Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Goddamn Robocop Reboot

Alternate title: "I Wouldn't Buy That For A Dollar!" The trailer for the reboot of Robocop is like the wet dream of Hollywood financiers, it is the kind of movie they dearly wish every movie could be. It will be released, it will make money and it will be forgotten. It very much appears to be a movie made by committee and I am more certain that the words ‘more like Batman’ were used during each and every brainstorming session for this film than I am certain that I am a person that is alive and typing this excessive complaint session.

I don’t have a problem in theory with updating the look of Robocop for something more modern, but it rankles that they so blatantly wanted it to look like the Batsuit. Things like this happen because, and this is not hyperbole, the money making people at the top of any business are soulless husks with no concept of creativity who are completely incapable of understanding why something does well except on the most superficial level. Thinking about the factors that made Christopher Nolan’s movies a success for more than twelve seconds is a waste of time. And time is money. And also it makes their brain place go ouch. Which leads to all these movies that have followed the Batman films where the protagonist wears black because Batman wears black or the title has the word Dark/Darkness in it because ‘The Dark Knight’. This is the level of respect movie executives have for your intelligence. It’s a wonder they even think you can walk into a cinema without accidentally eating your own feet.

Robocop is caught in an explosion that causes severe burns to 80% of his body yet miraculously his face is 100% damage free. The original Robocop rarely showed his face, to emphasise how he had become inhuman, cold, almost…robotic. Newbocop’s face is all over the trailer, because you have to get your money’s worth when you pay for such a huge actor as Joel Kinnaman? I guess?
Robocop appears to be having trouble with his formerly impossibly idyllic homelife. A robot is yelled at to ‘talk to your son!’ like we’re watching a soap opera. Guys, I think they’re trying to tell us something. It’s almost like he’s losing his humanity or something. The idea that a movie could be less subtle than something from the 1980’s is kind of insane.  

The original movie had a character called Anne Lewis, Robocop’s former partner who was distressed by his death, struggled with his return and acted as a link to his humanity without any real romantic implications. This movie has a weepy wife because if you don’t have a love interest people will get confused. You need a woman to rescue and love and shit. As another blogger quite accurately put it, “In the new Robocop, they keep Murphy’s wife and kids around because executives can’t understand that the concept of humanity itself is worth fighting for.” From what I can gather, they’ve turned Anne Lewis into Jack Lewis.  Can’t have a woman in a strong supporting role. Not unless she wants the Robo-D.

The excessive violence of the original served a purpose to the story director Paul Verhoeven wanted to tell. It fed into the satirical tone that helped Robocop stand out against other 80’s action movies and what’s more, it demonstrated that the Detroit of the film was a hopeless cesspool, exactly the kind of environment that might lead to violent robots being used to fight crime. For today’s name brand franchise building action movies, ‘story’ and ‘themes’ are the stuff you put up with to get the lucrative sponsorship deal. Sure, violence is great and all but if you make it too violent you won’t get that lucrative teenage dollar, so the movie is PG-13. They did the same thing with the later Die Hard sequels and surprise, surprise it led to inanity. It might not seem like a big thing but you rarely get great creative endeavours out of something designed to please as many people as possible. I could go on and on but I think I’ve already said too much. It’s going to be another blandification of a Verhoeven classic that will be forgotten almost as quickly as it comes out. I’ll always have the original Robocop, which was an actual movie and not just a means to a Happy Meal toy.

Do they still make Happy Meal toys?

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