For director Jose Padiha's forthcoming reboot of RoboCop it's been anything but smooth sailing. First it was a divisive piece of very early concept art (see above) that showed an extremely updated version of RoboCop - then it was a scathing "review" of the film's script, and finally there was talk of director Jose Padiha's struggles to work with studio MGM. Fans understandably now have doubts about this reboot satisfying their hopes.
However, some choice casting - like Joel Kinnaman as the new Robocop and Michael Keaton as the film's villain - suggested certain elements of the production were progressing nicely. But as with any reboot of this type, fans tend to reserve first judgment until they see the suit, and are thereby given a better idea as to where the film is headed.
As we said, supposed concept art for the new Robocop armor was previously unveiled (to a mixed reaction) - but it was far from official. Now, a pair of set photos have appeared online that show that the alleged early concept art wasn't too far off from what might be RoboCop's final design.
Check out the RoboCop concept art below, and compare it with the first look photos from the film's set:
On a pure gut reaction it's hard not to acknowledge how few details this current suit shares with the Paul Verhoeven-created original. Yes, the spirit is there, but where is the polished silver metal or the thin visor? Instead this suit reveals one of Alex Murphy's hands has a one-tone color scheme, and a 3/4 visor.
When Kinnaman first talked about the design of the suit he said audiences would be able to see his face and eyes, as indicated by this redesigned helmet. Additionally the actor said RoboCop's movements would be "less twitchy" and more indicative of how robots might move in the year 2046, something reinforced by the sleek, almost bodysuit-like design of the armor.
That being said, it's hard to see this version of RoboCop as anything but a guy in a specially designed suit. The armor, while potentially more realistic as far as the film is concerned, bares too many similarities to a Batman or Iron Man suit to ignore. Granted, those films have grossed small fortunes at the box office, so it's not too surprising to see MGM borrow from their lead.
Fan reaction to the set photos thus far has been pretty mixed – with some praising the natural evolution of the 1987 suit and others acknowledging the obvious copycatting of everything from Mass Effect to G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes. Surprisingly, there's actually more concern over whether or not RoboCop will run in the film than with the look of the suit. When studios reboot a property like RoboCop there's bound to be some detractors, but the fact that fans aren't wholly against the redesign is a fairly good sign.
For fans that are crying foul of the design, there is a silver lining: In the RoboCop script – if the one HitFix's Drew McWeeney got a hold of was indeed the final version – the augmented police officer goes through three different armor versions over the course of the film. Like Jon Favreau did with the first Iron Man, Padiha presumably wants to show the evolution of RoboCop from a base design to the one that will be featured in future films.
If that is still the case, the suit featured in the photos could merely be an early version - one that is "upgraded" just in time for the film's climax; then again, it could also be that 3.0 version, which means this is the direction the reboot is headed, and more importantly this is the new RoboCop.
It's also important to note these are set photos and are in no way indicative of how the suit might appear on film. But since this is a major leak we wouldn't be surprised if MGM unveiled an official RoboCop photo some time soon.
RoboCop is slated to release in theaters on August 9, 2013.
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