Henry Louis Mencken once remarked “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” That thought came to mind this past week.
After the big O speech on Thursday night, I took a few deep breaths and settled back into my easy chair with a cold beer and some popcorn to watch the first, and what might well be the best game of this NFL season.
At one point, a commercial came on advertising a movie called “Real Steel” which by all appearances is a motion picture about giant robots that box. According to the movie’s website, the release date is not until October 7th, but for some reason I could not shake the eerie feeling that I had seen the trailer somewhere before. And then it hit me: the terrarium dwellers in Hollywood have apparently managed to make an entire film based on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
Oh. Dear. God.
What’s next? “Pong: The Motion Picture in 3-D”?
Anyone over the age of 42 remembers the original Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, a game released by Marx in 1964, in which two players used thumb-activated controls to make red and blue robots fight one another until one of their spring loaded heads popped off. Apparently, subsequent versions have been released over the years.
If your childhood was anything like mine, you played with the game until one or both of the robot’s heads no longer stayed put, at which time your mom sold it in a garage sale for a nickel. (Oh the toys we demolished! Collectors are paying top dollar for all that stuff now. I probably destroyed the equivalent of six mortgage payments worth of GI Joes)
Obviously I haven’t seen the flick. And I really should leave the movie critiquing to Michael Medved. That having been said for all I know “Real Steel” may well be a rollicking outing. The special effects certainly look impressive.
But Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots? I know not every movie can be The Seven Samurai, But Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots???? Do the great minds of tinsel town expect to roll out something that appeared under countless Christmas Trees in the 60’s and 70’s and call it a movie? Do they really think you are that dense?
Why yes, as a matter fact they do.
From my view from the cheap seats I can see two things here: One is the concept of Bread and Circuses.