I'm glad people recognize that Robocop is perfect (via rediscovery through criticism of the new one), but Robocop isn't just about the violence, which everyone seems to cite as "cartoonish" and "over-the-top" anyway. The remake retains the majority of elements from the first film, and has just as much violence, just no after effects blood that seem to constitute an R rating today. The story is what drives Robocop, and the new one has it, only they transmute all the Anyone who wanted to just go see the same Robocop done by someone else, should watch the new Oldboy instead. It's pretty much the original, but translated for people who don't like to read subtitles (I still like Spike Lee, but meh).
I love how people never questioned Nolan's Batman reboot, were fine with a Spider-Man reboot after 5 years, and watch superhero movies in general to spawn an endless analysis parade of character psychology and the philosophical content in them, but for this discussion, all it ends up being is some version of "I just watched Robocop with the commentary on for the first time, and it is so good. They're only remaking it to make money."
PegLegPete - 2014-02-14 I don't see it that way. The story was not what drove Robocop - it was a fast paced plot, over the top action, interesting characters, and satire/comedy dosed with a nice splash of man/machine philosophy. It's a fuckton of stuff executed amazingly and I doubt any filmmaker could get something like it greenlit by a major studio today. But I will watch the new one because of your comment.
infinite zest - 2014-02-14 I do remember people talking shit about Batman Begins, including myself, before I saw it or before it even came out. There was word that it was going to be a more verbatim Batman Year One, rated R and directed by Darren Aranofsky. Then I was like "holy shit!" once I saw it. People would constantly compare it to the Burton one, saying Burton's was better, and it wasn't really until the Dark Night that the tides were turned.
In Spiderman's case, I didn't care for the reboot because honestly I liked all 3 of Raimi's (yes, even the third one.) It was being shown for free in a park though and I was half in the bag myself (hehe) so I left the park. But it wasn't offensive, I just knew what was going to happen. In Robocop's case, 1 was, and is one of my favorite movies ever, 2 was.. ok.. I didn't even see 3. In that way it's more like the Batman reboot, which went from Burton's dark campy Batman to.. well.. Batman and Robin.
I like how they bring up Dredd, which was and is one of the best movies ever, but I didn't want to see that one either because of bad associations with the Stallone vehicle, and loved the comic books, which went on in their violent Megacity glory as if the original hadn't happened. In Robocop's case, you had one great movie, a bunch of shitty comic books, cartoons, videogames, all this shit for an archetype that was pretty much a cop that is a robot.
I'll see the new one, but probably not until it goes to the 3 dollar theatre. Judging by the reviews, that should be pretty soon, but it looks good. Then again, I liked Wanted, so who knows.
Bort - 2014-02-15 The difference between "Robocop" and the superhero movies is, "Robocop" didn't exist before its movie, so the question is whether a second movie can serve as a better movie version of Robocop than "Robocop". With Spider-man and his 50 years of comics, or Batman and his 70 years of comics, I can at least wonder what themes and characters and framing and tone they're going to leverage.
Mind you, I have no particular objection to remaking "Robocop", beyond the expectation that they should have something valuable to add, and I will be critical if they miss the point of what they're doing. Take, for example, "The Karate Kid" and its remake. In the original, Danny wins the big match by doing a crane kick versus Johnny's hard/merciless attack, and it tells you everything you need to know about the two characters in just one quick climactic moment. But in the remake, they went the route of having Danny do a physics-defying leap that they intended to be super extra awesome, but completely missed the point of the original.
candyheadrobot - 2014-02-15 they transmute all the satire to fit google and apple, instead of some faceless corporation like in the first film^
I need to not type while cranky.
@PegLegPete When I said story, I meant just that much. You couldn't have any of that without Murphy going from cop to appliance, and what kind of world would reduce a man into a thing? Read the original draft of Robocop (technically 4th), the last thing Neumeier and Miner were thinking about was "wouldn't it be cool to make a movie about a cop who was a robot?"
@infinite zest Examples aren't my strong suit, but my ideas stem from working at a theater when Batman Begins came out. I had anime and nerd friends alike who wanted to see that over everything else, and people asked me to get them in for free before and after it came out, so maybe my view is stilted. Spidey did get flack, but after it came out, I didn't notice a lot of people comparing it to Rami's (which I liked as well), it seemed to be more or less judged by it's own merit and that's what I don't get about this commentary on the new Robocop. I say it almost every time the thing shows up here, Robocop is my favorite movie. I can tell by the commentary on the film, that not a lot of people see it the same way I do, so it's sort of mind boggling to me, as a person who watches Robocop at least 3 times a year, that I'm in the minority when it comes to the remake. ...Ok, maybe that's why. Regardless, Imho, Robocop is a perfect film, but it's perfect because it's good sci-fi, which is a story that's predictive/speculative of the future but deals exclusively with the human condition. As the original is already established, all that's necessary for the remake to achieve that much, is to retell the story accurately, but all I'm seeing in the comparison, is the entire weight and longevity of a classic being levied at it's decedent for not being "as good" or otherwise "the same". This isn't Total Recall taking place on Earth, with an elevator running through it, and some random girl who has three boobs for no reason at all besides "that's what was in the original". Not at all the same situation, so it becomes irritating to me when I hear people who swear by a Saturday morning cartoon with a two hundred million dollar budget, haphazardly weighing in on something that's clearly on another playing field altogether.
I too think Dredd was one of the best actioner of the last 10 years, and enjoyed Wanted more than the comic, so hopefully I wouldn't have led you astray in regards to this being good.
@Bort I see what you're saying, but in essence, doesn't the original film as well as the iterations of media since, have a similar effect upon the new project? I didn't mean to draw the direct comparison from superheros to Robocop, just people's attitudes towards films being remade or rebooted, you're definitely right about what a remake or sequel should do though.
Bort - 2014-02-15 This all makes me wonder why you'd bother to remake a good movie anyway, except for the money. It's like a few years back, when Showtime did "The Lion in Winter" starring Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close. That WOULD be the definitive take, except the definitive take was done in 1968, with Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn (and Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton). Why remake something you are likely to fall short of?
SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-02-15 Nolan's Batman had the advantage of riding the popularity of a resurgence of the comic, a good animated series, and following a complete clusterfuck of sequels that made Adam West's TV show look as gritty as "The Wire."
After it sat out and we could get a good look at it, Nolan's Batman had several things that needed work, including that effing bat-voice he had Bale do and the fact that he turned Batman from a shadowy detective into a one-man wrecking crew who endangered (and probably killed) more people than he helped. Not to mention he had the misfortune of putting out his third film with DC wanting to compete with the Avengers, which means it was too late to make the movie establish a larger DCU and remained just as pointlessly self-contained as all of the previous movies.
I think it's not that fans don't care about Spider-Man, they've just stopped giving a shit. It's not being put out by Marvel/Disney, so it's got "contractural agreement to keep the rights" and "this will be rebooted when we need to renew our hold on the IP" stamped all over it. It might have some neat bits in it. but it's getting pretty far from even the weirdest versions of the comic.
asian hick - 2014-02-15 "...why you'd bother to remake a good movie anyway..."
Because you want to say something different you doofus.
Bort - 2014-02-15 "Because you want to say something different you doofus."
Yeah like that remake of "The Lion in Winter" which ran EXACTLY THE SAME SCRIPT.
Christ, for someone who loves to play like you're smarter than the other guy, you really are stupid.
asian hick - 2014-02-15 I wasn't talking about the Lion in Winter, you idiot. That's your example but you realize remakes do not all hew to the same script, right? Why, for example would someone remake a Shakespeare adaptation? After all, there's already definitive adaptations of King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, etc. Let's ask Akira Kurosawa, who remade King Lear and changed a story about familial betrayal to a consideration on the Hobbesian nature of power. His remake also served to bring the story to a new and different group of people--another reason to remake a story.
Gmork - 2014-02-15 Honestly, the Dark Knight only has about three good scenes in it. I shouldn't have to tell you which. The rest of it left me wanting.
At least they backed off from their SUPER IN-YOUR-FACE JUMP-CUT FIGHT SEQUENCE EDITING. The third movie is irredeemable.
asian hick - 2014-02-15 Also, your implication that two movies can't say something different if they have the same script, betrays an appalling lack of understanding of acting and film in general. Consider the sentence "Look, I'm not trying to threaten you." In the hands of a skilled actor, that sentence could be played at face value, it could be sarcastic, it could be threatening, it could be played for laughs--just for starters.
The way a set of skilled actors emphasizes certain words, downplays others, inflects in a certain way or at a certain volume can convey all sorts of different meanings to the same script compared to a different group. Your contention that "Once you've seen one good Shakespeare adaptation, you've seen them all. They can't possibly say anything new," is really dumb. You don't usually sink to trolling but you're really making me wonder, here...
Bort - 2014-02-15 You're reaching, asian hick. I stated an opinion and gave an example to clarify what I was talking about (a shot-for-shot remake of a classic movie), and because your brain is equal parts stupid and smug, you missed the point, and started arguing about something else. Now that you realize how retarded you were/are, you're trying to make like you had something worthwhile to say.
It's possible to have two different takes on the same basic subject matter, fair enough. It's a point even I made earlier in the thread. But if all you have is stupidity and loud noises to add to a film -- you know, like you're adding to this thread -- don't even bother.
infinite zest - 2014-02-15 Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake came close to ruining his reputation, while Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet helped propel him into stardom. There's good and bad remakes (I don't bring up Ethan Hawke's Hamlet because oh wait I just did.) Just watched Robocop again the other night, and there's this weird Brechtian element to it, like "hello audience, would you like to see a new Superhero? Here you go!" The archetype still falls under Campbell's hero mask or whatever, but with a twist, which I think gave rise to "heroes" such as Deadpool. Murphy's a straight shooter, but the cynicism, especially in the midst of everyone arguing about the remake, can't be more verisimilitudinous. They bring this up in the sequel, whose plot fell short, because there's only so much you can do with a robot mixed with a cop: "So introducing Robocop 2!!" (oh wait they suck, let's stick with the original) It's like arguing about a new version of Pac Man or something.
asian hick - 2014-02-15 Since my brain is equal parts stupid and smug, what was the point you were actually trying to make? What was the secret message of "This all makes me wonder why you'd bother to remake a good movie anyway, except for the money" that I missed? Because it sounded an awful lot like you were making an appallingly GENERAL statement about remakes and are now throwing up a wall of bluster when I called you out on it. Had you added something like "...when you have nothing new to say..." I wouldn't have a problem with your statement.* But its generality implied a condemnation of all remakes. Rereading your statement, I don't think I can be blamed for assuming that.
*Yes I know you mentioned it upthread, but--to get all beep boop about it--your "This all makes me wonder" preface implied a reconsideration of your prior position. My smug stupid brain felt it was justified in taking the statement in isolation.
SolRo - 2014-02-15 if it's significantly different in plot or tone, I'd consider that a spinoff rather than a remake.
PegLegPete - 2014-02-15 Saw the new one. It's a totally different movie. And yes, isn't that bad. But it's not as clever, well written or introspective. You really can't compare it to the original. There are some spoilers in this comment.
The most glaring difference - and one that I think weakens the new film - is that technology in the original Robocop fails and malfunctions. This doesn't happen in the new edition but for a single exception - sort of. A kid with a knife gets killed by a robot, but he has a knife; he's not unarmed like the ED-209 scene in the original - meaning tech didn't exactly go haywire. The new Robocop is practically a glowing affirmation of a perception that technology is superior to humans and indispensable, it's only shortcoming being a lack of soul, humanity, and human judgement. Which is well... not very insightful.
Furthermore, it basically glorifies surveillance technology: Alex Murphy has all the "criminal database" information/CCTV/mugshots etc... downloaded to his brain(?) and along with facial recognition technology and fingerprint technology has that to do all the investigative work for him, all without any hiccups. It would have been much more poignant if Robocop's information/technology failed him and he ended up killing or imprisoning innocent people, you know, like in real life; and it would have totally fit into the movie because the new Robocop wanted to be a drama.
Which is why the Samuel L. Jackson show seemed like it didn't even fit into the movie after the opening segment. The movie knew what it was most of the time, but in the few times it wanted to... make us think of the original/pander? - it failed. If the news segments wanted to fit into the drama they should have been more subtle which probably could have simply been achieved by not casting Jackson as the announcer, or maybe with a few minor script changes. Maybe I'm just picky.
Wasn't the original, wasn't trying to be, and I'm glad it didn't because it would have been worse.
Hooker - 2014-02-15 Man, I don't know how you get off calling the remake anything other than exactly what people expected of this. Now for the disclaimers:
I am not opposed to remakes. I think the original Robocop is one of the best written (including both the actual writing and everything that happens between finishing the screenplay and the end of post-production) movies ever. I think the hysteria over remakes is massively misplaced, especially considering that _nobody_ has a problem with adaptations of books / plays / comics / etc. I also really enjoy bad movies and, thus, I went to see this with high amounts of low expectations.
Hooker - 2014-02-15 Also, the difference between Superhero movies and something like Robocop / Point Break / Total Recall / whatever is not a matter of Robocop already existing. It's combination of both
1) Comic book movies being _comic books_ (i.e., a never-ending series of stories that sometimes do and sometimes do not have anything to do with the ones that preceded them) where the expectation is that, even if the story of the previous films is thrown out, it's not going to be the exact same plot. The Joker storyline, for instance, was radically different in the Burton and the Nolan films.
2) Nobody has any illusions of superhero movies being anything other than cynical Hollywood blockbusters while the movies people complain about being remade tend to be of good movies that have vision and ideas, and the remakes are an ugly reminder that those beloved pieces of art are, in fact, the property of assholes that have no respect for them.
Sexy Duck Cop - 2014-02-16 I didn't read all that but Nolan's Batmens are the best movies ever made and fuck you if you disagree.
infinite zest - 2014-02-14 The Portland Mercury's review sums up why I want to see it:
Nominal - 2014-02-14 Yeah it turned out to be better than I expected (damn does it need an R rating though). If you ignore the new look, lack of violence, and expanded family subplot, a lot of the satire is still effective and poignant. It's not the same tone of campy, more depressingly effective how the forces of big business just shrug off temporary setbacks and endlessly repackage their agendas until they eventually go through.
It's a shame that stupid new look strangled this movie's chances in the crib.
Nominal - 2014-02-14 I had a good laugh at the part where Samuel Jackson downplays OmniCorp protestors by accusing them of "robophobia".
Scrimmjob - 2014-02-15 When they remake 'space is the place' is when i go crazy ape bonkers. Nice knowing you fuckers.
Scrimmjob - 2014-02-15 heh, sorry. That was the blackout juice talking
infinite zest - 2014-02-15 I love Space is the Place, but I'd have a problem remaking that without Sun Ra. Like if you replaced him with Snoop Dogg or something, I'd have a big problem there. Peter Weller is NOT Robocop any more than Elijah Wood is Frodo.
infinite zest - 2014-02-15 "It takes a notion to motion and it takes a motion to notion." That'd not be as good as the original. I just switched a few words around and made a new Sun Ra lyric. I think that's the problem with a lot of these remakes. I too worked at a movie theatre for a long time and it was mostly indie stuff but we would up with Transformers (the first of many) and I was like "ohhhh shit this looks awesome" because it was a toy I loved when I was a kid, and kind of watched the show, and dosed on L a few times watching the original Transformers movie. When I saw it, I didn't like how they made Bumblebee's original car into a new one, or that Megatron didn't look quite right, but it's like "well, at least we did it! Live Action Transformers for all!"
I also unapologetically LOVE the Watchmen movie, directors cut or no directors cut though.
SolRo - 2014-02-15 No. Peter Weller -is- Robocop. This is not up for debate.
Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2014-02-15 Why doesnt the red letter media guy just make video reviews / critiques of films? No stupid voice or dungeon scenes. I would watch those. Despite the aforementioned stupid shit the star wars critiques are great, I actually *learned* why they were so bad + a bit about film-making
SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-02-15 The skits are your payment for admission to the Plinkett reviews.
The question I have is do these guys think their sketches are funny and are the reason that viewers return, or do they know that their desire to ACT! is just tolerated for the parts that are somewhat insightful?
infinite zest - 2014-02-15 These guys were pretty much my next door neighbors back when I lived in Milwaukee and yeah this is their thing. I worked at the movie theatre featured in the Star Wars video, and so did they before this. Back when we worked together we'd talk about something like this (this was a good ten years ago) but it never got further than one 48 hour Film project where we just talked about movies, and people would come out for concessions and see us working there, doing the exact same routine on the screen.
Nominal - 2014-02-15 Steamkleenex, definitely the latter.
I've known plenty of film student types like these guys. They want so badly to be making movies, but their desire to goof around with their small circle of like-minded friends trumps making any decent final product. If you've ever taken part in a 48 hour film project (I only ever made that mistake once), you'll find that it's almost exclusively filled with people like this. The 48 hour deadline is both a safeguard against amateurs who will get bored and quit once the work stops being fun (as any serious movie project quickly does), and as a built in excuse against a shitty final product. They want to goof around with friends and cram the film with tons of goofy shit that only the people who worked on the thing - and their circle jerk peer group at the festival - will laugh at.
Basically they're the improv comedy troupes of filmmaking: an inbred circle of "creative" types who only care about the SPONTANEITY of being CREATIVE and WACKY with minimal effort instead of buckling down and working hard on something that will be enjoyed by more than the same dozen peers filling the improv cellar every Tuesday night.
It's why they catalog is overwhelmingly made up of horror movies. They require minimal acting talent, set work (everything is dark), writing talent, and you get to skip straight to having fun squirting fake blood everywhere.
The guy who does the Plinkett reviews (Mike?) is funny and insightful when he sits down and puts his mind to hammering something out, but yeah all that stuff is how all these film school buddy teams operate.
Who do you think is better equipped to survive in today's low-budget media marketplace:
A) The brooding, "serious" film student who spends eight years and his entire life savings crafting the Ultimate Masterpiece, with nothing to show for it until the release of the final product which, let's face it, will definitely suck.
B) The wacky improv troupe that makes a ton of short skits, spams them all over the Internet, and forms connections with like-minded people to gradually create longer and more ambitious works?
Hooker - 2014-02-16 Well, I'm not Nominal, but I'll take a go at untangling that.
1) The question isn't who is best equipped to survive, it's who is best equipped to make something good. People constantly turning out garbage that they didn't work very hard at sticking around forever is worse than someone turning out crap and getting ignored.
2) Those are obviously not the only two routes.
3) The new X-Men movie is the second most expensive movie ever made, so I don't know where this idea that today's marketplace is "low budget."
4) The history of art, as much as you might whine about what is popular right now, is the history of quality work being remembered and half-assed schlock being forgotten. Consider that ten years ago, Dan Brown was the establishment course for popular literature and people were bemoaning that crap like The Da Vinci Code was the only thing people read. Today, the book is an answer to a trivia question. The fourth highest grossing movie last year was Despicable Me 2. In 1994, the fourth highest grossing film was The Santa Clause, and I honestly couldn't tell you which lousy Christmas movie that is.