I know a while back I wrote about that it’s a great time to be a nerd. However, there is a horrendous flipside to all that; a flipside that sometimes makes me ashamed to consider myself a nerd.
It’s not even confined to those who consider themselves nerdy, but it’s certainly more prevalent in those who do. This week a trailer for the new Robocop movie was released online (see below). To say the outpouring of vitriol and hatred towards this movie (that no-one has seen in full yet, I might add) has been nothing short of embarrassing. Sadly, it’s nothing new and such outcries are almost a weekly occurrence these days. Just ask Ben Affleck (continues after trailer).
Now I’m a fan of the original Robocop movie; it’s a film that’s very much of its time, released during the height of 80s decadence which director Paul Verhoeven satirises beautifully in the film (“I’d buy that for a dollar!”) and also has the extreme over the top violence that seemingly every action movie in this decade had. In my opinion it’s one of the best movies to come out of the 80s and a lot smarter than it gets credit for – as are most of Verhoeven’s ultra violent films incidentally such as Total Recall and Starship Troopers – and I have enjoyed it since I watched it at a frankly way too young age so that henchman that got covered in toxic waste got turned into porridge haunted my dreams for weeks.
But I’m not against the new film whatsoever.
While the current trend of making a reboot of an older film with a built in fanbase and recognisable brand name is a little dispiriting and does nothing to disprove the notion that Hollywood has run out of ideas, it doesn’t automatically mean that the resulting film will be terrible. History has proven that a lot of them aren’t great (Hello, 2012’s Total Recall) but I’m a firm believer in not judging a book by its cover.
Or a film by its trailer.
This past week the internet has been full of comments and blog posts full on hating the film based on the short two minute trailer. Some complained about the lack of gore; fair enough, the movie is rated PG-13 but since when was gore part of the original movie’s charm? You may have thought it was ‘mega awesome’ as a teenager, but watching the film as an adult these things tend not to matter. Others complained about the lack of satirical bent. Really? You want biting satire in a trailer for a movie now? But the worst of them were the people who can’t make up their mind about why they hate it. One comment that stuck out was someone complaining that they were rebooting it, then in the next sentence moaning that they weren’t making the exact same movie as before. So…you hate them for remaking the movie in the first place, but also hate them for putting a fresh spin on an old idea, which Robocop 2014 seems to be doing, and not just making the first movie again shot for shot?
Now to be perfectly honest I’m not especially hopeful for the new Robocop film. It does look like a watered down version of the original but made a bit cooler and more Iron Man-y. But I’ll not be outright dismissing it before seeing it. Who knows? It might be a classic. It certainly has a lot of great talent in front of the camera, such as Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton. And if it’s not? Well, the original Peter Weller flavoured film still exists. It’s not as if this version of Robocop overwrites the first film now, does it?
But to quote, ironically enough, Ben Affleck from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back “the internet has given everyone in America a voice. Unfortunately everyone has chosen to use that voice to bitch about movies.”
We’re now in a world where, because of the ever expanding nerdom of the masses there are more angry voices to be heard than ever before. It’s no longer the domain of a handful of angry keyboard warriors. Affleck’s appointment as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman for 2015’s Man of Steel sequel garnered so much disagreement that 50,000 people signed a petition to stop him. And it’s even bleeding into the more ‘mainstream’ movies with a petition being raised over the apparently controversial casting of Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey in the 50 Shades of Grey film; as opposed to apparent fan favourite Matthew Bomer with over 75,000 signatures and counting at time of writing.
And that is as terrifying as it is ridiculous.
You can be angry or annoyed at a casting choice or the direction a film appears to be taking all you want, but please, don’t boycott or sign petitions to change things without seeing the finished product.
Throwing your toys out of the pram reflects badly on us all.