Meh, They're No Veridian Dynamics: Robocop Corporate Propaganda
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Meh, They're No Veridian Dynamics: Robocop Corporate Propaganda

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | July 18, 2013 | Comments ()


Fiction is interesting not just for what it says to us but what it says about us. There are piles of films and books which have no particular lasting value artistically, the endless cavalcade of mindless entertainment with little to say beyond boom. And that’s fine, because such an impulse gives us giant robots, and I think that is indisputable as a net positive to society. But even after such entertainment loses whatever entertainment value it had, as the strings it plucks in our subconscious no longer resonate, there is still an archaeological value of sorts, in remembering which strings it was that were so effective to pluck at one time or another.

The original Robocop is by no means a good movie, and if you happen to catch it on one of the extended late night cable channels while flipping around bored (or AMC, which has some strange ideas about which movies are classic sometimes), you’ll quickly notice that it just doesn’t hold up at all. It’s not just the cheese or the terrible special effects, so much as the premise and context which no longer hold any resonance. The crack epidemic and its armageddon of urban violence is so far in the rear view mirror, that hinging a story on the logical notion that in a few years all cities would be urban warzones has as much of an emotional logic to us as old Cold War movies that posit that widespread nuclear testing will obviously lead to mutant monsters terrorizing us.

I mean Detroit did basically end up like Robocop predicted, but that doesn’t terrify people so much as ensure that they don’t want to move to Detroit. The emotional trigger pulls with a dry misfire now.

The most interesting part to me of an updated version of an old story is how they will modify the backbone to accommodate new emotional context, especially when it’s a story that seems to have so little resonance. Here’s a video that is a mocked up version of an advertisement for OmniCorp, the wonderful engine of industry in the Robocop universe:

Meh, they’re no Veridian Dynamics, but it does seem like they’re going to aim more for the corporate dystopian power angle, which still has some mileage on it. Though by the time this comes out in 2014, the inevitable clumsy references to the 1% and Occupy Someplace will likely have been just painfully beaten into the ground, if they’re not already.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • toblerone

    With Detroit filing for Bankruptcy see today the original Robocop seems all the more plausible. Corporation swooping in to take over policing and other public services totally could totally happen.

    Murphy's death is the original is still one of the worst things I've ever seen in a movie.

  • BlackRabbit

    So is it a timeloop? They build the statue so they know to make Robocop so someone knows to make the statue, so someone...

  • Some Guy

    Have you seen the criterion version? They edited a lot out for the theatrical run. What couldn't get any more violent does. Uncomfortably. Verhoeven had the violence turned up to 11 that day.

  • toblerone

    No and considering I still cringe at even the thought of the original I'll probably pass. It's too bad the sequels sucked and never probably explored Murphy's personality reinserting itself. That would have made for some serious mindf*ck material.

  • katenonymous

    I've long thought that Robocop is one of the few movies I've seen where the depiction of violence actually was relevant to character and plot.

  • csb

    The original Robocop is by no means a good movie

    Oh. No. You. Did. N't.

  • Maguita NYC

    No one thought drones in American urban life a tad nauseating? No matter if you are for or against our raging wars abroad, no matter if you are for or against the use of drones as method for killing safely from a distance, this little fictive Veridian clip brought forward the possible scary notion that it could become part of our everyday urban life and consequently, facilitate a more powerful police state.

    Techno industries were participants and often borrowed from Sci Fi productions to advance their own technology and bring the future to our homes, so to speak. Ever since Minority Report, I've been made aware of sequential leaps in industrial science. And this irks me somehow.

    Or the heat is finally getting to me. No matter. Beam me up and away Scotty!

  • Gauephat

    Robocop is a phenomenal movie; I'm getting the inkling that Mr. Wilson didn't understand the satire and themes (which is really par for the course for Verhoeven, who has made a career out of people thinking his incredibly smart movies are incredibly dumb).

  • Hailey Cayden

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  • Some Guy

    I stopped reading after "you’ll quickly notice that it just doesn’t hold up at all. It’s not just the cheese or the terrible special effects." Edit: but then I felt guilty for not finishing, and read it anyway.

    Robocop is a very smart movie. It's easily Peter Weller's best role, Paul Verhoeven's best direction, and there have been few if any movies like it that essentially capture the conflicting spirits of man and machine.

    Sure, it's cartoonish and violent, but it's still very deep, extremely well crafted, and damn entertaining.

    Plus, it's one of only a few science fiction movies actually given the Criterion Collection treatment, a company known for recognizing ""important classic and contemporary films."

    It might look like a B movie, but if you really think it's a B movie, you really aren't paying attention to the movie.

  • Boothy K

    Plus one of two movies I had on VHS as a kid in the eighties that my brother and I watched at least 80 times! Peter Weller is the bomb.

  • BlackRabbit

    Check out the first Screamers. He's pretty watchable in that too.

  • Some Guy

    Screamers is a good one. But for all around best performances, his role as Buckaroo Banzai ranks right up there near the top.

  • kali yuga

    It's as though the person who wrote this article lives in an alternative universe.

  • Fredo

    The crack epidemic and its armageddon of urban violence is so far in the rear view mirror

    I'll let you go on believing that.

    Looking back at Robocop, it's amusing how prescient it was about so many of the things that have come to pass. News media as entertainment, doctors advertising on TV, the militarization of the police, corporations running public departments/tasks and on and on. Yes, it's certainly a good B-movie about a man rebuilt as a nigh-indestructible robot, but the social commentary that's in there wasn't off from where we were headed.

  • Three_nineteen

    Apparently SLW doesn't live anywhere near Chicago.

  • emmalita

    Veridian Dynamics had the best fake propaganda. I miss Better Off Ted.

  • If you're wearing a grey or metallic suit with black accents, can the motion detector see you? (That was maybe my favorite 22 minutes of sitcom EVER.)

  • emmalita

    I showed that to my cousin who claimed that Better Off Ted was boring. I changed his mind.

  • Sho nuff. You may have had to disown your cousin otherwise. ;)

  • emmalita

    I barely own him as it is.

  • "Veridian Dynamics: Don't Cross Us. Ever. Seriously. Just Don't."

    EDIT: Oh man, now I am picturing Veridian Dynamics inventing Robocop. It is GLORIOUS and I don't ever want to come back, Goodbye.

  • emmalita

    And now I'm imagining who would fuck it up more - Lem or Philip.

  • And what kind of weird sex things Dr. Bamba would include just for kicks.

  • emmalita

    Perhaps a choking grip, ala Dr. Krieger. And other things that should not be mentioned on a family site like Pajiba.

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