even outlast the supremacy of technology. The heart is still the most powerful motivator of success in whatever endeavor people may dream, or in a battle between good and evil.

Your FEEDBACK can be posted at www.filmacademyphil.org/forum/