Comic-Con: ROBOCOP Panel Recap; Impressions of the First Footage and First Trailer

by     Posted 1 year, 5 days ago

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Last year, Total Recall provided an important reminder: It’s very dangerous to try and remake Paul Verhoeven.  He not only made off-kilter blockbuster movies, but he made them in a time when a director could get away with off-kilter blockbuster movies.  The R-rating definitely helped, but there was also a strangeness that some could find off-putting.  The original RoboCop has its share off odd moments, but what stands out more than the action scenes is the satire like the fake commercials.  My biggest question about the remake was if they would carry over the social commentary, or make a forgettable action film featuring a killer cyborg police officer.  I got closer to an answer at this afternoon’s Comic-Con panel for the film where Sony showed the first footage from the remake.

Hit the jump for my recap of the panel.  RoboCop opens February 7, 2014.

EM-208 robocopOpens with Samuel L. Jackson as a Bill O’Reilly figure Pat Novak, host of the “The Novak Element” and showcasing the military “promoting peace and freedom abroad”.  We then lead into seeing machines overseas operating in a military capacity in “Operation Freedom Tehran”.  “Where loacals have embraced the robots,” says a chirpy reporter, but we see citizens holding up their hands to be scanned.  Novak asks why we can’t use these machines at home.  “Why is America so robophobic?”

We then cut to a congressional panel where weapons manufacturer Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) says putting the machines on the streets will save human lives.  But of course, we then see the machines going haywire and killing citizens in Tehran.   Sellars points out that machines feel no anger, no fatigue, but also no remorse.  A senator asks, “If a machine killed a child, what would it feel?”  Sellars replies, “Nothing.”

The lights then come up and director Jose Padilha comes on stage followed by Jackson, Keaton, Abbie Cornish, and Joel Kinnaman while the classic RoboCop theme plays over the speakers.

  • When talking about remaking RoboCop, Padilha says, “It’s just not a film you can do again, because it was perfect the day it was, so we just took the concept and made it relevant.”  He mentions that we’re now seeing drones and we’ll soon be seeing robots in real life like we see in the film.  And the original l movie saw that way back, “and now we have more knowledge about what will happen,” says Padilha.

  • Keaton says his character is a “big thinker”, but he believes that while Sellars understands the bigger picture, he’s a pragmatist and is doing what he feels is right.  If the world is a dangerous place, then Sellars thinks his machines are necessary.

  • robocop 2027Jackson refers to Pat Novak as “Rush Sharpton”—a guy who has an opinion and is not afraid to state it and uses every method available to get people to agree with him.

  • Working towards achieving the mix between man and machine, Kinnaman reveals that Sellars’ company manages to save Alex’s life in the remake, but they replace his body from the neck down.  He has an internal battle with the artificial intelligence and his own humanity.

  • Cornish talks about her character (Alex’s wife), and how the inhuman robot part interacts with his family, and they try to humanize him when he becomes RoboCop.

Then they show us the first trailer.  I can’t break it down beat-by-beat (even scribbling in my notebook in the dark, I couldn’t get it all down), but the overall tone is trying to mesh the action with the satire like the original.  However, this trailer went heavier on the action where we see Alex (who is almost killed by a car bomb in the remake and has to be rebuilt) as RoboCop and a lot of his action through a visor.  There are also some odd, high-contrast black-white shots that are shown from a different perspective, and this POV is unclear.  Overall, my impression is that they clearly haven’t forgotten the satirical aspect, they know what they’re targeting, and the action could be good.

  • omnicorp robocopBack to the Q&A, Kinnaman says that in all social-interaction scenes, the visor comes up, but in all the action scenes the visor goes down, so it wasn’t too much of a challenge to interact with other actors, although he did have to practice his “jaw-acting”.

  • Padilha reiterates the social commentary that we’ll be seeing about the ability to judge human error, but if a robot makes a mistake, who’s mistake is it?  Then how does that carry to our reliance on machines in war?  There’s also some satire like the figure of Pat Novak and how he represents the media.

  • The movie takes place in the future and countries are using robots in foreign policy.  Since they’re not accountable, they can’t be used on domestic soil.  Sellars circumvents this law by putting the man (Alex Murphy) inside the machine.

  • Jose also believes that humans and machines are going to mix more and more, and RoboCop “is the perfect movie to address that.”

Closing thoughts:

Watching the panel and the footage, I mostly forgot about the scathing script review that went online last year.  The original is unforgettable, but I appreciate that Padilha is trying to not only aim higher than simply cribbing the action premise, but that he knows what he’s aiming at when it comes to the worthwhile critique of militaristic reliance on impersonal weapons.  For what was essentially the film’s big coming out, the panel for RoboCop was encouraging, and I look forward to seeing more.

The images in this article come from the Robocop OmniCorp website that was just relaunched with more images and info.

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  • junierizzle

    Sounds like they really are making it their own. One might even say they could have just made, I don’t know, an original story about robots integrating into society.

  • junierizzle

    Sounds like they really are making it their own. One might even say they could have just made, I don’t know, an original story about robots integrating into society.

  • AlexTheKaiser

    Looks promising, I have big expectations for this movie and with all the talent involved in this movie this could be the best remake in recent years.

    • meesa

      are you taking the piss? xD lmao thats got to be the biggest overstatement ive ever heard, great actors? michael keaton? xD yeah because ever since batman that guy has been a top actor, hes in all the best films…… oh wait no hes not because hes a terrible actor.

      they taken the only part of robocop that should be familiar and made it into something from crysis or various other PC computer games, this isnt going to be robocop when the only thing remotely similar is ED209

      you obviously dont understand what made the original so great, gritty, dark, this film on the other hand is going to be your typical shitty robot action thriller like A-I meets last action hero or somethin xD definately isnt going to be “the best remake in recent years” xD far far from it.

      • AlexTheKaiser

        Ok, now try to write that like you aren’t a 12 year old girl and I might take into account your comment.

      • AlexTheKaiser

        Ok, now try to write that like you aren’t a 12 year old girl and I might take into account your comment.

  • Godot18

    Is Detroit going to be involved somehow? I’d be interested to see if the current bankruptcy will play into the film. Of course, that’s only if they’re still satirizing corporations in public management. Sounds like they’re targeting drones and militarized AI in this rendition.

    • Strong Enough

      well Detroit went bankrupt after the script was done and the movie was shot so….no.

      • Godot18

        Oh! Thank you so much for clearing that up for me. Nothing ever gets changed within seven months of release.

        The tragedy is, Detroit gave the films second unit a large tax incentive to film in the city, with Detroit hoping to bring in around $1,000.000 from the shoot. That was in 2012, and the film as yet to shoot there. The majority was shot in Toronto. If the remake is about Detroit, it certainly hasn’t done the city any favors thus far.

      • meesa

        more reasons to hate this film, they just dont understand what was so great about the original, and they would never push the envelope like they did in the 80s because they are pussies in hollywood today “dont push it too far or it wont get released”

      • Godot18

        Oh! Thank you so much for clearing that up for me. Nothing ever gets changed within seven months of release.

        The tragedy is, Detroit gave the films second unit a large tax incentive to film in the city, with Detroit hoping to bring in around $1,000.000 from the shoot. That was in 2012, and the film as yet to shoot there. The majority was shot in Toronto. If the remake is about Detroit, it certainly hasn’t done the city any favors thus far.

  • Godot18

    Is Detroit going to be involved somehow? I’d be interested to see if the current bankruptcy will play into the film. Of course, that’s only if they’re still satirizing corporations in public management. Sounds like they’re targeting drones and militarized AI in this rendition.

  • Nick M.

    This sounds fantastic to me. They’re taking an original approach to the robocop story, which is good, all while maintaing a level of social commentary. Plus you can get away with a lot nowadays with a pg13 rating.

    • meesa

      how on earth are you people seeing this as a good thing? its NOT going to be robocop because they basically changed EVERYTHING xD

      how is that a fresh take? its a whole new movie yet with the same name attached to it to try and drag people in, i truely dont get how so many of you think this is going to be so amazing, its gona be the worst fucking film ever made xD but it just shows how few people really understood the concept for robocop, because this remake has threw out all concepts of it being robocop.

  • God’s Diamond

    It really says something that’s you still using the poster from the original Robocop for this article when there are plenty of images of the new suit

    • Dave

      there are no official images of the suit. Studio is being a bastard and not letting anyone put up the set images, filing DMCA requests and such.

    • meesa

      yep, because they think using the name robocop and showing some old posters are gona make weak minded people pay to see this shit out of nostalgia, the films looks and sounds NOTHING like robocop, its gona be a typical pointless movie with an old 80s movie tag added to it, but its already working look how many kids are getting excited by this shit xD its gona be worse than those 80s/90s sci fi B movies xD

  • Gerard Kennelly

    comic con footage
    They
    show murphy with his family a lot
    and i guess his car explodes (bad cgi),
    and
    thats when they make him into a robot
    because michael keaton wants to make a
    man into a robot.
    Footage of Gary Oldman being a scientist.
    Raymond saying his
    armor needs to be black.
    His voice is robotic at times btw.
    His visor flips up
    when he talks sometimes.
    One interesting part was Robocop choking Gary Oldman.

    Idk it looks pretty poor.
    Shows Jackie Earle Haley having Robocop shoot other
    robots as practice.
    There’s a scene where robocop in his motorcycle blows in a
    room
    and jumps off his bike as it explodes
    and shoot bad guys

    • meesa

      not even gary oldman can save this movie, its funny there are 2 batman actors in it though xD

      oldman is an amazing actor, who is gona be surrounded by typical reused actors and actors so old and unknown most wont even know who they are anymore xD

      i dont know who cast this film, but theyve done a terrible job, just because you can get some well known names dosnt mean its a good decision to use them in a film like this, the original had a few decent actors but noone so huge that it took away from the movie at the time, they are doing their typical american remake shit and ruining another good franchise

      goodbye robocop, is was good knowing you while it lasted, but now america has to suck the last bit of life out of you

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  • Jason Herr König

    I’ve heard it’s going to be PG-13. We’re all doomed.

    • meesa

      yep, it will be the worst fucking thing ever invented “i know lets a take a GREAT classic movie, then make it for kids….. minus the grittyness and the gore and the shock moments… because we cant show them to kids”

      it will be a fucking laughing stock to all actual true fans, and i being one of them, im not even going to grace this film with my presence, i truely was hoping they would keep it dark and gritty, instead weve got this bright sunshine filled movie made for kids where robocop isnt really robocop and his origin story isnt the same… although most the script for the story will be, you know, the boring parts where he is made and they talk alot about making him, imagine robocop if they mixed it with teletubbies….

  • mickeydazzle

    The violence was an important aspect of the original. Making it PG-13 is a bad idea…Robocop 3 bad…..

    • meesa

      well said, i dont get how anyone that can call themselves a fan of the original can say they are looking forward to this movie, if they are then they didnt truely appreciate the world that was created in the original, theyve taken a dark gritty city and turned it into the bright american sunny suburban outdoors….. my soul weaps that this is what america is doing to good classic movie franchises, it could have easily been brought back and made good… instead we already know what we are going to get, hence no real teasers so far because how can you tease an audience that know what to expect and already know what they are getting? a kids version of an 80s classic…

      lets take terminator and mix it with watership down or curious george….. nope

      • Archie

        Hey Meesa do have nothing other to do than slam a movie you didn´t have seen yet and you seemingly don´t like at all ??

    • AlexTheKaiser

      Captain America got away with a guy getting turned into pieces.

  • tertiaryintervention

    Nope. Sorry. All they have talked about is what they wanted to try to do with the film. Which is clearly a reaction to the fact that the shit script that went out is what they are shooting. Jackson’s role was tacked on as an attempt to add that satirical layer that the original had.

    Nothing has changed the film will be slick but it’s just a polished turd.

    As an aside: If they can make full androids then why do you need a Robocop? That bullshit about it’s illegal and they create him to get around the law is total garbage especially since according to the hack director they are trying make Robocop “relevant.” Not only is that an insult to the original (yeah I’m being a fanboy) how is it relevant in a world where we have already militarized the local police force and add to that the suspension of Posse Comitatus?

  • tertiaryintervention

    Nope. Sorry. All they have talked about is what they wanted to try to do with the film. Which is clearly a reaction to the fact that the shit script that went out is what they are shooting. Jackson’s role was tacked on as an attempt to add that satirical layer that the original had.

    Nothing has changed the film will be slick but it’s just a polished turd.

    As an aside: If they can make full androids then why do you need a Robocop? That bullshit about it’s illegal and they create him to get around the law is total garbage especially since according to the hack director they are trying make Robocop “relevant.” Not only is that an insult to the original (yeah I’m being a fanboy) how is it relevant in a world where we have already militarized the local police force and add to that the suspension of Posse Comitatus?

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