Thursday, February 13, 2014

Video Gamers Will Feel At Home Watching Robocop

Movie Title:   Robocop

Grade:   B-

In a Nutshell:   Wow, a cop movie and not a single donut in the entire movie.  (wink) 
I saw this on an IMAX screen which provided rumbling so loud that you could FEEL the airplanes buzzing above your head and the robots pounding on the ground.  Guys who love video games will think this movie is cool and fun.  It feels like a shooter game.  It even looks like a video game when you see all of the data that Robocop is seeing in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, like threats, criminal databases, etc.  I laughed out loud when Robocop sees a suspect and the data reveals “Totally stoned.”  Another read-out says “Violence imminent” when someone finds out who one of the bad guys is.

My youngest son wants to be a robotic engineer when he grows up (he’s 13), so he has introduced me to the amazing world of animatronics and robotics.  I thought the whole idea of an organic creature INSIDE a mechanical creation was fascinating.  The company says they spent $2.6 billion dollars to make him.  Wow, and we thought the Six Million Dollar Man was a big deal.  (I used to love that TV show.)

I never saw the original, so I can’t compare the source material with this remake.  I’d love to hear what YOU think!

Uplifting theme:   I loved the scene where a patient is trying to learn how to use his new robotic fingers to play the guitar.  In the movie, emotion gets in the way of controlling the robotic movement, so the patient admits to the doctor in a frustrating truth “I need emotion to play.”  The themes about what makes us human and the power of free will come out loud and clear.  An interesting dinner table conversation could be to discuss why humanity should be valued over computerized efficiency in today’s world of technology.

Things I liked:
  •  Pat Novak mentioned his web site  For kicks, I thought I’d check it out to see what’s there.  It takes you to Omnicorp’s web site where you can learn about all of the cool weapons they “make”.  I wish our TV shows had the cool green screen graphics that he used on his show.
  • Abbie Cornish has the most perfect nose, don’t you think?  I didn’t like her hair styles in the movie, but I loved her cute black striped jacket and pretty scarf.
  • I liked Robocop’s mechanical abs.
  • There were several scenes that showed Alex Murphy without all of the Robocop parts on his body after the accident.  Without a spoiler alert, it was pretty amazing CGI.  His throat was perfect, showing him swallow with perfect timing to his mouth’s movements.
  • I thought they did a great job creating some hatred for the Rick Mattox character who kept calling Robocop “Tin Man.”  It was a nice touch to play the Tin Man song from the original Wizard of Oz during the first test after Robocop’s surgery.
  • Robocop can pick up a weapon and lift the prints off to scan his criminal database.  That sure would be handy.

Things I didn’t like:
  •  Big corporations are always the bad guys.  All of their employees are evil, greedy, and selfish.
  • Quick tip: Don’t sit too close to the screen.
  • Almost all of the CGI was amazing, but I thought the car bomb flames looked super fake.
  • I thought it was pretty doggone convenient that Alex Murphy’s face wasn’t hurt at all in the car bomb.
  • It always bugs me when Hollywood shows protestors who are intolerant religious fanatics.
  • Predictable plot. 

Funny lines & moments:  
  • Robocop doesn’t have the quit wit and playfulness that Iron Man has, but there are still some humorous moments.
  • I thought the imagery was hilarious when the TV reporter at the beginning of the movie was in Tehran, talking about how safe the children were on the streets with everyone living in perfect harmony while the gigantic robot tanks rolled past on the road and innocent civilians were targeted by Droids for threat evaluation. 
  • “Why are Americans so robophobic?”  - Pat Novak
  • As the company was looking at potential candidates for their Robocop technology, they saw a picture of a military Sergeant who was touted as “masculinity incarnate” because he was such a studmuffin.
  • When Norton operates on Robocop’s brain, Alex Murphy says “It tastes like peanut butter.”
  • I thought it was hilarious that the company did focus group studies for market research on two groups: prisoners and kids.
  • “I say we go on 3.  3.”  - Rick Mattox
  • “Hey Dr, what happens if I taze an exoskeleton with a little A-hole inside?” – Robocop
  • “If I had a pulse, mine would be racing.”  - Robocop when he sees his wife for the first time after his surgery
  • “At least I know you’re the right color now.” – Alex Murphy’s black partner
  • “Has the U.S. Senate become pro-crime?”  - Pat Novak  (Based on the decades of unscrupulous behavior of Senators, I thought that was an ironic question.)

Interesting lines:
  • “Americans don’t want a machine.  They want a product with a conscience.”  - Raymond Sellars
  • “They fear what they don’t understand.” – Pat Novak
  • “Your body may be gone, but you’re still here.”  - Norton   (That’s what I tell myself every morning when I look in the mirror.)
  • “People don’t know what they want most of the time until you show it to them.” – Raymond Sellars
  • “It’s the illusion of free will.” – Raymond Sellars  (That’s how I feel when chocolate is near me.)
  • I thought it was interesting that Liz Kline’s character who counsels the company’s robot program was quite robotic herself.  Intentional?
  • “What’s bigger than a hero?  A dead hero.”   - Converation with Raymond Sellars

Things to look for:
  • What is that center picture hanging in Raymond Sellars’ office?  It looks like a red, chocolate flower.  There I go again…me and chocolate…
  • I wonder how much Bing paid to have their search engine featured on the computer when Robocop was gathering data.
  • Nice rod-iron spindles on Alex Murphy’s stairs in his home.  I wish I had them.
  • Who would win a battle:  Will Smith’s I, Robot or Robocop?  Just wondering.

Tips for parents:   Prepare for lots and lots of shooting (mostly bloodless), shattered glass, explosions, and cool weapons.  Samuel L. Jackson swears a couple of times at the end during his TV show, but he gets bleeped out.

If you're interested in watching more Robocop, there are several versions to choose from.
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