Tag Archive: Robocop

Robocop and chiasmus: symmetry in story

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Robocop – an example of chiasmus in Hollywood films

Anyone who writes a screenplay knows about the three act structure. Books have been written on it ad nauseum and it is considered the default writing device in modern film storytelling, if not storytelling in general.

There are, of course, other structures. Every once in a while a film appears that breaks all the rules of the three act structure because it has adopted a completely different one to get the message across. The Fountain comes to mind. That story driven by theme, and not plot so it jumps forward and back in time and context repeatedly. Pulp Fiction is another film that comes to mind. The film could have been told sequentially, but it would have been boring, so the director, Quentin Tarantino, cut the film up and moved all the scenes around as a series of related vignettes. As it turns out, another film is Robocop (the 1987 version).  View full article »

Robocop sadly fails expectations

Well, the results are in and RoboCop did not do as well as hoped. According to RottenTomatoes.com, it made about $50 million at the box office, with the top box office take being about $4 million. That’s not especially bad, but given the cult classic that is the original RoboCop, it’s a statement of failed expectations. Read on for the skewering the critics provide.

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The new Robocop film is getting more interesting

A few days ago, I made a quick post on the new upcoming Robocop film. I felt then, and still do that enough time has passed that we can allow for a re-imagining of the original. I mentioned, however, that I also thought it would probably be a bad film. Lately when remakes or re-imaginings occur it’s a money grab and as a result the quality of the product suffers. Some new information has come to light to give me a little hope, though.

Hero Complex, a section of latimes.com, recently ran an article on the Jose Padilha, the director of the new Robocop. He’s an up and coming action director, who has done some notable work outside the US. While talking with the execs on the next film to make, he spotted the Robocop poster and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Here’s a quote:

“I remember that every single film they presented to me, I instantly knew I didn’t want to make it,” Padilha said. “I’m listening, and I’m [thinking] ‘RoboCop,’ that’s what I’m going to do. I have an idea for that.’ So at the end of the meeting … I pitched the idea. Two days later, I got a call from my agent, saying, ‘I don’t know what you did, but they want to do “RoboCop” with you.’ It was a good thing that it came into being this way instead of it being a studio already having an idea about what they want to make from the get-go. It was the filmmaker saying, ‘Let’s make this, and here’s my idea for it.’”

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Rather than re-hash what the online world has already stated about the Robocop remake, we thought we’d discuss the fact that this new Robocop is really a very nearly complete re-imagining. Basically it needs to be considered a different movie with the same name.

Take, for instance, Alex Murphy’s hand. In the original Murphy had all his limbs removed. In the new one, he clearly has a human hand. The theme is the important difference here, and the reason why the new film is a re-imagining that needs to be considered on its own terms. This is clearly a film playing on the public anxiety of where technology is taking us whereas the the original made no pretense to be something other than a high-tech action film (and a fun one at that).

Of course, that won’t stop the hordes who are complaining that the new film disrespects the original, and it won’t stop the film from being an action film with superficial social commentary. That said, this is a film that has come late enough that a whole generation hasn’t seen the original and the story flexible enough that it can be adapted to the time that it is presented in. That alone makes it worth checking out to us. Oh, it will probably be bad, but wouldn’t it be interesting to find out how not-bad it could have been?