Today, I’m not gonna talk about comic books. Instead, I wanna tell you about a pretty good little movie called Real Steel. And I’m not even going to spoil it, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.
Now, it’s not the greatest movie that was ever made. Not even close. But, it’s well done, and although the story is basic, it still holds water. The movie is definitely science fiction and exists in a not too distant future where human boxing has been replaced by robot boxing. Hugh Jackman stars along with Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost, duh) and with relative newcomer, Canadian child actor, Dakota Goya (at age 12 it’s ONLY his third major motion picture to co-star in-slacker!) But seriously, the plot is all about the characters, and it maintains this near perfect balance of sci fi and down-to-earth. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of cool things to look at in this movie (besides Evangeline), with the movie more than a little reminding me of a game from my childhood, Rock’em Sock’em Robots (Look it up–It was loads of fun).
So, here’s the thing. The movie was good. The acting was good. The special effects were very cool. They blended in perfectly with the rest of the normal world of the movie. But really, the premise and the real heart of the humans were what made this movie. And who do you think came up with the premise and the real-world dilemmas the characters faced in this not-so-normal backdrop? Just this guy named Richard Matheson, that’s who. Matheson wrote a couple of stories here and there. A few of them were even adapted into movies.
Ever heard of A Stir of Echoes? The Incredible Shrinking Man? The Box? Somewhere in Time? The Legend of Hell House? I AM FRIGGIN LEGEND? (Made into not one, but three different movies through the years). Those were all his. And you know what else the guy wrote? Just one of the best episodes of the original Star Trek ever–The Enemy Within. The one with the evil Kirk! And fourteen episodes for The Twilight Zone series, including Steel (from which “Real Steel” was adapted), and…wait for it…the famous episode (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet) with the creepy monster on the wing of the plane driving a young and relatively unknown actor named William Shatner out of his mind with horror. Oh and, Matheson also wrote the introductory and closing statements spoken by Rod Serling.
This guy friggin rocks. And for that reason alone, if for no other, you should go see Real Steel, or at the very least, watch it when it comes out on DVD and BluRay, etc. They don’t make too many science fiction stories like this anymore, just like they don’t make too many science fiction writers like Richard Matheson anymore either.