Movie: Real Steel
What it’s up for: Visual effects

This is a great, feel-good movie. I enjoyed every minute of it.

It’s 2020 and the ultimate fighters are now robots instead of humans. Charlie (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer turned underground robot-fighter. He’s bad with money, makes bad bets and worse enemies. News arrives that his ex-girlfriend from a decade ago has died and the custody of the son he’s never been with is his. While accompanying Charlie, who’s trying to find a new robot, Max finds a broken down sparring bot and decides to fix him up and train him to fight.

Hugh Jackman is great, as usual, but his precocious child counterpart steals the show. Dakota Goyo plays an incredibly adorable blonde, blue-eyed adult in a child’s body. Max is his father’s son, despite never knowing him, and he brings a complementing counterpart to Charlie’s dramatic personality. Evangeline Lily is also fantastic. She plays Bailey, Charlie’s life-long friend slash on-again-off-again romantic interest.

The plot was complex and interesting. The only downside is that Charlie’s boxing back-story isn’t developed quite enough to be significant. However, we get enough of it so that its importance at the end is felt. The writing is well-done, but not brilliant. It’s very simple – but in a good way. The screenplay in general was really good.

The visual effects were really good, but nothing any more significant than Transformers. They did use some animatronics, which is great and should be done more often, but that doesn’t technically fall under visual effects.

Unlikely to win.