Warner Brothers and Harmony Gold are pressing forwards with their plan for a live-action adaptation of the 1980s animated series Robotech, finally assigning a director to the long-gestating project. Sources have already identified Toby Mcguire as the producer who will be spearheading this project and rumors have emerged that Leonardo DiCaprio may also be involved. The immense success of the Transformers trilogy has no doubt played a role in Warner Brothers's decision to move forwards with the project. However, with it's tremendous global fanship, there is a lot at stake when it comes to the success of this beloved franchise.
My love for Robotech
I have always been a big fan of Robotech, reminiscing about all the times I rushed home as a child to watch every episode and the later owning the entire collection on VHS, then DVD, then Blu-Ray. So what got me into Robotech as a kid? It was the first real animation. It had things in the story that before then I had never been exposed to, Love, tragedy, pain, death, courage, honor and the human spirit. Before Robotech came along we were watch G.I. Joe or Transformers and although they had action there was no real story, no one ever died, there was no real sacrifice and there was no resolve. In Robotech, you felt every emotion perceivable, at times I was either jumping for joy or crying my eyes out.
What is Robotech?
For those who don't know, Robotech was a massive three part Japanese anime series which included Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA all of which were parts of a single cohesive 85-episode storyline spanning multiple generations much like the Ender's Game saga. The general overview is that an alien ship crash lands on Earth and confronted with the possibility of a new threat to mankind, world leaders united to create a federation to rebuild the ship and learn it's technology so that they may understand and better prepare to defend Earth from any future threat by aliens. Upon the christening of the ship aliens called the Zentraedi arrive in our solar system in pursuit of the ship and so begin the war between mankind and the Zentraedi. The hero of the first saga (Macross) Rick Hunter, is an accidental hero who finds himself at the center of the conflict and rises up to become the savior of the human race, his children and his friends children go on to continue the following sagas in the continue struggle to understand the origins of the Aliens and that of the human species itself.
Toby Mcguire: Producer and Star?
Ok enough of the back story. The first issue to address is the question of Toby Mcguire, of the Spider-Man movie franchise, who is slated to be the producer and possible star of the movie. While people have ranted in comments, blogs, and twitter that they don't have faith in his ability to adequately produce a film of this magnitude and scope, I want to first say we should be glad that someone with his recognition and status has taken the step to pursue something that might have otherwise been lost or never realized. I assume that because he has taken personal interest in it that he too was and is a big fan of the series and there is no better person to push it forward than a real fan, as opposed to people who only are money driven. I would say to all the fans out there, "Don't hate, give him a chance." It is much better for it to be in the hands of a true fan who understands and appreciates all the nuances of the original and will ensure that much of the necessary aspects are retained. Now there are talks that Leonardo DiCaprio is potentially involved now which should make this very interesting and exciting.
Mechs: Original or Modernized?
The second issue is that of the production and the modernization of the mechs, much in the same way that Transformers was modernized with modern cars and vehicles. In my opinion, it's not a bad thing, people sure are in an uproar over this saying it's a bastardization of the original, but I would have to agree that no one want's to see it limited by the time value of when the animated series was produced after all, the storyline itself is much farther ahead in time and what exist today so a little spring cleaning is probably necessary to make it believable. Who wants to see them turning knobs and talking on giant Zack Morris cell phones just for the sake of staying true to the original. However, with that said, there is one thing that must remain the same which is the actual transformation of the Veritech fighters. The genius in the design of the mechs were far ahead of their time and unlike Transformers which always left you wondering, "where do they actually sit during the transformation?" Robotech mechs were actually engineered to actually transform logically and function realistically. No detail was left out, so much so that the toys were awe-inspiring with thoughtful details, there was a place for everything and everything in it's place.
Crowd Funding, Do It!
Lastly is that a movie of this scope should not risk being under funded thus producing something sub-par and below the expectations of all the Robotech fans. This is why I think it is an ideal opportunity for the producers to harness the power of crowd funding via Kickstarter or custom crowd funding like that used by Coin, to try to collect as much money as needed to make this film a reality. With the success of Veronica Mars via crowd funding, which pulled $5.7 million, we know it is certainly possible to utilize the power of fans to fund a movie. However a more appropriate comparison would be the amazingly successful funding of the game Star Citizen who's unique fanship is for the most part is very similar to Robotech's, which pulled in a whopping $39 million to date.
I wrote Mr. Toby Mcguire an email myself via Facebook to implore him to consider this avenue of funding.
"I don't know if you actually ever get through all your messages but hopefully it gets to you. So I read in the news that you are persuing the Robotech Live Action and I commend you. I've been a big fan of your work and am a life long fan of Robotech as I assume you are too. I just want to mention that if you want pursue major funding, you should consider crowd sourcing it. Veronica Mars, Star Citizen are great examples of the power of fanship in funding a project. The Robotech fanship is so huge there is a very high possibility that if it were put on kickstarter or a private crowd funding process it could be the biggest record funding ever witnessed. Don't discount the opportunity of both to garner the respect of the community and obtaining the adequate funding to give this movie the love and respect that it deserves."
My Dream Cast for Robotech Live Action Movie
Please comment and let us know who you think it should be.
Young and a bit reckless, but is brave and a leader in the making.
(Need A New Actress)
A generally nice but naive and slightly self-absorbed young girl.
Independent but somewhat solitary personality, slightly cold but with a hidden tenderness.
Experienced mature commanding personality, methodical with rare burst of excitement.
A free spirited leader, strong and jovial. Kind of a playboy. Knows when to joke and when to be serious.
The quiet nerdy and humble character, analytically and composed personality.
The comedian, doesn't take things seriously, is reckless and inexperienced.
A strong independent women determined to prove herself to others. Vicious, Vengeful and Passionate.
The carefree, free spirited leader, quick thinker and jovial. Balances Hayes tough demeanor.
A cold and calculating demeanor, thinks strategically and methodically but acts immediately with extreme prejudice.
A subservient self-deprecating personality, analytically and logical but has a curious personality that is facinated by knowledge.
A spiteful hateful personality, obsessed with fame and recognition, a rebel that defies authority, selfish and vengeful.
I think in general all Robotech fans want to see a Live Action Movie made to quench our thirst yet at the same time, we really don't want to be disappointed by a movie that will ruin all chance of any future for it. To achieve that, it must have that balance of being modernized while retaining the key aspects such as dialogue and scenes of the original animation. Ender's Game, V for Vendetta, Sin City were great adaptations of the originals. Yes changes were made, Ender is not as brutally violent as he was in the book but that was forgivable. We just don't want it to be like The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy where so much was crammed in and so much was changed from how we envisioned it, which made it a real bastardization of the original. I think most people are in agreement that while we thank Harmony Gold for first bringing this to American audiences in the very beginning, we also agree that the animated Robotech movie which was a condensed mash up with all action and no story was a complete flop and an embarrassment to the franchise. In general Harmony Gold has had a record of poor management of the franchise and they themselves seem to be going through some schizophrenic ordeal being both a entertainment house, a real estate company and an obscure movie theater company, the signs of a company desperate for cash and struggling to survive.
It would have to be accept that, Yes! some parts are corny or even childish such as how the Zentradi are disgusted by the kissing scene between Lisa Hayes and Rick Hunter, or when Max says "I can't kill you, you're too beautiful." When Miriya pleads with Max to kill her after being defeated. This is the core of the movie, the concept that the aliens being clones are devoid of human emotions because they have no sense of loving relationships. The nuances of every character is important and time and care should be taken to reveal them as they make up the larger fabric of the story similar to the character development in the Lord of the Rings. You can't just cut minor characters or even semi-major characters out because it just won't fit, take for example the latest Transformer movies which were a disappointing in the way that Starscreams role was so marginalized and neglected. I believe many of us were expecting the conniving Starscream who attempted at every opportunity to seize control over the Decepticons, a Starscream who always had ulterior motives and was a key instigator in every engagement.
I mean things like the airshow can be cut down. The relationship between Claudia and Fokker can be compressed. Rick trying to figure out his Veritech after crashing into Minmei's house can be compassed or improved. And YES! it doesn't have to be some non-stop action with constant battle scenes just to show off their CGI muscles. This is supposed to be a human story, an emotional one so don't try to fit it all into one movie, if it turns out to be 5 movies or even more, I'm pretty certain people will watch it all, then buy the collector set, then go to Comicon to meet the actors for years to come. Last thing I would want to see is some action packed campy Michael Bay production on a quest to break the record for random transformations and blowing stuff up. Not saying Bay is bad but there is a time and place for gratuitous comic relief and endless non-stop action, and this is not that time.