The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Touchstone/Disney - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AV (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French DTS-HD 7.1 HR, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lily, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand, Hope Davis, James Rebhorn
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: John Gatins
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 24, 2012
"If you get one shot, make it real"
Balancing gritty action and emotional heart, Real Steel is an inspiring and visually stunning film that takes audiences on an action-packed journey. Washed-up boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) scrapes by as a small-time robot-fight promoter as he tries to make a comeback. Against all odds he eventually succeedsat least in the eyes of his son Max (Dakota Goyo). Real Steel is spectacular family entertainment that will have everyone cheering again and again.
Set in the not-so-distant future where boxing has gone high-tech and 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots have taken over the ring Real Steel is about a struggling ex-boxer and robot fight promoter named Charlie, in desperate need of cash and a winning fighter. When Charlie's estranged 11 year old son Max's mother (Charlie's ex) passes away father and son are tossed together through happenstance, happenstance that Charlie only initially sees as an opportunity to cash in for a few bucks. After a few failed attempts with bots in the ring Charlie and Max stumbles upon an old G2 series sparring bot named Atom at a robot junkyard. Charlie only sees Atom as an antiquated paperweight but Max sees potential and works on restoring him. At the point of being down and out Charlie opts to follow Max's idea to give Atom a shot at a local amateur level fight. You can guess the outcome. Spending time together on the road Charlie and Max with Atom's help form a bond through their mutual love of the sport and begin working as a team. Atom's popularity grows which draws the attention of the fight promoter's for Zeus, the undefeated WRB champion who has never gone more than one round. Putting it all on the lind Charlie, Max and Atom prepare for their biggest and most dangerous fight. Regardless of the outcome Charlie and Max have gained something much more important than money.
Conceptually speaking Real Steel reminds me of two Sylvester Stallone films, Rocky and Over the top. Both involve the underdog theme while the latter combines a storyline involving an estranged father/son thrown together who bond while on the road as the father competes in arm wrestling competitions. With Real Steel we get a similar premise set to futuristic robot boxing and a selfish promoter/ex-boxer/deadbeat Dad in need of a life lesson. The film is decidedly formulaic but works quite nicely thanks to charming performances by Hugh Jackman and young Dakota Goyo. Add a solid supporting cast (Lost's Evangeline Lily, Anthony Mackie and Kevin Durand) and excellent special effects and you have what I find to be a delightful, and heartwarming (albeit slightly corny), sci-fi action drama that strikes all the right chords.
The rating is for some violence, intense action and brief language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Real Steel comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 6 Mbps.
This is a superb looking high quality Blu-ray offering from Disney. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually engaging. Detail perception is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. Colors are lavish and eye popping with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pleasing. Flesh tones are on the warm side with fair delineation among the varied cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is good enough that I could make out plenty of discernible texture in the low lighting and dark backgrounds. The CGI based and green screen photography softens some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected. I noticed some minor digital noise against a few darkly lit backgrounds but didnt find it to be problematic.
Like the video quality The 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn't disappoint. This is an entertaining mix that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the large fight sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and resolute clarity. This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already strong dynamics. The quality of the bass is first rate as it is fills the room with clean, hard hitting, and deep resonating low frequency energy. Check out the sequence when Zeus is seen for the first time and walks by Max or later his entrance into the arena/ring in the third act. Dialogue has excellent presence with clear, defining vocal character and noteworthy room penetration. This is a reference quality audio/video presentation that offers demonstration worthy material for those who like to show of their home theater systems.
- Real Steel Second Screen: Ringside with director Shawn Levy lets viewers sync their iPad or computer with the Blu-ray movie to peel back layers of effects with progression reels, check out 360-degree turnarounds of the robots, explore seamless branching pods that delve into the cutting-edge technology used to create the fights, and much more.
- (HD) Countdown to the fight - The Charlie Kenton story (faux) documentary - 13 minutes
- (HD) Making of metal valley - 14 minute production featurette
- (HD) Building the bots - 5 minute production featurette
- (HD) Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman's champ - 6 minute featurette
- (HD) 1 deleted & 1 extended scene
- (HD) 2 minute blooper reel
- Bonus DVD of Real Steel
Real Steel doesn't bring anything conceptually original to the table however it borrows from premises that work while adding terrific special effects and charming performances from the cast. The result is a delightful and entertaining sci-fi action drama that strikes all the right chords. It makes its way onto Blu-ray from Disney in a solid offering that features reference quality audio/video and complimentary bonus supplements that feature Blu-ray exclusives. I had a good time with Real Steel and recommend that you check it out.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
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