The remake of Robocop can only restore the myth par excellence of the original Robocop that first emerged in the late 80s only if it does not have a sequel. What will be there to say? Considering the original motion picture had a trail of sequels that shifted away from the original matrix of what the original was what about and stifled the myth of the man tragically killed in the line of duty only to be resurrected by a technology whose capitalist backers ends going cancer on each other as far as the lucrative business of stopping crime is concerned.
Unfortunately cultural texts, when they have proven to be popular, have the appeal to encourage those who have conceived them to spawn their continuation long after they have ended – long after the hero has avenged himself. This epidemic continuation may occur, in certain circumstances, shortly after the original story has been concluded to relegate that first appearance of the argument it sought to resolve into a continuing argument that can results in a trilogy (the matrix) or octalogy (star wars). Need I go on spelling it out in a world, our world, that finds itself either in an entirely repeat mode or a revisionist limbo that seeks to relive success based on its previous popular culture? Tied to this relive mode are the financial spinoffs that results from the consumerism that will engulf the text. But don’t we just find it curious that a remake of a motion picture or a continuation of it seeks either to reunite with its diehard fans while cultivating new ones? And it needn’t try hard to do so for its success may be guaranteed by the fact that the parents or guardians of the new audience may spark an interest in the original motion picture work on the minds of the new generation since the original had proved to be popular, in their ‘time’ of release, so to speak. By so doing the parents may unwittingly or knowingly endorse the viewing of the new work.
However what we have seen to date is that remakes do not remain true to the plot of the original matrix. The original embodiment, of what they are based on that is. There is always a deviation. This is understandable. The text or motion picture relic has to be revamped visually and narratological its content is concerned in order that it appeals to the contemporary context that it finds itself inhabiting when it finally sees the light of day. Granted. The textual ferment of the narratological content and visual stylization of the work have to be overhauled in order that the text, in its newest sense it truly stands alone but most importantly speaks to a contemporary situation. And in turn pre-empt, temporarily, being evaluated on the same merits of the prowess of the original work it is based on.
Should the new work not employ new devises in its genesis the contemporary motion picture consumer familiar with the original might just think that the maker of the film could’ve just digitally re-mastered the original film since the new version has nothing to offer by way of speaking, content; perhaps even context, to him or her. This is, needless to say that the motion picture as a remake film will be pitched at the same person qua audiences that has consumed the motion picture some thirty years or so ago. In turn we must not be ignorant of film nuts who, even though born decades after the original, will be familiar with the work.
It is not rocket science that the person spoken to via the motion picture is a far more different person thirty years ago or months later (in case of our young audience nuts about the original text) as far as maturity of their visual language vocabulary is concerned. They have survived other texts vis-à-vis films, better than the one that they are diehard fans of. What is at the core of the efforts of the remake is 1. The deployment of nostalgia, due to elapsed time, vested in the original work and 2. Depositing that nostalgia as loyalty in the reworked version of the original myth inherent in the remake such that a spark of interest is attained and maintained. Finally for the new version of the text to survive it must attempt and hold its own ground as an entirely new work with its own fair share of audiences behind it. If it achieves this it would enter the annals of cultural artifacts that survive time itself.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2014