I am of two minds about this new viral video for the upcoming remake to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop. On one hand, I have come to enjoy viral advertising for a film– when done correctly. On the other hand… What if I feel a film doesn’t need to be remade, period? I have a hard time with any advertising for any movie I wish the remake-obsessed Hollywood Hacks would just leave alone.
RoboCop is a consequential cyberpunk story… A seminal science fiction set piece reflecting a corporate-controlled dystopian future driven by excessive consumerism. Seeds for this film were planted during the trickle-down “voodoo economics” of the 1980s Reagan Administration. Robocop was most definitely a story reflective of the time period in which it was made– still amazingly relevant in today’s corporate-led consumer culture. The film also succeeded on almost every level… Artistically, critically and commercially. An unusual trifecta for a thinking person’s sci-fi film.
But I guess that was then and this is now.
This RoboCop remake is coming– whether we want it or not… And how the filmmakers will translate Robo’s story for the new millennium has yet to be seen. Given my affinity for the original, it will be difficult for me to keep an open mind about this new effort (but I promise to do my best).
I believe the remake’s success relies on two talented actors already cast in the film: Hugh Laurie (rumored to be playing the pivotal Dick Jones character) and the always reliable Gary Oldman. Joel Kinnaman (who will play Murphy/RoboCop) is the unknown quantity. I am not familiar with actor, so I am indifferent to his casting. And while I truly don’t want to seem like a geek intractably trapped in the past, I have a hard time believing anybody will top Peter Weller’s original performance. A short look at the actors who played Robo (after Weller left following the abysmal Robocop 2), should cause you to be in quick agreement with me.
If this remake stays close to the source material, there are still two extremely important characters left to be cast. I can see myself consumed by some apocalyptic Nerd Rage– or happily beside myself– depending who ends up playing the roles of Robo’s partner Anne Lewis and his nemesis Clarence Boddicker. Nancy Allen and Kurtwood Smith pretty much owned those characters in the first film.
So, given what little we do know… What can we expect from the Robo remake? The viral video above seems to intimate several cosmetic “updates”. Two significant changes can be gleaned from the video: A new logo for Omni Consumer Products and a new design for OCP’s ED 209. Here’s what the originals looked like in 1987’s Robocop:
The new OCP Logo (seen prominently in the video) kinda reeks of somebody changing something just for the sake of changing it. If the new film is shortening the name of the company to Omni Corp, I guess it makes a bit of sense though. I wonder if Omni Consumer Products is just too long of a name for today’s average filmgoer to remember? And what the hell’s going on with the new ED 209 design? Does everything in today’s sci-fi need to resemble a fucking Bayformer? The machine’s new design looks simultaneously more complex and hideous. At least it somewhat resembles the old ED 209– making me a little less put out.
But with both of these designs coming off as needless retrofits, I can’t help but wonder if that’s all the remake’s story will be too… An unnecessary retread/retrofit of an already brilliant film. I’ll take a “wait and see” approach– for now. After all, any cache Robo initially had WAS almost completely ruined by Frank Miller‘s two sequels (and pretty much everything else that came after the first movie– especially the syndicated TV show).
Honestly though, I never once allowed any of those things to ruin Verhoeven’s RoboCop for me. And if this remake shapes up not to be to my liking, I’ll just add it to the pile of forgettable Robo-shit I refuse to acknowledge– while I watch the first’s blu ray over and over.
The RoboCop remake is scheduled for a 2013 release. For more info check out the Omni Corp website.
A better look at the new ED 209– and some painful examples of how Robocop’s original film/premise has been completely misused/abused over the years– can be found after the jump. The irony of those videos down below is not lost on me.