As with any movie that people can actively remember that gets remade, there has been plenty of poo-pooing of the recently underway RoboCop reboot. The 1987 classic from Paul Verhoeven set the standard for violence and gave us a kick ass super-cop who didn’t mind shooting right after asking you to surrender.
I get it – there are plenty of films that shouldn’t be remade – true classics. Films like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind. I don’t think anyone is looking for another take on Schindler’s List or Amistad either. I was a big RoboCop fan. Because my parents were cool, I saw this movie when I was only like five years old. There’s still a Polaroid picture of me standing with a dude in a RoboCop costume somewhere from some neat event. I dug Robocop and remaking it is the right call.
I think movies that don’t need to be remade are ones that have told pretty self-contained stories. If the movie exists and expresses a complete thought, why express that thought again? Many movies are one and done this way, but they’re not often the ones that are being remade. No, the films that get rebooted are the ones that started as a complete thought and then had the sequel train run them into the ground.
Think about horror flicks like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Within these franchises there are great installments, classic installments, and then there are piles of rotted shit. RoboCop is one of those franchises.
While the first flick was great, the second was obviously and vastly inferior, and the third – yes, there was a third. How many of you even knew that? The RoboCop name and franchise have been sullied. For the character to continue on-screen, a reboot makes more sense than a sequel. After this much time, a sequel would be pointless. Who would care?
“But who cares about a remake?” you counter. Well played.
Is a reboot necessary? No, not at all. But Hollywood is fearful of original ideas and they want to stick with sequels and remakes and prequels whenever possible. It’s been this way for years. There is no changing it. We must learn to live within it and celebrate minor victories.
People would complain just as much about a sequel. What happens? Does RoboCop age? Would Peter Weller return? Considering he didn’t for the third, it seems unlikely.
The movie-making world is a far different place than when Weller first was resurrected from death. Technology has advanced. It’s possible to do things today that weren’t possible then. Effects are better. Materials are better. There’s nothing to RoboCop that is so sacred it can’t be redone. At its heart, its about a cop who gets fucked up and then comes back as a badass cyborg. It’s a tale as old as time, one destined to be retold.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with remakes anymore. Hollywood beat me down, and now I don’t really care. All I ask is that they try to stay true to the spirit of the original. RoboCop is a violent flick. The remake should be violent. The upcoming Evil Dead remake pissed me off because they talked about fancy technology, which I previously defended, but fancy technology is not the spirit of Evil Dead. That film was about people getting together and throwing corn syrup at the screen and making an awesome practical film. That’s the heart of that movie. RoboCop has a different, mechanical heart that’s about a cyborg fighting for his humanity. That’s something that can be improved upon. There’s not a new recipe for corn syrup.
All I’m saying is Hollywood made it’s choice. We can bitch all we want for more original flicks, but they’re going to keep giving us remakes and sequels. I’m saying let’s make the best of it and treat reboots like breaths of fresh air injected into stale franchises. Seeing everyone dismiss remakes out of hand pushes me past my boiling point.