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RoboCop Returns gets new director in Abe Forsythe
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Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:33 pm Reply with quote

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MGM was in a hurry to get this made, and it has had two directors (so far) attached, but it's still hasn't been officially green lit...?

Seems like it is still very far off from being made. Robo is once again in development hell.


It reminds me of the "Dan Aykroyd Case": He´s been saying "Ghostbusters 3" will be made since the 90´s (even some DVDs included on his filmography "Ghostbusters 3" with a release date of 1998 :roll:) and it never got made (well, there was a reboot and a soft reboot to come next year).

Not sure if Ed is trying to get people excited for a possible sequel and hoping the buzz would convince MGM or he´s taking too much Crystal Skull vodka from Aykroyd lately tongue

Anyway, letting the director doing "his thing" doesn´t sound too exciting to me. The cool factor, even if we´d end having a Robo-Rap and a Minotaur Cyborg with a Football Helmet, is that we would have what Neumeier & Miner had in mind to move the franchise and the character. Yes, it could be shit, or over the top, or too different from the previous incarnations, but the guys behind the first film wrote it. I feel when other people take the character they try to put Robo to fight some bigger menace, forgetting the character is more than this.




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Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:07 pm Reply with quote

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MGM was in a hurry to get this made, and it has had two directors (so far) attached, but it's still hasn't been officially green lit...?

Seems like it is still very far off from being made. Robo is once again in development hell.


We can thank Neil Blomkamp for getting all the fans excited before the project even began, then using that as a bullshit excuse for why he left the project. We all knew there was no rush to make the movie. Remember with the reboot how the first teaser poster came out years before the movie even went into production? Yeah, nobody is in a rush to make another RoboCop. And I damn sure am not in a rush to see the movie Blompkamp is making instead of RoboCop Returns.

This interview was a bit sad but overall it is for the best to know where we stand on this sequel... which is to say, we stand very far from seeing it. But that's OK if it is actually still moving forward. Not really too confident tbh. And for once it would be nice to hear a director wanted to do what the original creators or studio wants instead of always having to do their own thing. Sure, artistic expression and originality are important... but markedly less so in an established franchise. I can think of one recent example where directors listened to the wishes of the studio/producer and it worked out great. It's called the MCU.




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Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:00 pm Reply with quote

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I can think of one recent example where directors listened to the wishes of the studio/producer and it worked out great. It's called the MCU.


They didn't have much choice.




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Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:05 am Reply with quote

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RoboPimp :
I can think of one recent example where directors listened to the wishes of the studio/producer and it worked out great. It's called the MCU.


They didn't have much choice.


Yes. And the end result is the most successful movie franchise in the world. So obviously they are doing something right...




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Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:43 pm Reply with quote

Not really feelin the new movie or tv show...I always used to say that Robocop is lucky because it was a trilogy and it stayed a trilogy. Not a fan of remakes or redone sequels (with the exception of Dark Fate)

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Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:46 am Reply with quote

I confess, I'm a bit baffled by this claim that the original ROBOCOP from 1987 is flawed because it has effects and designs and animations and visuals that look like they were made in 1987. I also wouldn't call the film perfect because no project is -- although the only thing I would change about the movie is Lewis doesn't get a satisfactory closing note in the film.

The reality is that every story is imperfect because every storyteller has to choose what they want to focus on, what points they want to make -- and flaws result from being unable to devote unlimited time and attention to every concern raised by the story. The note of RoboCop declaring his name was "Murphy" proved too triumphant to dilute with a subsequent scene showing Lewis alive and recovering. But I do think they might have added the news sequence featuring Lewis after the credits. Maybe a new cut could do that.

Aside from that -- I think trying to graft 2020 visual effects on a 1987 film is a bad idea. While George Lucas' additions to STAR WARS can be debated (I guess?), what can't be debated is that CG animation is severely at odds with all the practical models and don't fit into the film around the new effects. It's distracting and instead of watching the film, the audience is watching for where the mismatches are to identify the new effects and this erodes immersion and suspension of disbelief. The audience notices when CG probes are flying around the screen amidst the practical Mos Eisley stage. They are distracted when CG X-Wings flying through space are suddenly practical models when they explode.

I think a modern audience will either appreciate the 1987 original as a product of the time in which it was made or dismiss it as dated and if that's the case, it's their loss. I don't believe the ROBOCOP franchise would gain a new, modern audience through a CG-augmented revision of the original film. This hypothetical audience would watch something new.

There is something to be said for restoration work on STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, the original STAR TREK series and STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION -- but for THE MOTION PICTURE, it was to finish a cut that had been sent to theatres in a rush and painstaking effort was made to add film grain and match the effects to the movie around it, a movie that hadn't been enjoyed on its original release. For the TREK TV shows, it was to rebuild the original effects for high definition and it wasn't to draw attention to themselves; it was to go unnoticed. It would be intriguing to see if the jerky stop motion effects in the 1987 film could be smoothed out as an effects test, but I'd just leave it alone as 1987 effects in a 1987 film.

I think there may be some insecurity that the RoboCop character was a product of a specific time in history and culture and America -- 1987 -- and it's entirely possible that his time has passed. Fairly or unfairly, the ROBOCOP franchise has not been carried from generation to generation. Fairly or unfairly, new installments -- judging from this message forum -- have simply alienated the original fans without really adding to them. And fairly or unfairly, the reboot made little to no impact and also alienated the lead actor.

It is the nature of corporations to keep their copyrights active, but ROBOCOP in 2014 wasn't a huge box office draw. I suspect that MGM will perpetually keep the ROBOCOP franchise in some state of development to leave themselves the option of moving forward. But they're probably not eager to spend another $130 million only to earn $242 million of which they only receive 60 per cent from American box office and 20 - 40 per cent from overseas gross. Despite Neill Blomkamp claiming MGM was eager to film a new ROBOCOP, the film was never actually greenlit, no script has been approved -- it's like MGM is maintaining a motorcycle in the garage but ultimately never driving it because it's the station wagon and the minivan that can carry the most groceries and offers the most gain for its use.

I get the sense that with the 2014 film being so recent and middling in its returns, there is no real feeling that ROBOCOP is an untapped gold mine right now, so the studio is in no hurry to take another run at it. They may take another chance when more time has passed, when they have release date they're keen to fill and when they feel ROBOCOP has been sitting around long enough and they want to see if they can shake a few nickels out of it and if they can do it at a price they're prepared to risk. I'm only speculating.

RoboCop is a great character and it's a shame he's been diluted through so many sequels that the fans didn't enjoy that dampened their fondness for the original. Each sequel, fairly or unfairly, seemed to dig the fans into a deeper hole of disappointment and despair. At some point, maybe it's best to stop digging (at least for awhile). I think it's fine for MGM to spin its wheels and go nowhere.

I don't feel the 1987 film ever needed or received a sequel. To me, the RoboCop character is based very specifically in Paul Verhoeven's satirical style of violence matched with Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner's equally satirical script offering a guardedly optimistic story set in a deeply cynical world. This style of social commentary and action has never been replicated. The second film is a cynical story in a cynical world. The third film views RoboCop as a children's police mascot and an action figure in a line of toys.

THE SERIES is also not a sequel; the mere presence of Madigan should make it clear that it is a separate continuity from the Verhoeven film -- and the second and third film in terms of narrative voice are stylistically in a separate continuity as well. PRIME DIRECTIVES is a version of RoboCop for syndicated television in the early 2000s. Frank Miller's ROBOCOP comics are a lightly cynical story in a deeply cynical world.

As someone who enjoys PRIME DIRECTIVES and the Frank Miller comics -- I still don't consider them canon to the Verhoeven film. Just speaking for myself, the Verhoeven film stands alone and the sequels are not sequels to me. They are other versions of RoboCop in the same way Mark Bagley draws Spider-Man one way and John Romita Jr. draws Spidey another way.

My point is, I think it's fine for fans be happy with the original film and not feel embarrassed that it looks like it was made in 1987. I think it's fine to not have any new ROBOCOP installments for awhile or even forever.




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Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:32 pm Reply with quote

Maybe the next Robocop movie should be something made outside of the continuity, that way there's no need to try to remake old special effects technology and no fears for using the current tech. RoboCop vs. Terminator would be a perfect way to do it because it happens outside of the sequel story and is a big draw for scifi fans because of the books and character crossover. In fact, a crossover in some sense might be the best way, simplifies the story issues. I would love to see a movie that featured RoboCop in the same vein as the 1980s TV All-stars cartoon (the one that was anti-smoking) with a bunch of cool characters or a Captain N: The Game Master team up. Ready Player One had cameos like this, but they were really short.
I also think that the Mortal Kombat 11 characterization of RoboCop, Terminator and now Rambo are awesome and they are bringing a lot of attention to these 80s action heroes.
What I am suggesting would be a colossal cash grab for the actors onboard, but it could be a lot of fun.




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Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:20 pm Reply with quote

I think the main problem with RoboCop is that he belongs to the "macho" era. Sure, Robo is something more than that, but he appeared during the 80´s, in a World dominated by Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Norris, Seagal and all these cold-blooded "good guys" who would tear into pieces the baddies. And while some horror movies put gore into mainstream audiences now, to the point of getting terms as "torture porn", action films got toned down, and way too serious.

Sure there are exceptions, but they usually are low budget attempts. And it seems MGM/Sony or whoever owns RoboCop right now don´t want to do a scaled down version or a gritty continuation that wouldn´t allow kids to watch it. Money, folks.

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I think there may be some insecurity that the RoboCop character was a product of a specific time in history and culture and America -- 1987 -- and it's entirely possible that his time has passed.


Remember what happened to RebootCop. He has a taser as a main weapon, main action scenes were shot in the dark and there´s no space for jokes. Add TV-film melodrama to the mix because FEELINGS are important. oh dear

Going back to not allowing jokes in current cinema, I asked the great Galyn Görg if she could visualize another RoboCop on the same terms as the original(s), and she replied that she doubt it. The film industry had become a corporation bussiness, in her own words, and she doubt a character in a world which satirizes corporations wouldn´t be that cool to film corporations, as the future Detroit from the film would make fun of them.

Add to the mix something I say over and over here: Robo is a tricky character to handle. He could be lost on over-the-top plots or going way too far into sci-fi to the point the character is too different from the original. You could fall into a serious approach, which transforms him and Detroit into a bore festival, or he could fall into parody (in which he could look way too stupid).

Anyway, I doubt we´ll have anything Robo related in some time. I doubt the studios will greenlight RoboCop Returns, and the Dick Jones idea sounds way too far from RoboCop to make it happen. Even Boom Studios, the owners of the license for comic book, don´t have any plan for Murphy. So I guess the franchise is dead again.

I think we should go back to talk about PD and the Reboot one more time... Laughing




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Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:28 pm Reply with quote

ChAnOoD :
I think the main problem with RoboCop is that he belongs to the "macho" era. Sure, Robo is something more than that, but he appeared during the 80´s, in a World dominated by Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Norris, Seagal and all these cold-blooded "good guys" who would tear into pieces the baddies. And while some horror movies put gore into mainstream audiences now, to the point of getting terms as "torture porn", action films got toned down, and way too serious.


I would say that the 1987 film is very much a rebuke to the macho era of action heroes, declaring them to be inhuman, robotic kill machines and devoid of humanity with RoboCop being the epitome of such heroes until he regains his Murphy identity. And I think you're right that RoboCop was more effective when existing amidst those action heroes you list.

ChAnOoD :
Remember what happened to RebootCop. He has a taser as a main weapon, main action scenes were shot in the dark and there´s no space for jokes. Add TV-film melodrama to the mix because FEELINGS are important. oh dear


I'd say that the modern Marvel movies, most of which are extremely comedic, are open to humour, but it isn't satirical, dark, subversive humour. It's situation comedy humour between characters. It's not ironically absurdist violence from Paul Verhoeven; it's quips and wisecracks from skillful TV sitcom veterans.

ChAnOoD :
Robo is a tricky character to handle. He could be lost on over-the-top plots or going way too far into sci-fi to the point the character is too different from the original. You could fall into a serious approach, which transforms him and Detroit into a bore festival, or he could fall into parody (in which he could look way too stupid).


I think the issue with the ROBOCOP franchise has generally been in two areas. The first: Paul Verhoeven's particular tone of comedy, violence and absurdity proved difficult to replicate with R2 going too far into violence without Verhoeven's ability to elevate it to ridiculously being funny. The studio would have been better off just waiting for Verhoeven and Neumier and Miner to be ready to make a sequel.

And the second: ROBOCOP is the electric Frankenstein, he's a monster who must recover his identity as a man -- but the design of Rob Bottin made the look of RoboCop suited to mass merchandising: toys, lunchboxes, costumes and other products aimed at children. Which led to R3 and the TV show presenting RoboCop as a child's harmless robotic police officer friend.

I think TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP are both franchises where there was a standout entry -- T2 and R1 -- and studios keep trying to aim for that massive box office return but have repeatedly fallen short. A film needs to earn three times its budget to turn a profit; DARK FATE cost about $200 million and made $261 million. R2014 cost $100 million and made about $242 million.

If these franchises have a future, I think it needs to be on a lower budget: no big movie stars, filmed on something closer to the budget of a CW superhero show. And filming RoboCop as a man in a suit on a tight schedule and a low budget has proven less than effective; poor Richard Eden suffered so horribly in the suit on a TV schedule for THE SERIES that he refused to return for PD's even tighter schedule. PD, fairly or unfairly, was disliked for not meeting the previous standard of mimework for the character, a standard that takes extensive preparation and rehearsal.

But today: Robert Downey Jr. after the first IRON MAN movie was barely ever in the full practical suit. It was computer rendered and he did the motion capture. It may take a few years for it to be cost effective for RoboCop to be a motion capture character performed in a special effects bay by an actor and rendered onscreen in CGI. But once that technology arrives and once RoboCop can be done on a lower budget, I think we'll see the character again. 1987 is farther and farther away; a new RoboCop might be a reboot.

I think a kid-friendly RoboCop could work, but this version of RoboCop should not be presented as a sequel to Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop and would be a reboot. I don't know if Paul Verhoeven's tone could be replicated in a reboot because an anti-corporate screed, as you note, is unlikely to win approval from the corporations that would be asked to fund it.

I think a RoboCop _____ number of years after the 1987 film is something that only plays to a small audience and doesn't justify a $100 - 200 million budget but could work on a $20 - 30 million budget, maybe as a streaming film or mini series. HALLOWEEN 2018 made a 'mere' $255 million, but only cost $15 million to make.

The Neill Blomkamp movie was probably going to be a $100 - $200 million project and I can't see a sequel to a movie from over 30 years ago making $300 - 600 million at box office when nearly every installment since the original has, fairly or unfairly, been disliked by the viewers most invested in the franchise.

Which may or may not be why MGM was never willing to move forward with Blomkamp and probably won't move forward with Forsythe.




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Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:59 pm Reply with quote

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I'd say that the modern Marvel movies, most of which are extremely comedic, are open to humour, but it isn't satirical, dark, subversive humour.


I usually found a lot of Marvel´s humor kinda dumb and silly. I know it could work for kids, but I´m not their target audience. Way too goofy at times for me.


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If these franchises have a future, I think it needs to be on a lower budget: no big movie stars, filmed on something closer to the budget of a CW superhero show. And filming RoboCop as a man in a suit on a tight schedule and a low budget has proven less than effective; poor Richard Eden suffered so horribly in the suit on a TV schedule for THE SERIES that he refused to return for PD's even tighter schedule. PD, fairly or unfairly, was disliked for not meeting the previous standard of mimework for the character, a standard that takes extensive preparation and rehearsal.


I still think a (kind-of) Netflix production would work as a series. Think on The Series without the mayor cheese. Spend the bucks on the suit (I think a CGI one would elevate the costs drastically) and put Murphy solving some crimes. Let it be R-Rated, please, and add satire to it. I don´t think they´d need to expend too many bucks on it, except from some explosions (which I assume they´d be made digitally, as most of TV Shows today) and sets. The lack of budget would get everything grounded instead of RoboCop jumping like Super Mario on the Reboot or on skates like Alpha Commando.


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I think a kid-friendly RoboCop could work, but this version of RoboCop should not be presented as a sequel to Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop and would be a reboot. I don't know if Paul Verhoeven's tone could be replicated in a reboot because an anti-corporate screed, as you note, is unlikely to win approval from the corporations that would be asked to fund it.


I´d prefer a kid-friendly Robo animated. I´ve been watching (one more time) some of the episodes from The Series and man, it looked "gritty". Sure, it´s cheesy, but the locations are dark, some streets looked menacing, and with a change of tone (less heroic, over the top rendition of the Poledouris theme, etc), it´d look more serious. I can picture Eden blasting some baddies instead of shooting them a tracking device in the bum.




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Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:07 pm Reply with quote

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If these franchises have a future, I think it needs to be on a lower budget: no big movie stars, filmed on something closer to the budget of a CW superhero show. And filming RoboCop as a man in a suit on a tight schedule and a low budget has proven less than effective; poor Richard Eden suffered so horribly in the suit on a TV schedule for THE SERIES that he refused to return for PD's even tighter schedule. PD, fairly or unfairly, was disliked for not meeting the previous standard of mimework for the character, a standard that takes extensive preparation and rehearsal.


Richard didn’t suffer. Not to the extent you describe. They had his stunt double, Ken Quinn, stand in for him for several shots per ep. Ken would say his lines on-camera, then Richard would come in the next week to dub his own voice over Ken’s. That became the M.O. on the part of the producers, not long after mid-season. It’s most obvious in the opening teaser segments of ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Midnight Minus One’. Richard only appears at the end of each sequence for the “hero” close-ups.

Also, he turned down “PD”, because they wouldn’t pay him his salary. He’d worked in the business for many years by that point, his image and likeness were exploited for commercial gain post-SERIES (used and mistaken for Weller in publicity & magazines), so he commanded a certain pay rate by 1999/2000. Too high for Julian Grant, Jay Firestone and their partners at Fireworks, who should have made it work by cutting the order down to 2 or 3 movies. Not 4.

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But today: Robert Downey Jr. after the first IRON MAN movie was barely ever in the full practical suit. It was computer rendered and he did the motion capture. It may take a few years for it to be cost effective for RoboCop to be a motion capture character performed in a special effects bay by an actor and rendered onscreen in CGI. But once that technology arrives and once RoboCop can be done on a lower budget, I think we'll see the character again. 1987 is farther and farther away; a new RoboCop might be a reboot.


You can’t beat a physical, tangible, fibreglass suit with Hollywood set lights bouncing off of it. Natural day and night light reflecting on its surfaces; location/street fixtures beaming down; or little ‘fill’ and ‘key’ altogether for an ominous, eerie tone. Think the rare publicity still the ROBODOC team uncovered and used in their 6-minute extended trailer, taken when Peter is walking away from the flaming gas station in the first movie.

It’s a design that benefits from the time and effort spent by a professional director of photography, gaffer and their relevant departments on-set. VFX artists wouldn’t be able to apply those same live, ‘real-world’ touches. They’d forever be trying to mimic them, which would send the budget into the red. The sheer amount of hours required to pull that off could only be afforded by the movie budgets you quote.

Why wait for the tech to reduce both, when costumers and fabricators could assemble replicas of the suit with lighter-weight materials for greater comfortability and flexibility. Or a revamped/modified design that eliminates the arduous, physically draining aspect altogether. A new design even.

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I think a kid-friendly RoboCop could work, but this version of RoboCop should not be presented as a sequel to Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop and would be a reboot. I don't know if Paul Verhoeven's tone could be replicated in a reboot because an anti-corporate screed, as you note, is unlikely to win approval from the corporations that would be asked to fund it.


“Billions” on Showtime and “Succession” on HBO say different.

The future of ROBOCOP lies in cable television. Or as Chanood wisely cites, streaming platforms.




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Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:42 pm Reply with quote

Eden's official explanation for his absence from PRIME DIRECTIVES: "I was approached to reprise the role for the PRIME DIRECTIVES mini-series, but I was getting busy with screen writing projects and a production of a horror film Shannon and I wrote called THE INTERVENTION, which is represented by our manager Kailey Marsh of Kailey Marsh Management. But I would love to be involved in the RoboCop universe again someday." http://oktruebelievers.com/articles/2015/7/18/a-future-to-this-life

I've never heard that money was the issue with his negotiations to return for PRIME DIRECTIVES, but that he was treated very poorly on THE SERIES (12 hour filming days in the costume, made to share a trailer with guest-stars) and he wanted dignity, safety and an easier shooting schedule. Production on PRIME DIRECTIVES could offer dignity and safety but not an easier shooting schedule and they amicably parted ways. The PRIME DIRECTIVES team has always expressed sadness that they couldn't come to terms with Eden who was the first person they approached for their lead. Reading the comments on this board, he's clearly who the fans would have preferred.

I've read a bunch of interviews with Eden and he is just the sweetest and kindest man, expressing gratitude for the fans and for the work he did on a single season of a 1994 TV show even years after he left the set. His thought and care for the RoboCop role is astonishing and respectful: taking movement classes with Cirque de Soleil, staying in character if children were present on location shoots, wishing the best to Joel Kinnaman -- just an all around wonderful person and a great Alex Murphy and RoboCop. I adore Richard Eden and wish Peter Weller would be as pleasant about RoboCop.

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You can’t beat a physical, tangible, fibreglass suit with Hollywood set lights bouncing off it. Natural day and night light reflecting in its surfaces; location fixtures beaming down; or little ‘fill’ and ‘key’ altogether for an ominous, eerie tone. It’s a design that benefits from that time and effort spent by a professional director of photography, gaffer and their relevant departments. VFX artists wouldn’t be able to apply those same live, ‘real-world’ touches.

They’d forever be trying to mimic them, which would send the budget into the red. The sheer amount of hours required to pull that off could only be afforded by the movie budgets you quote. Why wait for the tech to reduce both, when costumers and fabricators could put together replicas of the suit with lighter-weight materials for more comfortability and flexibility for an actor. Or a revamped/modified design to allow even greater levels.


You are absolutely right. Still, the technology may improve and become more affordable. Flying used to be unaffordable, now Supergirl does it every week.

Going with a man in a suit -- the Atom suit on LEGENDS OF TOMORROW is visually impressive and only weighs 25 pounds and makes Brandon Routh look like a cybernetic warrior... but it's still clearly a man in a bodysuit. The visual points of interest for RoboCop, at least to me, is that he looks like a robotic approximation of a man. The suit looks made to mimic a man rather than for a man to inhabit the suit, if that makes any sense. On THE SERIES, the suit weighed 120 pounds. I wonder how much it would weigh today. Even in 2014, the lead actor needed ice water pumped into the suit so he wouldn't die from heat exhaustion.




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Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:13 am Reply with quote

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On THE SERIES, the suit weighed 120 pounds. I wonder how much it would weigh today.


Really? I had always heard figures approximating about half that for the suits, maybe a bit more for the film versions, but still, not quite that heavy.
In any event the point stands and is reiterated by Weller and even fans who have actually worn suits themselves that it is a most ponderous thing to put on, nevermind move around in. But I do believe modern techniques could alleviate much of that these days.

That said, Chanood more-or-less said it for me, and you yourself made some solid points to which I'll only add that I agree completely with Spectrum and Chanood that Robo's future in a probable tangible sense isn't on the big screen but rather as a serial or quasi-serial on Netflix or the like. Something where they'd be able to have time to devote to fleshed-out stories and situations, not cost so much, and reach an audience more inclined to appreciate that type of program and aesthetic. That said a lot of the issues with the suit and 'seeming realistic' could be set aside by going animated, which I think again how it can be done these days would work while still retaining much of the RoboCop-ness of it.
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I don't wanna pay that, PhotoBucket. Now maybe you haven't heard, but I'm the guy in old Archive. So hows about you just shit snow for a year and I'll figure out something else. Sayonara!




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Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:15 am Reply with quote

Eden said in a STARBURST interview that the suit itself weighed 95 pounds and that the helmet was another 25.



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