We’re passionate about RoboCop here at GB. We’ve covered his news, a lot. Probably about 7 or 8 times since we first heard serious word of it. We’ve actually had multiple discussions on the film, and when those first pictures leaked of the new RoboCop suit, the majority of us were… unhappy. However, being ever the contrarian I am, I expressed my caustic disappointment VERY specifically, because I knew the more I thought about it, the more I could understand it. In that article I said, and I quote:
“I’m…. Just really gonna keep hope that it’ll work in the movie.”
And I still stand by that statement. At first It was meant in a way to express dread, but the more I looked at this new RoboCop I kept trying to understand why it was so drastically different from what we’d all expect, and so seemingly cookie cutter and generic looking, when it suddenly hit, and everything made perfect sense. You see, when you’re a passionate nerd about something, seeing it changed to something else in a “new” form is a bit shocking, and tends to illicit knee-jerk reactions of imminent hatred or dismissal. I think that’s the natural state of all nerds. We see something that maybe takes an old favorite, and turns it on end, or tries something completely different with it, and usually we hate it. At first anyway. I remember the old internet reaction to Heath Ledger’s Joker, when the first pics of him leaked. People were VERY critical and dismissive. I would know, because I was one of those people. Of course we all know how that story turns out, because The Dark Knight is one of the best films of all time, and a huge part of it is due to the game changing performance by Heath Ledger.
I took a vow that day to never immediately judge something as a failure based on preview pictures alone. That potentially, it could all work out in the finished product, and a good movie could come from it. I even held this view for The Amazing Spider-Man, right up until it proved to be an unwatchable mess. So what was it that clicked for me? What changed my initially reserved but dreadfully optimistic view on this RoboCop remake? Well before I get to that, let’s take a second look at the new suit, so you’ll have a fresh idea in mind of what I’m talking about.
Again, the first things that come to mind are how UN-original it looks. How it seems reminiscent of countless other generic cyborg/soldier characters from all types of media right? I believe this is ENTIRELY intentional. If you’re going to remake RoboCop, one of the greatest missteps you could take would be to not carry over the brilliant social satire it had throughout the film. In the same way that the original RoboCop’s look represented the pinnacle of faux-futuristic 80’s excess, so does this modern RoboCop’s look reflect the polished, materialistic, and factory formed look of almost all modern technology. The sleek embossed sheen to his hood is indicative of most modern cell phones, right down to the bright red visor.
The style, layout, and font choice are all intentionally similar.
If you’ve ever seen a Droid commercial you’ll have no trouble making the visual connection. What they’ve done is rather than rehash the old story(and suit) note for note, they’ve gone and taken the initiative. It makes sense that in a modern world where everyone has the same looking cell phone, same looking cars, and same looking computers, we should have a similarly themed RoboCop. Of course he looks generic, because a massive, money-making corporation churned him out like yesterdays cheap cell phone update. It’s a theme that’s very welcome for a RoboCop remake because the whole thing was about criticizing the faceless corporations that would literally put a brand name on justice if it made them an extra dollar at the end of the day. Steamlined robotic officers? Mass produced cybernetic equipment? Bargain basement justice? I’d buy that for a dollar!
So yes, the new RoboCop suit looks incredibly generic and uninspired, but that is precisely the point, and ultimately what ends up making it ironically, very inspired and unique. It’s a pretty effective way to establish a visual motif of social commentary, that even our CYBERNETICALLY ENHANCED ROBOT COPS get the shiny, red laser LED lined look to them. That’s exactly what any modern technology company would do. The proof is all around your living room, or even in your pocket. Sure the movie may end up sucking something fierce still, (I don’t think it will, but I have been wrong), but at the very least the intention to establish and bring back that sense of social commentary, updated now for relevant social context, is laudable and worthy of note. That’s not even to say what the whole suit will look like after filming effects are completed, because I have a strong feeling it’ll get a much more visually striking look once it’s complemented with added CG lights and whatnot. Furthermore, between the strength of its cast, director, and what we’ve seen so far, I’d say everyone has good reason to get their hopes up. This is the RoboCop for our generation, and it most certainly is reflecting that, as it should. So sit back and relax RoboCop fans. We may have a good remake yet.