It’s a Jesus story against story about a dude who got carbombed

The upcoming Robocop, whatever you want to call it, has been through awful lot of bad press and I intend to give it some more bad reputation based on the trailer that was released some time ago. While I did say that I’d quit following the news and other information on the movie, the trailer peaked my interest because I had heard few details of it that I had been worrting about.

First of all, the trailer itself is your standard modern Hollywood action movie and you see all of it in the trailer. It shows everything right now, right there. Nothing is left in the dark, nothing is left for the movie to tell. I can’t see any reasons to pay anything for the movie at this point. We see Alex Murphy before he is carbombed, we see his wife and family going all stupid because what she consented for and we see the man vs. machine thing that is supposed to be the director’s film between the events in the original film.

Secondly, the whole Murphy family business going on is nothing short of bullshit. Alex Murphy was a family man, a loving husband and a good father. Robocop, the cyborg that was built from the remains of passed Alex Murphy, has nothing to do with this family. It seems that we’ve lost one of the strongest character in the franchise, officer Anne Lewis. She was a strong character and was written to be a loyal police officer who would uphold the law without giving up her ideals. She went into trouble without little to no backup and tackled challenges head on. Lewis wasn’t a great female character, she was a great character. She was written on the same level as any other character and her part in the movie was huge and impacted greatly on Robocop’s growth. Nancy Allen was a great damn actor for the role to boot. In the new Robocop’s trailer, Lewis is nowhere to be seen . There’s no hint of her and there appears to be no character that could be her. Instead, Alex Murphy’s wife is the main female actor here. Actually, after quickly checking the IMDB, it seems that Anne Lewis is replaced with a black man, officer Jack Lewis. This is a huge Fuck You to anyone who appreciate the original film even a little bit. They actually went and changed the dynamics of the whole story. They replaced an important character with a goddamn blackface version of her and lifted Murphy’s wife, a distressed woman with a child who wants her husband back, into the spotlight. To quote my friend, this kind of obsession on one-strong-woman-character modern writers have is insanely stupid. A good character is not dependent on the sex. It’s there to bring in some flavour and tone, but a well written character will work well as both. If you want a strong woman character, you first write her strong, then a woman. Same with men. That said, Jack Lewis could be a good character nevertheless, but he won’t be. He exists solely to cater to the old fans and failing in it, because there was no reason to change Anne into Jack in the first place.  There won’t be any proper dynamics between Black Lewis and RoboMurphy because that’s reserved for Mrs. Murphy, and that’s where a rub lies; Murphy’s  never dies.

That, and it seems that Lewis is gunned down in the trailer. Another middle finger to everybody.

The fact that Alex Murphy never dies is driven through in the trailer. And that’s also a huge point missed about the story. Even according to Verhoeven, Robocop is a Jesus story. There is life, violent death and resurrection. You have a normal guy who is killed because of what he believes in only to have his remains used as the core components in the Robocop project, and thus finally he walks on water as a whole new being. That is the core of the Robocop story. The new movie, according to the trailer, is that a detective gets hit by a car bomb, barely survives and his wife gives a consent to rebuild his body into a cyborg and that’s missing all the points. It took around a year for the tech crew to build Robocop in the original and Alex Murphy was dead the moment he was brought into the ward. His family was notified of this and they moved on. The fact that Alex Murphy dies is an important point. He doesn’t get revived. Even the movie makes this point; Robocop has all the skills and years of experience of a street police officer. As much as Robocop is Murphy’s avatar, Murphy is someone Robocop needs to recognize itself as in order to not go completely batshit insane. Not only that, but the new movie misses a point why a dead man was used; the new Murphy goes all berserk after seeing what was done to him without his own consent that his wife gave instead. Original Robocop was a machine-man becoming a man-machine, where humanity was given another life under the skin of metal, whereas the new one is a man with a robot body, partially controlled by the software. The skull is a highly important point here, because it is there where we see the difference between the two; one fusion of both, a machine with a man’s face and heart, whereas the other is a man with a helmet. The face we see on Murphy in the original film is stretched on a metal skull and the make up is still great and makes you wonder how the hell they managed to pull it off. 

You won't see this ever again in modern films
You won’t see this sort of make-up ever again in modern films

Compare the above to the new Robocop suit.

It's a suit
It’s a suit

Blame it on reliance on CGI or whatever, but the difference between the two is enormous. The new one is just a man in a suit, and you won’t believe it any other way. It doesn’t help that the flick tries to convince you otherwise with that What kind of suit is this? Murphy, it’s not a suit, it’s you lines. Horrible writing can’t be helped with mediocre acting, and you can see Samuel L. just going in, doing his shit and then getting out.

Anyway, why would you want to concentrate on the dynamics of the Murphy family? Because the director, who clearly didn’t get the original movie, wanted so. If his movie takes place between the cutting table and Murphy’s resurrection in the original film’s terms, how the hell he has managed to mangle everything up this badly? That time period was basically the engineering and doctor teams working on his body to realize the Robocop project. Actually, I’d love to see that story and all the little details that went wrong and all the big things that went even worse. How Robocop first acted when he got activated consciously the first time, how much Murphy was there before they got  the desired result?

We also have the bad guy robots, basically completely automated Robocop counterparts, androids. And ED-209 that now looks the best thing in the flick and that’s not said much. Now the question is if they have the ability to make a completely automated system that works damn well and have the ready resources to mass produce the android Robocops, why the hell there is any reason to involve a man with the machine? It’s a ready loophole that makes no sense and the flick can’t offer any sort of satisfactory explanation. If they say that they based the MP Robocops on Murphy’s new body and software, that’s bullshit. That would mean that the flick would happen over three years time or so, starting with the Robocop project, continuing with the MP Robo designing and unveiling, and then producing and fielding them. Yet, the trailer has no hints progression of time. It doesn’t even help that the MP Robos are mook enemies and will me slaughtered en mass, as the trailer shows them going down by snapping their necks. Unless the MP Robos use human brains and spine cords as well, which would go against the press releases thus far, there’s no reason why they should go down because their head was snapped off. A good military or police grade android unit would still function despite decapitation of any kind, and they would have a far superior armouring and different design.

Speaking of those designs, they suffer from what I call Flimsy Shit syndrome. It comes to where you have seemingly sturdy mechanical design, but when met with a hit, debris and shrapnel fly everywhere. Iron Man 3 had the same syndrome, where a broken part would shatter into millions of pieces. Same here, as RoboMurpy snaps one of MP Robos head, you can see sparks and shrapnel fly everywhere. I’m sure the MP ED-209 in the movie will suffer the same fate. It doesn’t help that everything in this film looks generic, from the air-drones to the MP Robos.  ED-209 was one of the most unique mechanical opponents anywhere, and it was part of the character to see it as such a hard failure. There was a reason it was never mass produced, and if in the new flick they managed to get AD-209 right, why the hell they did everything else worse?  There’s also the glowing iPad thing that Murhpy’s son uses. It’s a bad sign of bad Future Vision, when every day objects are turned into Light-MacGlow versions of themselves. Not even Star Trek or Star Wars went there, but dear me how many other science fiction stories just add needless thingamajigs having bullshit LED lights everywhere to make it more future-y. A proper concept design for the future takes everything we have right now and creates a solid, advanced concept based on existing technology and how that technology could advance.  It takes a lot of research and work, a thing that most designers just want to avoid and something on the paper they see fit. That’s how you get glowing iPads. Hell, not even the LACRS pads in Star Trek The Next Generation were this badly designed. Actually, they were designed incredibly well, considering concept for a computer pad was just… science fiction. Huh.

I want this new Robocop to even try to discuss what it means to be a human and the relationship of man-machine hybrids with their surroundings. I wanted it to discuss what it means to die and contrast it to life. What we’re getting is yet another half-assed discussion of free will. What is it with writers and not wanting to discuss a difficult matters with cybernetics and humanity? It’s an issue that we will need to bring out as bionics advance and we’re going to get people with artificial body parts. It’s just a matter of time when we will see people with more bionics than natural bionic mass.

The thing that most irks me is that because of how this movie came to be, it’s not Robocop. A story has a set of parameters for what happens in it and the flow of the story is the same from retelling to retelling. Some small details may change, but the most important parts and marks are always there. Romeo and Juliet has seen immense amounts if of films and adaptations and they all use that name because it’s the same story. This Robocop is not story of Robocop because it doesn’t follow the story it’s supposed to be about. If this was called by any other name, it would smell like Warhol’s dead, worm infested rotten body.

The trailer wasn’t for a Robocop movie, it was a trailer to a movie inspired by Robocop. That’s a huge damn difference between the two.

Let’s take a look at new Robocop

There is no fine line between a suit of armour and complete body prosthetics. The other is something that is worn, the other is something that is you physically. Robocop had the latter.

There’s redesigns and completely new takes on existing designs, and then there’s replacing designs. The updated design of the Jaguar E-Type is a redesign that works because it respects the original and looks pretty damn sweet. It still looks like an E-Type car but isstill having its own unique twists. This Robocop design is far from being as successful as aredesign, as it doesn’t respect the original in any way.

The original Robocop design was inspired by Space Sheriff Gavan, but that’s mainly thematic. Robot Cop isn’t the most unique idea, but Robocop’s take on the idea, and on the design, is nothing short of iconic and defining. That design up there is pretty damn atrocious. First of all it has nothing unique in it. It could be Iron Man’s stealth armour, it could be a suit from Mass Effect or any other generic 00’s sci-fi. You could say thatwhat they were aiming at and I’d tell you to shut up. The original design kicked in and made a following and lead into countless parodies. This new design is a follower and a parody. Whoever decided that this was the design to go with (and the designers who worked on it ) is a stupid man. I have nothing for them except contempt. It says a lot that I’ve used the same basic idea for a helmet design quite  a lot through these years. However, for appearance and somewhat menacing effect there would be two glowing dots inside the helmet where the eyes would be in certain situations.

This design doesn’t even try because the designers didn’t even try.

If the core idea isn’t there because lack of skill, understanding, will or anything else, don’t do it. Just leave it alone and allow people who know what the hell they’re doing to do it in your stead. Then why are you writing a blog? Shut up I’m on a roll here.

They designed it as a suit. It’s not a suit. It shouldn’t look like a suit. In reality they’re both suits, but in the films they should not be. May God help them if they changed Robocop’s origin to a powered armour in this one.

The original design, and the suit used, has those mechanical properties that make it look properly robotic. It’s intimidating, utilitarian for specific use and yet has a certain uncanny valley in there. The shoulders in the original are unmistakeably raised on top of the actor to give it a certain look and feel. The black parts, while stretchy, were masked with other black parts that meshed well with the silver outlook. Take a look at Iron Man’s production shots, and see how they managed to build the suit without relying on visible stretchy materials. It’s pretty awesome that they managed to build most of the suit like that.

Actually, if you look closely you can actually notice one point of design that’s important; the eyeslit.
The eyeslit, the red line in the helmet, looks menacing in the original. There’s no reason to have that in the new design. Why are they having it? Because it’s iconic. That just draws the question why aren’t they using other parts of Robocop’s iconic design as well? The new design would actually look better if they’d remove the red line and make the helmet completely black. Give in a mouth guard as well and you’d actually have a new kind of helmet that would work with the design. But then again, it still would look like an Iron Man/Mass Effect knock-off. The new eyeslit looks… well, like a red line. It has no function outside the cool factor, but it’s out of the place from the rest of the visual language of the suit.

I have no hopes that they’ll change the colour of the suit in post production. They’ve chosen to go with matt dark grey and they’ll stick with it. Too bad that colour is idiotic as hell. Why such a dull colour? Are you afraid that it might look toyetic when your original intention was to make Robocop into a goddamn transfomer? God that was a stupid idea. I want to punch a baby narwhal so hard that it would fracture the time-space continuum because of that. I’m sure that this colour choice was because of both 00’s trend of lolrealism and the recent movies that happened to have a character called Batman. Actually, just add the bat ears and you’d have a high-tech Batsuit right there.

Not having the silver colour, or somewhat shiny dark blue at least, goes against the idea of Robocop being seen. I do understand that this colour is much closer to the real life police uniform in colour that the original, but where’s the badge? If you take a close look at the left chest you might notice a shape that looks like a badge slot. Actually, I’d be OK with the design if he had a badge there alongwith all the other markings a police uniform may come with. However, because it’s dull grey and nothing more, the design just scream colours.

The original silver/bluish silver colour plays to the intimidation aspect. It tells that it’s made of sturdier stuff, that there’s no reason to hide. Whoever steps in with those colours on has no reason to cover himself; he is there to kick ass and take names. The new one is stealthy, and that’s part of the problem overall. Robocop as an idea even in-universe was meant to be seen. His presence would allow a safe feeling for the citizens and a presence of threat for the criminals. The black colours don’t do that unless they’re played for fear like Batman does, but the overall design doesn’t really allow for that overwhelming presence the original design gives out.

That’s the biggest misstep in the new design; it has no presence over anyone.

In that leaked picture Robocop has no presence over anyone, unlike in the screenshot from the first movie. Sure, they’re from a different environment, situation and all, but you can still see it. Or rather, you can still feel it. It just doesn’t work as intended.

I’m not saying that I don’t like the design, but it’s not for Robocop. It would work in some sci-fi flick where the cops would wear that as an armour and be called something like cybercops or the like. I can see this new design as a nudge towards Robocop, as a homage and as a parody, but not as Robocop.

Here’s an idea; redesing the original properly, and use this new design for mass-produced models that follow on the original’s foosteps. Just remember to add the badge and other flavours to them.

There’s a high possibility that this is just a stand in suit, and the body we’ll see in the movie is made through CG. The matte grey hints towards this to an extent, but that’s just idiotic; why make the suit out of CG when you can make it look good through actually having the damn thing in reality?

So they made Robocop a transformers wait what?

I grew up with Robocop in a manner of speaking. I saw the first film around the same time I saw Star Wars and Indiana Jones. That’s around five or so. I remember my dad blocking my sight from seeing the monkey brain eating scene in The Temple of Doom, but I watched pretty much everything else block-free because of my sweet elder brothers.

I got into Robocop 2 around the same age, but saw Robocop 3 and the animated series much later on, so these weren’t there as I grew up. Same goes for the live action TV-series, which all share the same flaw; they’re pretty terrible.

Fast forward the end of 00’s when some concrete info on the Robocop remake surfaces. The fool I am, I was hopeful that this Hollywood remake would be something decent, unlike so many remakes, sequels and re-imaginings thus far. I mean, somebody has to have faith in humanity, right?

Oh boy, let’s skip to few months ago.

I’m man enough to admit that I got little bit pumped about this viral teaser. The video does have that OCP spirit in it, the designs look pretty sleek, except ED-209 looks… Let’s put it this way; the original ED-209 was designed to resemble an all-out American car with huge fuel consumption. That’s where the front grill and overall design came from. The new ED-209 seems to go for parodying the movie Transformers design, but why? They’re well parodied already by themselves. Why not take similar approach and create a sarcastic design of modern cars, or Apple designs? OK, Apple design have been parodied enough elsewhere, let the horse already die there. As such, the new ED-209 concept is a miss. It doesn’t fulfil the slot that ED-209 should fill. I even have to question whether or we should be calling it ED-209.

And the Robocop concept… Oh lord.

If you didn’t know that the above concept was for Robocop, what would you have imagined it to be? The original design is iconic for a reason. If they wanted to use something that’s not Robocop at all, why to even use the name?

Because of name recognition, of course.

If you want me to go deeper what’s wrong with that design above as a Robocop, I can do that in a separate post, because pretty much everything is wrong with it, from head to toe.

But now there was some small leaks what the concept of Robocop would be in the remake. And let me tell you this that what I’m saying isn’t just my honest to God opinion, but also a fact; it reeks of failure.

First of all, as it stands now, there’s very little that’s Robocop in the story frame. Robocop wasn’t about a cyborg police going killing people and coming out good, but a man inside a shell, deciding who he was and what he was. It’s a story about the human character. This suggested concept seems to ignore this for toy sales.

Toy sales? Then why the hell they call the first version of Robocop as a toy from the 80’s? There’s nothing toyetic about Robocop’s design outside cyborg shell, and later the jetpack and the cartoons but those are out of the window, we’re talking about Verhoeven’s original film. Are they trying to make fun of current world making toyetic designs, and then make one? That’s not funny or ironic or satire, that’s just sad! It’s like laughing at somebody because they have a cat, and then going home and fucking one in the ass. I apologize, that’s just wrong.

The original film was a good satire on then current USA’s expense. However, its message still applies today because the things it rises to consciousness haven’t swept away. Even the SUX car still applies, even thou we’re going for more environment friendly cars, but SUX breaks down just as easily as modern computer controlled cars. The human characters are timeless in the film, and while you see that’s it’s clearly retro-future nowadays, the audience can believe because every thing’s there physically and not a goddamn CGI horror they’re going to be in the remake.

This concept also reeks of post-9/11. I’m not here to offend anybody, but move on people. Having Robocop, a police unit, going through an Al-Qaeda camp with some sort of action mode is beyond stupid. Creating a transforming vehicle, let alone a cyborg, is a mechanical nightmare for designers and engineers. Oh, it’s supposed to be toyetic to give out sarcastic remarks? Well fuck me silly, that’s stupid as hell. OCP, as mad as they would be, are not idiots. Incompetent perhaps, but not idiots.

Robocop having him change from civial mode to this other mode is idiotic, as it doesn’t serve the outer purpose of the design at any point. Design a sturdy, strong and determined outlook to which civilians can rely on, and what criminals want to avoid. Like the original design. There’s no goddamn need to have a secondary mode, unless OCP decides to make Robocop into military unit, and then they’d make a different prototype for that use.

You can’t make a satire out of the original film when everything it satires still applies. You’ll only end up with a product that hurts itself and will be looked down as a shitty cash-in.

Goddamn, even Jurassic Park IV’s suggestion of intelligent cyborg Velociraptor’s as police/SWAT hounds was better than this shit.

If you want to make a successful remake of anything, then respect the original source material. Otherwise you just might as well make something that has been inspired by the original work.