Robocop: 20th Anniversary Collector's Steelbook Edition

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Robocop
20th Anniversary Steelbook Collector's Edition
Conclusion
December 10, 2007
Robocop - Steelbook Edition: Introduction / The Movie
Robocop - Steelbook Edition: A Closer Look Robocop - Steelbook Edition: Features & Specifications
Robocop - Steelbook Edition: Conclusion


Robocop
20th Anniversary Steelbook Edition
Features: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DTS 5.1 (English), Original Dolby 4.0 Surround (English), Dolby Surround (French). Two-disc set, featuring Steelbook packaging, several commentaries and featurettes.
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release: August 21, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr 43 mins
Official Website: robocop.com
Fan Website: robocoparchive.com
MSRP: $19.99
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
Pros
  • A remastered classic
  • Robocop looks much better than the original release
  • Over 2 hours of extras
  • Original Dolby Surround 4.0 audio soundtrack
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtrack offered
  • A linear story which is simple to follow, and easy to have fun watching it
  • Action-packed
  • No-holds on the violence
  • A "guy" movie
  • The plot holds up to many films released today--probably even better than a lot of the films made today
Cons
  • None observed
Observations
  • Audio format switching is not simple--you have to press "MENU" on your DVD player, go to "LANGUAGE SELECTIONS", then select the audio format, then you are forced to select a subtitle (or "NONE") and then "RESUME" movie. A rather laborious process for just wanting to figure out which audio format sounds better.
The Robocop 20th Anniversary Steelbook Collector's Edition is having the best of both worlds. A two-disc set, stuffed with extras and a steelbook package to keep them in. While I have yet to determine if this is the "best" transfer available, I will comment the extended cut and the theatrical cut are extremely better than the original release of the film on DVD many years ago.

Robocop can easily be viewed as a simple linear story, in delivering its message to the audience, but still allowing viewers to debate the extent corporations have control over a society. When left to its own devices, corporations are inherently thinking about profits, and corruption and internal conflict are certain.

With a movie such as Robocop, a linear story allows more fun while watching the movie. Today, directors and writers either try too hard or not enough, and it shows in the quality of their movies. Paul Verhoeven manages to keep the momentum at its maximum, but not overdoing scenes so they get old and the viewer is bored by the first half-hour of the movie.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PLUS

Robocop is certainly a classic, and it's somewhat of an indication of how true the themes of the movie have stayed with fans and those who appreciate it. There is one aspect of Robocop which was not addressed at the end. Delta City. Delta City was supposed to be a completely new Detroit, employing a few million workers, a new mostly crime-free city, allowing citizens to go about their daily business activities without feeling threatened and without being harmed. While we know OCP was financing this new city construction, we were left at the end of the movie with OCP still in charge of the construction, and ED 209's possibly still being used for the cleaning up of certain neighborhoods riddled with organized crime. This leaves an uncertain future for the city of Detroit.

Robocop also implies that in order to deal with violent and nearly insane criminals, you have to do deal with them accordingly, outside the typical restrictions of law enforcement. While on the one hand we applaud such strict enforcement and dynamic response, we also have the ED 209 example, which implies machines cannot deal with humans unless they have some sort of human trait. This trait is empathy.

When we combine the elements of man and machine, Robocop offers a glimpse of the future of how society could deal with itself. But in order to do this successfully, it must have human traits. It cannot be cold like a machine and have internal corruption within a corporation.

Robocop's inability to pursue anyone within OCP because of Directive 4, is a caution to those who would pass control over to a large corporate entity, and is another caveat to the idea of letting any large entity being its own creator and enforcer. In some sense this makes the situation worse than the Big Brother conspiracies, because government is accountable to its citizens and there are many public hearings which can happen as a result of investigations. With a corporation, no such internal investigations would ever occur, due to the nature and history of corporations investigating themselves in the first place.

Setting aside the underlying messages, Robocop is just a fun movie to watch when you want to see some raw blood and guts, and some funny one-liners. It's probably not a movie you'd invite your girlfriend over to see, but it's a great "guy" movie, and will never be outdated in my DVD collection.

The Audio

  • There are three main audio formats available. The original 4.0 Dolby Surround track, and a new Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Well, they all sound about the same. No kidding. I was rather surprised. After investigating further, I found the original soundtrack and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack are the exact same size (340MB). The DTS 5.1 soundtrack is 573MB, which explains why it sounds more natural and isn't front-heavy on the vocals and mids.

    In fact, the DTS 5.1 on this film is rather tame compared to other DTS soundtracks I've listened to in the past. The soundtrack is still free of a lot of ambient noises, which is rather good for a film 20-years old. I certainly give a thumbs-up to the soundtracks in general, but I do question the justification for offering the three soundtracks if there isn't much difference.

The Video
  • The video is superb. However, it is saturated, especially in dark and dim scenes. This is the reality of the age of the film. Still, I think this brings even more classic amusement and enjoyment to the movie. After all, why have movies which are all the same in tonality colors and what not? Robocop has a palette of colors which is definitely from the 80's, and I like it.
The Extras
  • There is a huge collection of extras spanning across both discs. I figured at least two-hours of featurettes and of course, the additional time for the audio commentary. For fans of Robocop, you simply cannot pass up this 20th Anniversary Edition.

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