‘Steel’ heartstrings

Pic premiered Sunday at the Gibson Amphitheater

Give Shawn Levy the story of a gritty, down-on-his luck boxer, an 11-year-old son he doesn’t want and dozens of frighteningly destructive killing machines and what do you get?

A cynicism-free heartstring-tugger of a family film.

“You know what? Someone asked me, ‘Is this like an Amblin movie?'” Levy said at Sunday’s preem of “Real Steel.” “And I said, ‘If by “Amblin” you mean pre-cynicism, pre-irony, then hell yeah.'”

There certainly is Spielbergian DNA running through “Real Steel,” as the man himself is an executive producer of the DreamWorks film that opens Friday. Judging by the reactions of the dozens of kids streaming from the Gibson Amphitheater to the after-party out back — shadowboxing and marvelling at the life-sized mockups of the pic’s fighting bots — there’s still some magic left in moviemaking minus misanthropy.

“That’s why I did it,” said the pic’s Evangeline Lilly. “Because I read the script and for the first time ever, it was pure. It was beautiful. And I had someone tell me before I took the job, ‘Why would you take that script? It’s hokey.’ And I said, ‘I like hokey.'”

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