It’s hard to believe that the controversial remake of Robocop is already over two years old, but still preserved in digital and disc, and it will eventually find its way to being broadcast on television for the general audience, where no one can escape the fact that it exists.
While it’s true that the Robocop remake was not controversial to most audiences in the sense we’re normally familiar with, it was considered blasphemous to people who felt Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 version was untouchable. How dare some whipper-snapper make a remake of a classic as if they had the right!
But they did have the right, or the rights rather, which probably started when the now bankrupt Orion Pictures chased off the originators after the first film, and was confirmed when Frank Miller threw his hands up in the air after the failure of Robocop 3.
Very recently, however, the director of the first Robocop movie Paul Verhoeven, spoke with Collider about his feelings on the remake.
It does need to be mentioned that Verhoeven likes to push the subject matter of his movies to the point of absurdity for the American audience. In a way, he’s doing it mockingly, which can be seen in Total Recall and Starship Troopers, along with the original Robocop.
His view of the remakes for that and Total Recall is that their stories were already over-the-top, and to try and make them more serious he felt was a mistake.
The collaboration of like-minded people from 1986 to 1997 to make those mentioned movies appears to have formed on accident, creating era of films that are exclusively Verhoeven. The time was right for them before the opportunities would dry up when they lost momentum after Starship Troopers, which was another box-office smash hit.
And despite how much people are dismissive of the Robocop remake, one who is willing to accept the fact that the era of Verhoeven is gone should look at the high-caliber casting in the remake; the imaginative director José Padilha and the complex story line aren’t nothing.
Paul Verhoeven also felt that differences in the main character’s brains in both movies were a problem.
So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake. Especially in Robocop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in Robocop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is. I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in anyway.
One wonders what he means by “heavy.”
Does he mean that the subject matter becomes a little too dark to handle? Later on in the interview, he says that the remake needed satire in order to deliver the subject matter to audiences appropriately and lighten the load.
But he’s already done this with the original Robocop. That movie is still there for everyone — including those who feel they’re too much of a purist to see the remake, throwing a fit to even acknowledge that it exists.
He certainly couldn’t be referring to the writers. Saying that the issues around the human brain staying in the machine were a matter that was too heavy for them to handle?
And really, who cares for what Paul Verhoeven has to say when we still have the original creator of Robocop, Edward Neumeier, who has continued to follow through with that byegone era, after everyone else left to go do other things, even writing not just the first Starship Troopers, but writing and directing the third Starship Troopers himself.
Neumeier himself is positive and realistic about the remakes. Not to say that Verhoeven is not. But he’s still in the “game,” as it appears he will be an executive producer for a new rumored Starship Troopers remake, according to a interview on Movieweb where he talks about the advice he’s given to the producers of the new film. For the most part, he feels that the decisions made with the Robocop remake were interesting.
[Image by MGM/Columbia Pictures]