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Giant Robots & The End Of The World
Hugh Jackman and Rock-em Sock-em robots. This is how the world will end. Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer for Real Steel, the new movie from Night At The Museum director Shawn Levy. The description reads, “A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech,” but I interpreted it as “a movie comprised of market research and the fever dreams of an intern forced to watch every major studio movie from the past four years in a single sitting.” The premise is simple(?): Hugh Jackman, a former boxing champ, has to retire when the sport changes from man vs. man to giant robot vs. giant robot. He then, buoyed by a precocious preteen (check!), digs up an old training robot and teaches it to fight other robots for money.
Having read that, are you excited? Are you ready for Real Steel? Can you handle the excitement of a movie that looks like Transformers but has the heart of an underdog sports movie like Rocky or Rudy (or Radio. R-names!)? Also, if that’s not how they pitched this movie, they’re fucking idiots. I, for one, am not only not excited, but I feel strangely insulted. I’m not a fucking yokel. And neither are you. You are smart. You read. Maybe not books, but blogs, and maybe not newspapers, but news sites. And you don’t need to be placated to by the Hollywood studio system. And yet that’s what happens now.
This is how movies get made. Even if you liked the Hangover (and I can assure you I didn’t), you probably weren’t dying for a sequel. But you paid to see the first, so you get a second helping. Did you see Transformers out of curiosity? Well, so did everyone. Why? Because robots. Here’s 3 more! Did you go see a Kevin James movie because you saw a poster from 1000 feet away and mistook him for Chris Farley or a similarly more talented overweight comedian? Well, too bad, you are part of a trend, and now you get to see The Zookeeper, The Mall Cop, The Beekeeper, The Meter Maid, The Grocery Clerk, and of course, The Animal Husbandry Technician (He masturbates animals so you don’t have to!).
Back to the fighting robots. What did we do to inherit this? What happened? Remember when, um… wait were movies ever good? What is going on? Has it always been like this? So crass and blatant and full of product placement, piled high in the background of shots like so many of Jeremy Piven’s hair plugs? Am I just a grandpa? Are rock-em sock-em robots cool? Is Kevin James hilarious? Is Ken Jeong the future of stereotype-based hilarity? Is this where I admit that I’ve never seen The Godfather, Jaws, Rain Man, Top Gun, Raging Bull, and none of the Lord Of The Rings movies? Aw, fuck it, I gotta run. I’m late to the 2pm screening of Pirates 4.