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Peter T Chattaway

The Robocop Trilogy

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Apparently MGM/UA is re-issuing the Robocop trilogy -- and this time, they're including the full X-rated version of the original film, with the extra blood'n'gore. However, I think their DVD will be in 1.85:1 widescreen, instead of the 1.66:1 of the OOP Criterion version (which, also, presented the uncut X-rated version of the film), so there might be wee bits of the top and bottom of the frame missing; then again, the Criterion DVD was letterboxed, not anamorphic.

Apparently the first film will also come with a couple minutes of deleted scenes and a brand-new audio commentary. As a proud owner of the Criterion DVD, I don't think I really need this, and as one whose finances are a little tight, I don't think I can really justify getting this, but it might be worth renting some day. This was easily one of my favorite films in my late teens, and I still get a kick out of it.

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M. Leary   

Do you get a kick out of it purely because of the rock 'em and sock 'em action, or do you find any odd bits of substance beneath the storyline? You know, the sorts of things that metaphilm.com has built their empire upon.

By the way, here is a new book that just came out. I thought you would be interested in it. I haven't tracked down any reviews of it yet.

Edited by (M)Leary

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I'll forever be proud of my mom for letting me watch this when I was 7. This has remained a favorite over the years.

But my CC copy will do me just fine.

Peter, who's doing the commentary? Just Verhoven?

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Clint M   

DVDFile's review.

SoNowThen:

The first is a fine audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, producer Jon Davison, and screenwriter Edward Neumeier. This is a very comprehensive discussion of the film, both technical and philosophical. We're treated to insights concerning the evolution of the film's concept and Verhoeven's unique contributions. He was able to distill an outsider's view of our violent and corporate dominated society into this piece of social satire. I very much enjoyed the anecdotes and revelations, although it took me a while to realize that Verhoeven was substituting "Isn't it?" for the American vernacular of "Right?"

The Criterion Collection had audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, co-writer Edward Neumeier, executive producer Jon Davison, and RoboCop expert Paul M. Sammon.

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(M)Leary wrote:

: Do you get a kick out of it purely because of the rock 'em and sock 'em action, or

: do you find any odd bits of substance beneath the storyline? You know, the sorts

: of things that metaphilm.com has built their empire upon.

I find odd bits of substance, but I'm not sure it's anything as esoteric as metaphilm.com would find.

: By the way, here is a new book that just came out. I thought you would be

: interested in it. I haven't tracked down any reviews of it yet.

I could be interested, if I knew more about it ...

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Two-disc 20th-anniversary edition of the first film coming August 21!

I never did get the "trilogy" set. But it looks like this two-disc set will have all of the "trilogy" set's bonus features, and then some -- except for the sequels, of course. And my hunch is that this two-disc set will NOT have any of the bonus features from the Criterion disc.

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Finally picked up the 20th-anniversary DVD and checked out all the extras. I love this film.

And it's fun to see how, while some parts of this film are very dated (e.g. the female hairstyles -- though not Nancy Allen's!), other parts are nicely ahead-of-their-time. In one of the featurettes, one of the film's creators even talks about the scene where the bad guy pops a "DVD" in the player... but this film came out a full decade before the first DVD players went on the market! The actor was actually popping a CD in the player, and the filmmakers figured it would be kinda nice and futuristic if it had video content. (And CDs had only been on the market for five years when this film came out! although laserdiscs had been around since 1978, I think, which would be nine years before this movie came out.)

I was aware of some of the behind-the-scenes stuff thanks to the Criterion disc -- the fact that the ED-209 was modelled partly after killer whales, or the fact that Verhoeven put Christ-imagery in the film (walking on water, etc.) and regarded the title character as an "American Jesus", which is to say a Jesus who carries a gun (and in one of THIS disc's bonus features, Verhoeven even talks about Jesus becoming more like "Che Guevara" in the latter part of his life, and as evidence he quotes that passage where Jesus told his followers to sell their cloaks and buy swords), etc. -- but I still learned some interesting stuff that I either hadn't heard before or had forgotten. Like how the bathroom confrontation scene between Miguel Ferrer and Ronny Cox was given a slight "homoerotic" element after someone talked to Miguel about the fact that his dad (Jose Ferrer) had played the Turkish officer who molests Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (another of my all-time favorite films).

Oh, and I'm beginning to wonder if I should feel bad about the fact that I bought the 20th-anniversary DVD and not the Blu-Ray. A lot of films are being re-issued on DVD now, at the same time that they are coming out in Blu-Ray and/or HD-DVD, so I have kind of resolved not to buy second versions of any of my DVDs until the hi-def wars are over. But in this case, I forgot, and I went ahead and bought the new DVD anyway without checking to see if there was a parallel hi-def release.

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MGM: two up for remake treatment

MGM could be bringing back the Cold War.

"Red Dawn," John Milius' 1984 tale of a group of American rebels fighting Soviet forces, is a candidate for a remake, studio toppers Harry Sloan and Mary Parent revealed Saturday at the American Pavilion in Cannes.

They also confirmed that 1987's "Robocop" could resurface in a new version.

Hollywood Reporter, May 17

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'RoboCop' Logline Reveals It's Actually a Sequel!

Present day Los Angeles, 20 years after the termination of the RoboCop program, the city decides to reinstate the program.

Bloody-Disgusting.com, July 15

Darren Aronofsky revives 'RoboCop'

'Road to Perdition' scribe David Self also on board

Hollywood Reporter, July 24

MGM to reboot 'Robocop' franchise

MGM is keeping the logline under wraps, but insiders say it will take the sci-fi vigilante classic in more of a noir direction.

Variety, July 24

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A thought occurs to me.

For years now, I have taken a special perverse pride in being able to say that "I have two X-rated movies in my DVD collection."

It's only half-true, technically speaking. Maybe even only a quarter-true.

But one of the films in question is RoboCop, the director's cut of which (first released on Criterion, now available along with the theatrical cut on the 20th-anniversary DVD put out by MGM) WAS rated X before a few seconds of blood and gore were trimmed to get an R rating instead.

And the other film is Requiem for a Dream, which was produced about a decade after the X rating had been retired in favour of the NC-17 rating, and which IIRC was released to theatres "unrated" instead of with the NC-17 rating, per se. (FilmRatings.com says the film is "unrated" because the NC-17 rating was "surrendered".)

The latter film was directed by Darren Aronofsky. So it's kind of fitting that he would now be directing the "reinvention" of the former film.

-

And here's another interesting parallel.

The original film was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who has wanted to make a big-screen movie about Jesus for years, if not decades, now. Verhoeven even claims that there is Christ imagery in RoboCop itself (the crucifixion-like execution of Murphy, who is shot rather than nailed in the hand; the image of RoboCop "walking on water"; etc.).

And Aronofsky has given a few interviews where he talks about how he really wants to make a movie about Noah.

So they have the ambition-to-make-a-biblical-epic thing in common, too.

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RoboCop Frozen

addition to Bond 23 (and, assumingly, the “F/X” remake I mentioned earlier today), debt-ridden MGM has whacked a ‘No Thru Road’ sign in front of Darren Aronofsky’s “RoboCop” remake.

'Nash' from the OCP-lovin' RoboCop Archive dropped me a line earlier today, stating that “ I've spoken with Phoenix Pictures [and] asked them about the status of ROBOCOP... they told me that the project is on hold. The problem is that Mary Parent, Chairperson of MGM, wants a 3D movie for the new ROBOCOP. But ,as you know, Darren Aronofsky is a real artist and he's not interested in Gimmicks like,3D,CGI,Filming digital, he wants to do everything as real (organic) as possible just like The Fountain”.

Moviehole.net, January 5

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The Financial Times says that Aronofsky has "left the RoboCop remake." Moviehole.net follows up by asking its friend at MGM about the situation there, and the friend replies: "Gone. Kaput. Canceled. It was one of the first casualties. [Darren] has lost interest anyway, I believe. Think we're all just going to have to be happy with the three RoboCop movies that are out there."

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Think we're all just going to have to be happy with the three RoboCop movies that are out there."

Did they say this with a straight face, considering that 2 and 3 sucked!

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Not only did this have me laughing out loud, it even kind of moved me. (Note to the squeamish: there are a few very brief glimpses of some of the bloodier bits from the film. But only a few. And very brief.)

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Peter Weller:

 

There’s two moments in my film history—and I’ll give them to you right now—that have just been wildly, psychotically enjoyable. One was doing the drug-bust sequence in RoboCop, because the Walkman had come out, so you had these little earphones that you could put in the RoboCop helmet, and I was playing Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain” during all the gunfire. Me with the 47-shot Beretta automatic pistol, blowing bad guys off balconies and stuff while “Red Rain” was pumping in my ears. [Laughs.]

 

The scene in question (warning: profanity and violence), and the song in question:

 

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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