Monday, May 23, 2011

'Real Steel' Looked Really Bad, Then Good, Then Really Bad Again

This still was the first we saw from 'Real Steel'.

I thought nobody cared.

1) Has that highly photshopped look. Pastel colors, mismatched contrast characteristics -- the robot has deep blacks and Hugh Jackman is in a fog (that implies heavy smoke or distance) even though both are the same distance from the viewer and should be lit the same, have the same contrast values. Visually confusing, takes you out of the moment. Large area of backlit smoke that serves as a backdrop is tacky. It's there to make the main subjects pop, but comes off very cheap.

2) Faces in background have been defocused. You can tell they were in sharp focus in the original image but, as that would draw attention from the main subjects, they were defocused. Looks cheap.

3) Shadow mismatch. The robot and the man cast shadows in different directions. This happens with multiple lights, but then there should be multiple shadows. There aren't. Each subject casts a single, clearly defined shadow. Incorrect, cheap, looks like shit.

At this point I figured RS would be one to skip.

Then came this trailer.

I was surprised by the quality of the CGI and changed my assessment -- the movie might be something worth watching. It did come off a bit sappy and superficially emotional, though. Whatever, it's for kids, I get that. That's what DreamWorks is all about. That's okay, I don't need to see (well, more precisely, hear) this story again. I just want the eye candy -- I'll listen to some classic rock from the 70s and turn the sound off.

Now we get this teaser poster:

It's nigh on impossible to articulate what's wrong with it, but I'll try:

1) The arm of the robot could not bend a steel cable that much. It would have to weigh, oh, as much as three cars (?) to do that. (It would have to weigh a lot).

2) Just overall cheap looking. Again, pastel, not photo-real. Crowd is very amateurish. Star effect in flashes is very sloppy, overdone, and there are too many.

3) Silly. Has something to do with 2 fingers wrapped around the cable. Looks dumb.

I know it's just a teaser but shouldn't it look better than that? Same thing is going on with the cartoony posters for 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'. What's up with that? Spend $100 million plus on production but pay some guy fifty bucks to do the teaser posters in his spare time?

So, now I'm back to 'nobody cares'. And, there's a sequel scheduled for 2014? Not sure about that. Kids are pretty smart. If RS goes up against something better it'll get its ass handed to it -- and an arm, torso, robot head, linkages and wiring.

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