Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots: “Transformers” vs. “Real Steel”

12/20/2010 Posted by Admin

Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots: “Transformers” vs. “Real Steel”

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

Hollywood’s lineup for 2011 presents an onslaught of comic book movies, the return of Captain Jack Sparrow, and a couple of highly anticipated animated sequels. But let’s face it, nothing gets audiences more hype for the new year than robots -- giant freakin’ robots to be exact.

Oh, what a thrill to watch and hear the clang of computer-generated metal objects with enough artificial intelligence to outsmart the cast of “Jersey Shore” (not saying much, I suppose).  Sure, there’s a hint of patronization in that statement, but robots do have a solid box-office track record. From Mechagodzilla to “Terminator,” audiences seem to have a fascination with these metal demigods of the silver screen. Or maybe they just like watching things blow up.

Either way, movie-goers will have not one, but two chances to get their robot fix in 2011, first with “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” opening July 1, 2011, and then with “Real Steel,” slated for Oct. 7, 2011.

The trailers for both of these machine-driven, box-office heavyweights were recently released. It’s not exactly Ali-Frazier, but let’s take a look at how they size up:

First look: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” just looks silly, creating a conspiracy out of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that involves, you guessed it, Transformers. The teaser trailer doesn’t really reveal anything. “Real Steel,” on the other hand, looks like risk-free, watered-down dystopian cinema. Robots are the pawns of boxing’s future and Hugh Jackman stars as a struggling promoter looking to build a championship contender. Its gritty look is almost as manufactured as the robots Jackman’s Charlie Kenton fights with. When it comes down to it, I’m more interested in an all-out failure wallowing in absurdity (especially when it involves Neil Armstrong in an Decepticon cover-up) than a movie too tepid to get out of its own tracks.

Edge: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Director: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” brings back director Michael Bay (boos ensue), who is known for his special effects-driven blockbusters that satisfy the masses, but draw the ire of critics. “Real Steel,” however, is directed by Shawn Levy (“Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Night at the Museum”), who phones it in as much as anyone in Hollywood. In this match-up, Bay is the lesser of two evils.

Edge: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Cast: Both films seem to have assembled incredible casts. “Transformers’” addition of John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey and Frances McDormand give the franchise a glimmer of hope after the dreadful “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” But the casting of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (a Victoria’s Secret model, not an actress) and the spotty Josh Duhamel will almost surely weigh things down. “Real Steel,” on the other hand, stars Jackman, Kevin Durand (“Robin Hood”), Hope Davis, Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) and Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”). A talented and much more consistent roster. However, it’s impressive that “Transformers” could land Malkovich.

Edge: Tie

Source material: “Transformers,” as everyone knows, originates from Hasbro’s line of action figures, while “Real Steel” is based on a Richard Matheson short story “Steel.” As much as I love ’80s memorabilia and action figures, Richard Matheson wins out.

Edge: “Real Steel”

As much as it pains me to admit it, if you’re going to see one robot movie this year, it looks like “Transformers” has a slight edge over “Real Steel.”

Below are the trailers for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Real Steel.” Which do you think will come out victorious in this Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot battle?

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