Something Kind Of Cool And Creepy Was Cut From Real Steel

As someone who digs sports and giant robots, I hope I'm not the only person who is a fan of Real Steel. The 2011 Hugh Jackman film about robot boxing is one of those predictable but fun Hollywood films designed to give you goosebumps. And it really would have done that, had a certain moment not been deleted.

This week in Los Angeles, Collider held a screening of the film followed by a discussion with director Shawn Levy. (He of Uncharted and Stranger Things fame.) During the talk, Levy admitted there was originally a moment in the film when Atom, the main robot in the film, revealed he was sentient.

There was a whole moment -- I think it's OK to say all this now that it's been five years -- but there's a moment where, before the fifth round of the final fight, they're like, "We're throwin' in the towel, it's over," and Max and Charlie are arguing, and we see Atom in the background raise his finger and give like a "one more time" gesture. In script, you're like, "That's fucking awesome! That's gonna be goosebumps! It confirms the sentient nature of Atom." But when we put the movie together, it felt like, as warm-hearted as the movie was, that was one degree too fairy tale for that movie.

I'm of the mind that Levy's instincts were right. The movie is never about the robot. It's about the father and son connecting through the robot and adding even a hint that the robot is, itself, aware, would change that. The fact they toyed with him being aware is a nice piece of trivia, though. I'm very curious how that would have played out later.

Now, if you're still with me, you're probably a fan of this film. (Hi, two other people!) Anyway, at the screening Levy also talked about the sequel, which has long been rumoured. Basically, when the first reactions to the film came in, they began to develop the sequel. In the years since, though, no one has been able to come up with an idea that was worthy of making. Here's Levy:

The simple truth, the most concise truth I can express, is that it proved, and it has proven, really hard to come up with a sequel that doesn't feel like a re-hash of the first movie. Yeah, people wanted to see Atom beat Zeus, I would love to see Atom beat Zeus, but you don't want to retell the story of kind of an alienation between Charlie and Max because that is really the plot of the first movie.

The director also added that, rewatching the film, he feels that's probably for the best.

I have to tell you, I had a weird experience watching it tonight because on one hand it felt really good to revisit an old friend, but it also weirdly cemented my conviction that I just shouldn't make a sequel unless I'm sure it will be better.

You can read more from the director at the below link.

And, by the way -- Real Steel is a fun, underrated sci-fi sports movie. Check it out.


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    Such a great movie, full of hidden feels. I hope they find another part of this story worth telling!

    Now, if you're still with me, you're probably a fan of this film. (Hi, two other people!)
    I'm the second. I liked this movie and Chappie as well. The problem these days is that instead of creating a story that can be divided into a trilogy, these days if a movie is a unsuspecting hit, they try and force a sequel or trilogy when they really shouldn't, and it clearly shows in the lack of story and imagination in the second and third movies.

    If you want a sequel, just copy Rocky 2... Or have Zeus and Atom (somehow) work together (he loses/wins ownership?) and go straight to Rocky 3.

    I enjoyed this film for what it was but I have to admit to not remembering much of it.

    Chappie on the other hand was a frustrating experience.

      Why did you find Chappie frustrating? I really love that movie.

      I class Real Steel as a guilty pleasure. I feel like I shouldn't like it (because it's kinda disneyfied sentimental pap), but I actually did. I think having Jackman in it certainly helped, not sure it would have worked with just anyone.

      I felt Chappie was kinda frustrating too. I didn't mind it, but it felt... I dunno, wrong somehow. The fact the robot falls in and identifies with the criminals maybe. Hard to pin down a single problem.

      I thought the biggest problem with Chappie was the relationship between the "Die Antwoord" and Dev Patel's characters. It was just utterly unrealistic. They kidnap him and then let him go? And then let him come back again? It was just weird, they were fugitives and never thought he would rat them out? I agree, it had some great moments, but I couldn't get past the script, it just wasn't solid enough.

    I agree. I'm glad they didn't take that last step. I feel like they left it open enough that the viewer can decide whether he/it was sentient. That promotes the toy-story-esque message that things we love can be meaningful and beneficial to us whether they love us back or not. Atom helped Father and Son connect - does it matter whether he knew he was doing it?

    Recycle the Horse Whisperer?

    Atom gets destroyed saving son from death, but son loses legs / is paralised.
    Atom is rebuilt as artificial legs / walking frame, giving son the independence he needs in time to leave father & go off to college.

    Big battle finale is replaced with big dance at the school prom.

    Awful. Re-watching? I didn't get half an hour through the first viewing before determining I had about a million things I'd rather do than endure the remainder of a formulaic undeserving-father redemption story.

    If you like sport and robots, watch Battle Bots. It's more real than Real Steel.

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