23 Robocop

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CSM126
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23 Robocop

#1 Post by CSM126 » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:27 pm

RoboCop

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/260/23_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Called by Ken Russell "the greatest science-fiction film since Metropolis," controversial director Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop is a special effects-laden cult phenomenon. The film features a resurrected and roboticized hero (Peter Weller) in a new, supercharged cyborg body, struggling to reclaim his memory and avenge his own death. Written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, this film is a grown-up superhero fantasy come to vivid, bloody life.

Special Features:

- The unrated director’s cut, including "excessively violent" shots cut from the theatrical release to avoid an X rating
- Audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, co-writer Edward Neumeier, executive producer Jon Davison, and RoboCop expert Paul M. Sammon
- Film-to-storyboard comparison
- Storyboards
- An illustrated essay on the making of RoboCop
- Theatrical and teaser trailers
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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#2 Post by Narshty » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:33 pm


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#3 Post by manicsounds » Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:54 am

The current MGM SE Boxset has the Criterion unrated cut,
but a different commentary and some new extras too.

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#4 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Nov 24, 2004 10:41 am

manicsounds wrote:The current MGM SE Boxset has the Criterion unrated cut,
but a different commentary and some new extras too.
MGM’s transfer is a matted 1.85:1 as opposed to Criterion's 1.66:1. MGM has upgraded the transfer to anamorphic widescreen with a brand new 5.1 surround soundtrack.

MGM has got Paul Verhoeven, screenwriter Edward Neumeier and executive producer Jon Davison back to do another commentary, this time together in one room. They recount all kinds of amusing anecdotes about making the movie. Neumeier feels that many of the faux newscasts are now dated. As always, Verhoeven is candid and claims that when he first read the script, he thought it was “a piece of shit,” but his wife convinced him otherwise. Strangely, they seem to be watching the rated version of the movie. This is a very funny, spirited track as they joke and talk over each other like old friends.

There is a brand new, 37-minute retrospective featurette entitled “Flesh and Steel: The Making of Robocop.” There are new interviews with the three men from the commentary track but sadly no one in front of the camera was included. This is hardly a fluff piece as many of the conflicts between the crew are examined—it was hardly a harmonious shoot.

Also included is “Shooting Robocop," an eight-minute electronic press kit made at the time the movie was made and "Making Robocop,” another promo puff piece done at the time of production.

There is a storyboard comparison with commentary by animator Phil Tippett. He talks over the scene of ED-209’s first appearance with the storyboards included. This is very informative if you’re into the technical aspects of the movie.

Also: five deleted scenes that add up to roughly three minutes and include a nun who sings the praises of Robocop and an ad for a topless pizzeria.

There is also a photo gallery, two theatrical trailers and a TV spot.

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#5 Post by cdnchris » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:07 am

Hmmmm, I may have to pick that up. I never bothered because I bought the Criterion one and never cared for the sequels (or at least the second one, I never saw the third), but it sounds like it has some good stuff on it. It's only $23 at Wal-Mart. I may have to stop by there sometime this week.

I don't know about everyone else but I get a big kick out of this film. I still think it's one of the funniest movies I've seen, as well as one of the better written and directed action films.

It's also one of the first Criterion DVDs I bought. I was driving home from Toronto and stopped at a video store I liked on the way. In their new releases they just started stocking Criterion DVDs and I ended up buying RoboCop and Seven Samurai. Then the next week I picked up Spinal Tap, Dead Ringers and Silence of the Lambs. Then basically every week or so after that I went there and picked up more. And that's how this stupid sickness began. And I'm very impressed that I managed to have "some" money for college.

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#6 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:24 pm

cdnchris wrote:I don't know about everyone else but I get a big kick out of this film. I still think it's one of the funniest movies I've seen, as well as one of the better written and directed action films.
Mine too. Along with Starship Troopers, it is my favourite Verhoeven movie. Love that biting satire.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" :lol:

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#7 Post by Sai » Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:48 pm

You should also check out some of his Dutch movies. The Fourth Man is good, and Soldier of Orange definitely has its moments. And then there's also Spetters, which is like an X-rated episode of Dawson's Creek.

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#8 Post by manicsounds » Wed Nov 24, 2004 10:55 pm

Maybe it was just me, but I found this movie very sad, in the vein of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man.

Sure it had some funny moments, violence, and satire, but especially the scene where he goes back to his old home, absolutely heartbreaking.

But man, the very last line in the movie... whoever doesnt know it I wont spoil it, but it does give you a smile when you hear it.

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#9 Post by cdnchris » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:55 pm

The movie is fairly sad as well, especially the house scene, that whole aspect of that movie was handled rather well I thought. You don't really get to know Murphy all that well so when he, as RoboCop, goes out to find out who he was, you learn with him, and it actually makes it that more heartbreaking because you begin to long for the same things he does.

That's what I always loved about this movie. Many dismiss it as a simple sci-fi/action film, but it really does have some more layers to it, beginning with the fully realized characters and wicked biting satire that still works today. I can rewatch this over and over and I still pick up on other things in it. I barely remember the second one, but I remember everything that made the first so great to me was missing from the sequel. I'm sure the third is even worse.

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#10 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Nov 29, 2004 10:53 am

Agreed. the first one has a few layers to it that elevates above the usual sci-fi (or skiffy if you will) pap. interestingly, in the commentary, Verhoeven alludes to parallels with Christ. makes sense if you think about it. Murphy crucified by Boddicker and his cronies only to be reborn...

And yeah, the second is pretty awful... it basically degrades into a simple comic book with Robo beating on another mechanized robot and cheesy villains (a little kid?!). the third one... oogh, let's not even go there. crap.

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#11 Post by lord_clyde » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:24 am

It's great to see people talking about this movie! I have always ranked this very high on my all time list of favorite films, right up there with Taxi Driver, Seven Samurai, and The Godfather. I loved it as a kid for the violence, and I love it as an adult for everything else!

I'm always fascinated by the avenging angel, especially when that angel of death is getting vengeance for himself. Peter Weller gives a great performance (I know this is the kind of role you would think anybody could pull off, but listen to his voice, and consider how difficult it would be to move around in that suit!) and the early scene in the board room where the ed 209 blasts the executive is one of my favorite dark comedy scenes ever.

And the music! Damn I love the music in this film. And the villain, played by Kurtwood Smith is brilliant, always walking that fine line and confident he'll pull through (he calls his boss Dick, and while that may be his name you get the sense he's using the other meaning, or the part in the crack lab where he gets a gun pulled on him and shows amusement).

Anyway, this is an overlooked great film that spawned two bad sequels (Part 2 had some good laughs, but I always hated the scene of 'closure' between him and his wife, it was unnecessary) a cartoon, a live action tv series, action figures, lunch boxes and other merchandise that did nothing to suggest the original Robocop was nothing more than your typical sci-fi action picture. To anybody that hasn't seen this, or hasn't seen it in awhile, go check it out.

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#12 Post by lord_clyde » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:41 am

I just started watching it and I noticed a goof. At about 15:36 when Murphy is calling for backup while in pursuit, you can see what looks like part of a sweater coming in from the left side of the screen. I would put up a screen capture but I don't know how to do that. :(

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#13 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:12 am

lord_clyde wrote:And the villain, played by Kurtwood Smith is brilliant, always walking that fine line and confident he'll pull through (he calls his boss Dick, and while that may be his name you get the sense he's using the other meaning, or the part in the crack lab where he gets a gun pulled on him and shows amusement).
Not to mention he gets the best line in the whole movie: "Bitches, leave." :lol:

Yeah, I really dig the black comedy/satire of this film. Like when ED209 blows away that hapless exec and the Old Man says to Dick, "I'm very disappointed."

Also, fantastic character actors like Ray Wise (who gets dragged by his hair no less!) and Miguel Ferrer (kneecapped by Smith!).

Not to mention, like most Verhoeven films, he doesn't hold back on the ultraviolence -- something you don't see much in big budget studio films anymore. It still makes this film and his others stand out in that he's willing to go that extra mile and go for the hard R rating instead of safe and cozy PG-13 rating that so many movies go for nowadays to appeal to a wider demographic.

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#14 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:31 am

Yes I was thinking how violent it is in these times where even the zombie movies are rather bloodless. Isn't it strange how a portrait of an ultra-conservative society seems to fit in rather well with ultra-violence.

Now that the complete version is available I can also really enjoy the changes to the language in the TV version I've got recorded: "Sometimes we even called him *airhead*"!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#15 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue May 08, 2007 9:15 am

Yet another edition of this movie out on DVD...

From DVDAnswers:
Title: Robocop (IMDb)
Starring: Peter Weller
Released: 21st August 2007
SRP: $22.98

Further Details:
MGM Home Entertainment has sent over details on a 20th Anniversary Edition of Robocop which stars Peter Weller, Kurtwood Smith, and Ronny Cox. The two-disc special edition will be available to own from the 21st August, and should retail at around $22.98. The set will include both the theatrical and extended cuts (presented in anamorphic widescreen, along with DTS 5.1 Surround tracks), along with commentary by director Paul Verhoven, writer Ed Neumeier and executive producer Jon Davison, a Flesh And Steel: The Making Of Robocop featurette, a Shooting Robocop 1987 featurette, a Making Robocop 1987 featurette, The Boardroom: Storyboard With Commentary By Animator Phil Tippet featurette, deleted scenes, an OCP Press Conference feature, a Nun In The Street Interview, and further featurettes on the cast, special effects, and design. Completing the set will be a Villains Of Old Detroit featurette, a Special Effects: Then And Now featurette, a Robocop: Creating A Legend featurette, and trailers and TV spots.
Artwork

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#16 Post by cdnchris » Tue May 08, 2007 12:21 pm

The DTS track might have me sold, as long as I read it's actually decent.

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#17 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue May 08, 2007 1:43 pm

They'd better use a different transfer. The current MGM (with the blue Robocop) is awful. It'd be nice if we could get Verhoeven's preferred AR too but I'm not counting on that.

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#18 Post by Person » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:11 pm

I recieved the new 2-disc today. Disc 1 is the theatrical cut with the previous MGM commentary. Disc 2 is the unrated, uncut 103-minute version. The featurette, "Villains of Old Detroit" is awesome. Ray Wise is a hoot. I was disappointed by the deleted scenes. I was expecting the on-the-street report with the nun would be outrageous, but its just boring. The "Naked Pizza" advert with the "I'd buy that for a dollar" is quite amusing. The new "Creating a Legend" (17 minutes) focuses on the creation of the suit, but covers much of the same ground as the previous "Flesh and Steel" (37 mins) which has been carried over, thankfully. The Criterion LD can be seen in the background of Paul Sammon's interview.

For reference: DVD Beaver

As for the transfer (1.78:1), it looks new. RoboCop doesn't look blue, but grey like the Criterion. The colors in the liquor store are far more vibrant in the new transfer. The contrast and brightness levels are more balanced, too. Verhoeven may have preferred 1.66:1 back in the 90s, but I can't imagine him wanting 1.66:1 pillarbox today. The headroom looks excessive on the Criterion these days.

The original Dolby SR as a 4.0 (L,C,R and rear mono; Criterion is L,R and rear mono) Dolby track is provided. Sounds great.

The Dolby 5.1 has a stronger punch than the 4.0 and Basil Poledouris' terrific score is mixed a bit higher. The DTS may sound slightly better, I can't be too sure.

If you are a big fan of the film, then upgrade.

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#19 Post by Cronenfly » Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:03 pm

Anybody else have a problem with the 20th Anniversary edition? I purchased a copy at HMV in Canada that, on first glance, had both the first and second disc, but it turned out that they were exactly the same content-wise (both had the content only Disc 1 was supposed to have). I took it back for another copy, but it had the same problem. Major bummer. Almost as bad as the Kino Wong Kar-Wai set that I bought that had a Barbecue America with Rick Browne DVD in place of Days of Being Wild.

EDIT- All Canadian 20th Anniversary DVDs are f-ed up: do not buy the Canadian edition until a new one is out. More on the DVD Talk Forum.

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#20 Post by Person » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:25 pm


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#21 Post by domino harvey » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:39 pm

I see these new releases still RoboCrop the 1.66 image

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#22 Post by Person » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:09 pm

It isn't cropped from 1.66 - 1.66 may have been Verhoven's "prefered" ratio for the film (or all of his films? None of his other American films are 1.66 on DVD) in the past (and we have knowledge of him being of a different mind now) but it is clear and obvious that the film was composed with 1.85:1 theatrical projection in mind: no heads are lopped off, no boom mikes are present and the framing is well-balanced throughout in the 1.78:1 transfer, which is safer ratio for video transfers. Conversely, we know that The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie was composed for 1.66:1 theatrical projection and the Criterion transfer is cropped to 1.78:1, which is decidedly not a safe ratio for 1.66 films.

I percieve the new MGM transfer to be superb and recommend the set highly.

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#23 Post by Cronenfly » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:21 pm

Anybody else heard of audio track inaccessability on this release (I believe it was the DTS, commentary, something else, perhaps), and whether there are plans for a Canadian re-release to fix the 2nd disc error?

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#24 Post by david hare » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:51 pm

It isn't cropped from 1.66 - 1.66 may have been Verhoven's "prefered" ratio for the film (or all of his films? None of his other American films are 1.66 on DVD) in the past (and we have knowledge of him being of a different mind now) but it is clear and obvious that the film was composed with 1.85:1 theatrical projection in mind: no heads are lopped off, no boom mikes are present and the framing is well-balanced throughout in the 1.78:1 transfer, which is safer ratio for video transfers.
Gordon is right. Quite obviously Verhoeven enjoys working in 1.85 widescreen ratio which is why he's stuck with it, or Super 35 2.35 since for all his subsequent US pictures. The 1.66 framing was presumably a "concession" for non US theatrical screenings, but I recall seeing it in Oz theatrically masked to 1.85. This is simply not an issue, as it definitely IS for the Criterion versions of Gertrud, Discreet Charm and Peeping Tom to name only three.

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#25 Post by Cronenfly » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:37 pm

Excellent news: the defective Canadian editions have been recalled and the replaced, proper edition is making its way into stores. Thank goodness it didn't take a long time: I was worried it might take ages.

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