Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Genre Character of the Week: Robocop

As someone always interested in media studies, I was pretty excited earlier this week to get the 2013 film Robocop from my local library earlier this week, as I was interested in how it would measure up to the original.  Then I realized, my kids haven't seen the original yet, so tonight we addressed this and watched the 1987 original, Robocop.

A quick side note - the original film (even 17 years later) is one of the most violent films I've ever come across, and I watch a lot of horror and war films, so even through I'm saying I showed my kids this movie, it's important to note that my kids are 17 and 21, and both of them have been raised with the goal of increasing media literacy since they were very young, looking at not only any given story, but how it works and why.  Although I feel the film has a lot to offer it's audience, don't show this movie to the younger crowd as the violence is intentionally shocking and pretty horrifying.

I first saw this movie at the age of eleven, and at the time I simply thought it was pretty awesome.  I loved the action and was entranced by both the point of view segments and the great performance done by Peter Weller as the main character.  It wasn't until repeated viewings at an older age when I started to connect the film to Frankenstein and began to see it as the satire on corporate culture and the war on crime it was.

What I like best about the character (in the first film) was the great sense of loss that he carried; having been overwritten by new programming, police officer Alex Murphy was supposed to no longer exist except as the basic biological foundation of Robocop.  The story follows his existence from man to machine and back to man again (sorry for the mild seventeen-year-old spoiler), and that character arc is one of the greatest things about the film - and also the stop motion animation for ED-209, which was pretty darn great.

I'm nervous to see what the reboot will bring to the concept, but am open to what it has to offer.

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