Wednesday, March 12, 2014

RoboConvo - Part 6

Once upon a time, Magnetic Monkey (MM) and Elephant Robot (ER) went to a theater and watched RoboCop.  Then they talked about it.  A lot, in fact.  What follows is Part 6 of that conversation.  It's the last part!

MM:  It would have been interesting if they had done the RoboCop piece with the first candidates, who were just missing limbs or paralyzed.  It would have been interesting if they had tried it with them, and the robotics don't take... they can't accept the programming... whatever.  And that's when they decide, "you know, we just need his brain.  That's all we need."

ER:  Yeah.  You know, I read that Padilha had a number of ideas he couldn't get into the film because of studio involvement.  He said something like "for every 10 ideas, I have to scrap 9," or something like that.  And it would have been interesting to see how dark and twisted it would have been if he could have gone all out with those ideas.  Though I think it is a testament to him as a film maker that, for all those constraints, he made a pretty darn fun and interesting movie.

MM:  Yeah.  Well, in the Paul Verhoeven era, it was before everything was supposed to be a tentpole to hold everything up.  RoboCop, the original, is a small unassuming movie.  Small budget, low expectations, and it became this sleeper hit.  Well, this new movie comes out, and Padilha  doesn't have the freedom if it had been made independently simply because the studio had sunk all this money into it, and expected a franchise back.

ER:  Yeah.  The studio is thinking of longevity.  "if you do THIS, that precludes a sequel."

MM:  Yep.  Got to have the kid in it.  Got to keep him in there.  It's a deal with the devil, when you're making studio films that way.  It only makes me appreciate The Avengers more, because Whedon was able to make a film that satisfied both the studios and the Geeks.

To a certain extent, people who like this kind of material do need to vote with their dollar and go see these kinds of movies.  Because when they don't do well, the studios think it was because they didn't control it enough, not that it wasn't given freedom enough.

ER:  But at the same token, with remakes geekdom thinks "Oh, you're going to ruin the original movie."  Like people who think the prequels ruined the original Star Wars movie.  But that's simply not the case.

MM:  Yeah.

The world super needs a Gilgamesh movie
ER:  Well, I think we should wrap this up.  Which means it's time to circle around back to the question: why did this movie need to be made in the first place?  I didn't want to answer that, but you said you did.

MM:  Yes.  In each generation, as you move away from an original story, the next generation has to retell the story for itself.  So if you don't retell Beowulf, or Grendel, or Gilgamesh, the story is no longer in your cultural repertoire.

For all the crap people give Disney about retelling Snow White, Cinderella... in the absence of those re-tellings?  Those stories would be gone.  We wouldn't have references to the Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm stories.

So why do you have to remake RoboCop?  Because if you don't, we won't remember it, and what the story has to tell us is lost.

I don't think there's anything wrong retelling a story for each generation.  Hopalong Cassidy is gone, the Lone Ranger is still here.  If you don't retell the story, eventually the story will go away.

Here's hoping that the RoboCop remake in 2040 
 features Christian Bale as RoboCop's maker

So I hope in 20 or 30 years they retell another RoboCop story.  I just hope the studio will give things a little bit more time to breathe.  Batman is getting rebooted too frequently, with the new one.  Whereas the difference between the Keaton Batman and the Bale Batman was perfect.

So I think you do need the space between stories to let each one stand as a separate iteration.  So each generation will retell the story of Hercules, and retell the story of Thor, and impart their own morality to their own children.  That's the point of stories.

ER:  A point of stories.

MM:  The. Only. One.  No, you're obviously totally right.  But that is one of the main reasons we tell stories.

ER:  So basically, this movie is responsible for the continuing existence of not just western drama, but also western civilization.

MM:  Basically, yes. RoboCop ensure life as we know it continues.

ER:  All right.  Well, there you have it.  If you don't go see RoboCop, our cities will burn.
Don't let our cities burn!

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