Total Robo-Recall Remake
Whats is gonna take. In the end, whats gonna be the final straw. Will it be when they announce the male and female roles for the lead in the remake of “Casablanca”. Or maybe when they announce who will be playing the part of Norma Desmond in the remake of “Sunset Blvd”. Sounds preposterous. Well with news like this;
-is it really such a stretch to think news like that may not be far down the road. Now look, I’m a little bit late to this whole remake debate. Some balk at the very hint of a whisper of the word remake. It stirs their emotions and boils their blood, invoking very passionate and possessive reactions among the fans of the original property. “Why can’t people come up with new ideas”, they say, “instead of remaking great films that don’t need to be remade, or films that haven’t even had time to age yet”. Others, overtime, seemed to have warmed to the general idea of remakes. They say, “there, have always been remakes, and always will be, so why complain. “Besides its not like it tarnishes the original film”. Both are valid points I suppose, although with the benefit of very recent hindsight, its tough not to side with the remake naysayers. I have never, taking into account what I know of film history, seen a period in the movies, where so many properties have been optioned for remakes, re-imaginings or re-tellings. Films and film franchises that haven’t yet been in the public consciousness for even decade have already been optioned for a remake. Take Sam Raimi’s “Spider-man” trilogy of films, which started in 2002 and ended in May 2007. A short three years later, in December of 2010 production on “The Amazing Spider-man” began. New director, new writers, new actors, new story, new everything. Now do I begrudge a group of filmmakers the chance to put there own unique vision into the world? No of course not. The only think that kind of puts up a red flag is how quick its all done now. Its like the films studios want to capitalize on our recent memories. Or in the case of Spider-man 3, our recent tragedies.
Robocop, as of March 2012, is official 25 years young. Doesn’t seem like its been that long does it. Is it because of the timeless quality of the work, or is it just fast paced nature of the culture. Either way Robocop is still around and in our consciousness. The satire is still as sharp as it was in 87, the directing still as assured and the violence still as shocking. It all really makes you question, as is the routine with every mention of a remake, what is there really to improve on. What is there left to say. Of course there will always something to say. As long as we live and breath there are themes and ideas worth exploring in film. Yet in this case, I have to wonder why are we using the artifice of Robocop yet once again to explore these supposedly new ideas? Is the studio really that inspired by the basic story of the part man part machine all cop super crime fighter, or are they just capitalizing on the name of Robocop, adding a new sheen and polish to the story, to make a quick eighty million at the box office domestically, before crapping out. You see its that name that still holds the weight. Its that name that can draw people. If you were to tell people that if they come to the theaters this weekend they can see Robocop, but with a fresh new design and updated story, then who wouldn’t be excited by that. People think that if they carry that name with them into the new film, that they will be seeing something worthy of the weight and prestige that name has acquired in both the public and their own personal consciousness. However, as we have seen, most remakes as of late have worn the name of their forefather dishonestly. They were not out to explore any new ideas or explore any relevant themes. They were out to tell a very simple, truncated, version of the story their predecessor told more honestly, if only because they were working from their original inspiration. I’ll leave the more detailed research to you readers, but take my word, in the last few decades the number of good remakes of past films pales in comparisons to the awful derivative time wasters remakes that have increased in production in the last few years.
So what do we make of this new casting announcement? Its a familiar story; we have a young, talented actor trying to make his way in the business, you have a few small parts here and there, grow a fan base around have some stand out performances. Your agent says you’ve been offered the role of Robocop and faster than you can say artistic integrity, our young talented actor says yes. It is only for his benefit that I hope this remake is at least halfway successful, because if it tanks, its all gonna fall in his lap.