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PLAYBACK 2015_ RoboMerch In Review
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Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:46 pm Reply with quote

Following my review of 2014 (which is HERE.) I thought I'd indulge in another review of my personal favourite RoboThings of 2015. This year proved probably more expensive than last year. My wallet is looking forward to a quieter 2016. And I’m running out of room for this stuff…

Apologies in advance for any oversized picture files – bear with me, I’ll be revisiting and re-editing where necessary but wanted to put this up before NYE.

So here’s my Top 10:



10
Electric Zombie Capital Combat 90 tee (April)


Electric Zombie continued to service fans of the 80s with some brilliantly designed merch. Along with a melting Emil t-shirt, this was a highlight. But it’s not the only EZ item on this list … nor is it the only Capital Combat 90-related item…



9
threezero EM-208 (January)


Threezero’s first reboot figure was strikingly detailed with good articulation. The paintwork on the plastic was the thing that bowled me over the most, giving an impression of a rusted silver body. I won’t dwell here on the disappointing red visor of the store exclusive RC-2000 v3.0, because the EM-208’s light-up visor was very bright and a nice contrast with its war-worn appearance. If this is anything to go by, their RoboCain will be a must-purchase…



8
NECA RvT range (April)


Okay it’s NECA rehashing their previous Robo moulds again, but it was nice to see Robo affiliated with the T-800 again especially in the year a new Terminator film got released. And the success of the line has led to a Robo-Terminator Future War Hybrid figure been designed. Hopefully, that will be hitting stores in early 2016!



7
BOOM! Studios ongoing comic series (Jan - Jun)


The art had been consistent up to and including issue 8, then things started getting more fluid with the artists than a melting Emil staggering into an oncoming car, but the storyfrom Joshua Williamson remained strong and well-plotted. Sure there were a few things in the comic that missed the mark. I mean, Robo would never explain to ED-209 how he would dismantle him mid-battle, but sometimes in comics, they do that exposition – maybe it's more a flaw of the medium, rather than the writing. Or maybe the writers are sometimes concerned that the artist's drawing won't make the action clear enough to the reader. Who knows? Who cares? This was a damn good Robo story. Which leads us nicely to…



6
Dead Or Alive Volume One (BOOM! Studios trade paperback, August)


The first trade paperback collecting the first four issues and now giving it an actual title! And consistent detailed artwork from Carlos Magno with strong likenesses to the source material. It’s nice to walk into the graphic novel department of a bookshop and see this next to RvT, knowing that anyone picking up either will get a product I can feel proud of as a fan.
http://www.amazon.com/RoboCop-Dead-Alive-Vol-1/dp/1608867196


5
threezero ED-2014 store exclusive Desert Yellow figure


So I pre-ordered this to my work address and forgot about it. A few months later, I get a telephone call from reception informing me that two very large boxes have been delivered and could I come and put them in my car. “Oh, that’s probably some furniture or something for my kitchen,” I reasoned, indicating something essential and practical. “Hmm,” said the receptionist who I’d not spoken to before, “They say ‘RoboCop’ on the side.” I instantly felt embarrassed yet proud at the same time. Anyway, these were ridiculously big and heavy. Fantastic detail like the EM-208, and with a brilliant dusty-looking appearance which doesn’t come across in this photograph. Well, someone had to buy them didn’t they?!



4
Electric Zombie Coppers


These exist! And they are nuts! Just look at them. What can I say?! Oh, and at this year’s Wrestlemania, I did enjoy the fact that when they did the Terminator: Genisys promotion, Twitter went nuts with people tweeting stuff about RoboCop!! I’ll try and add some screen captures later.


3
Basil Poledouris Soundtrack – NWR re-issue on silver-colored vinyl (July)


The full score was reissued on CD and digital download, but this vinyl reissue in a wonderful shiny silver sleeve was awesome. Issued as part of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s classic soundtrack range, I still think he’s be a great choice to helm a RoboCop movie with his gritty yet beautiful 80s aesthetic.
http://www.amazon.com/Robocop-Silver-Colored-Includes-Download/dp/B00V862HLK



2
Hot Toys Battle-Damaged Version and Alex Murphy double pack (July)



I was so excited when this was announced and pre-ordered as soon as it was available. I was surpised to find that the majority of people prefer the helmeted look. The likeness to Sir Peter of Weller was brilliant. The publicity photos made me wish for an all-CGI RoboCop film with the original voice cast where possible. This was my number 1 choice until I had the following epiphany…


1
ED-209 & RoboCain Chronicle figures


Okay, I’ve broken my own rule. My rule was the top 10 had to consist of things I’d actually bought. And I can’t afford either of these. So I was going to have this as an honourable mention before the countdown. Then I thought, “F*** THAT!” These are moulded on Phil Tippet’s original designs!! Surely, there is never going to be a better ED-209 figure than this?! Unless they create a real ED-209 droid which I can have guarding my front door. I probably can’t justify buying this. But if the merch lines dry up next year, I suppose I’ll have some more spare cash. To be honest, I’m pleased I didn’t splash out on the RoboCain if threezero are producing more affordable version next year. As for the ED, I’m bookmarking this link just in case: http://chroniclecollectibles.com/robocop-ed-209/ … Maybe I should just have a few festive drinks and let nature (and my credit card) take their course…



THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2016:

BOOM! Studios’ Dead or Alive Vol 2 trade paperback
NECA Robo-Terminator Future War Hybrid figure
Threezero RoboCain & RC-2000 v1.0
Machina’s RoboCops online web series



TOP 10 MOST WANTED
These are things that are unlikely. But I have hope…

1) 4K Special Edition Blu-Rays for RoboCop 2, 3 & 2014 with commentaries and extra features. RoboCop 2 should include the option to watch the Assembly Cut with reinstated scenes and the Basil Poledouris temporary score. RoboCop 3 should have an option to watch a version with CGI’ed blood-splatters during any shoot-out scenes and a new improved CGI flight-pack sequence.

2) The TV Series PROPERLY remastered Blu-Ray (not like that “remastered” German Blu-Ray.)

3) Marvel Omnibus 2 comprising the second movie adaptation and Simon Furman’s run (issues 12-23)

4) Dark Horse Omnibus comprising the third movie adaptation and all of Robo’s solo Dark Horse outings including the two mini-story prequels from Dark Horse Comics #1-3 for Prime Suspect & #6-9 for Mortal Coils. I can live without RvT in the omnibus because they can’t top the amazing reprints from last year, and there’ll probably be some rights issues.

5) Alpha Commando complete series on DVD/Blu-Ray

6) Marvel omnibus 1 comprising the first movie adaptation, Alan Grant’s run (issues 1-10) and “Unfinished Business” (issue 11 by Evan Skolnick).

7) Hot Toys Clarence & Melting Emil figures and threezero RoboCop 2 failed prototypes double pack.

8) NECA figures based on the Ultra Police line such as Lewis, Sgt Reed and a Red-Hot Robo (inspired by the Animated Series episode “The Man In The Iron Suit”).

9) Basil Poledouris’ RoboCop 3 full soundtrack officially released on CD and vinyl.

10) Ed Neumeier & Michael Miner to leak their final draft of Corporate Wars on the archive for me (ahem, I mean – us all) to read. Actually, this should be number 1.

Oh and I’d also like Deadpool to smash R-rated box office causing MGM to greenlight a fan-pleasing R-rated reboot sequel with more humour, violence, action and the original Bottin suit.

What are you looking forward to in 2016? What things would you like to see?




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Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:01 pm Reply with quote

Those are both nice lists. Some of it is ridiculously awesome - like that Robo plushie, some of it is downright beautiful and a long time coming, like the HT Alex Murphy figure and even the re-issues were appropriate - the vinyl soundtrack and even the NECA figures as they brought legitimate variants with new elements.

As for 2016... who knows. I'm not too hopeful, but that Chronicle Cain atleast is something I surely look forward to!
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Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:50 am Reply with quote

Fan said it - Great lists. The 2015 one does indeed have some truly awesome items, we got some real kickass stuff this year for sure. Smile

As for the other list and what to look forward to, well, SE edition Blu-Rays of the other films and original series would be great, though most unlikely I'd say. Still, one can dream. I do think a couple of things on that wish list might very well come to fruition though (one most certainly). We'll see!

In any event here's hoping 2016 shall continue the Robo awesomeness! Wink
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Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:02 pm Reply with quote

Great list Jim, thank you for taking the time doing it.

It is always fascinating to replay what happened during the Robo year and it is always surprisingly more stuff than remembered.

As for the wish list. One of those will come true soon. Wink




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Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:41 pm Reply with quote

Johan :

As for the wish list. One of those will come true soon. Wink


Sounds like number 10 to me... but who knows what you're gonna drop on us tongue
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Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:44 am Reply with quote

Just looking at the top 3 alone shows that Robo had a strong year. Even after the reboot, on a year that isn't an anniversary, there were still plenty of high end Robocop products which is a little surprising to me, but very welcome of course. That said, I wasn't able to afford the higher priced Robo items, but the one thing on this list I did get was the comic series by BOOM. It was the longest running Robo series since the Marvel sun so that pretty impressive, and it was another great chapter in the Robocop saga. As for the future, well who knows? I'm not expecting a lot of Robo love going forward, but then again I never do and have been pleasantly surprised time and time again.

I have to agree that a remastered box set of Prime Directives is high on the want list. Every now and again I'll go back and watch a couple episodes, as I did recently, but the low quality keeps me from loving it as much as I should. Also, while omnibus editions of the previously uncollected Robo comics would be nice for those who don't have the issues i have them all, so my biggest wish is for a new Robocop comics series.

Great list there JimWantsAliens. I can't think of anything you left off. I'm giving you a PT for your nice work here. Also its good to see you back in the positive numbers, I remember a time not too long ago when you were in the negative so you've come a long way. As long as there are new Robocop products coming out every year I look forward to more of these lists.
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Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:53 am Reply with quote

Thanks guys, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love year-end lists and I love Robo so it's nice to combine the two! Hopefully I can do the same for 2016. Even if the official merch slows down, the wonders of the internet means hopefully there'll be enough unofficial goodies to justify a Top 10. And in 2017, it'll be the 30th anniversary so hopefully that'll be a busy year.

I assume the TV series wasn't shot on film and pre-dates digital HDTV cameras so could never be true HD but technology has moved on that I'm sure something could be applied to improve the picture quality.

Thanks for the PT Pimp - speaking of year-end lists, we need to discuss some music on the offtopic thread!

Johan - I keep re-reading your post with a massive grin on my face as it says one of those WILL come true.




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Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:45 am Reply with quote

JimWantsAliens :
I assume the TV series wasn't shot on film and pre-dates digital HDTV cameras so could never be true HD but technology has moved on that I'm sure something could be applied to improve the picture quality.


From what I understand, both TV shows, the series and PD were shot on film. So a HD version WOULD technically be possible. However since the shows were edited in low res all effects, pov screens etc, would have to be re-made from scratch. And they are not likely to do that.

Unlike the massive work they did to remaster the Star Trek shows to HD, with Robo there are not enough fans to spend the money into such an effort. Sadly.




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Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:04 am Reply with quote

That's interesting. You're right, there wouldn't be the market to justify that. Maybe I should just hope for the Pilot to be restored to HD and boxed with the original films. Achievable goals and that...

Speaking of which, for a long time I thought the idea of tinkering with RoboCop 2 might not be ethical, but seeing as Mr Irwin Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back which is tinkered with on a seemingly-yearly basis, I think it's possible.

If you watch the greenband and redband trailers for Deadpool, there's a shot (pardon the pun) where he shoots three guys in the head with one bullet. In the following shot, you see them all fall to the ground. In the greenband trailer, they appear to use a pre-vis shot. The redband trailer has CGIed blood splatters which actually look quite real, like they've been done practically with blood bags (although the initial impact shots look quite 'digital'). I'd love to see that kind of effect layered over RoboCop 3.




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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:49 am Reply with quote

Johan pretty much nailed it right on the head regarding a series restoration, unfortunately. I work at the post-production house that helped produce the series (although it's changed names over the years), and they did indeed shoot on film. If the film were to be scanned again, that would work. But the VFX would need a full overhaul, yes. Remixing the audio from stereo to 5.1 would need to be done too (although that's not always the case), all of which is an expensive undertaking.

On top of that, all of the framing was done for a 4x3 screen, so if moved to 16x9 there would be a lot more empty space to the left and right, haha. That's not really a problem, but if they framed for 4x3 then there might be a boom operator or crew member cropped off that we didn't see before. tongue

I do remember a couple of stories from guys who still work with the company. One of the editors said that it took 4 passes to do the picture-in-picture effect for MediaBreak because the machine only had 4 inputs. Everything was still on tape back then, so everything was done in order and in real time. The re-recording mixer (now the manager of sound) said that during that time, there were constantly explosions all over the city. He even remembers a time when the pyro guy cranked it a bit too high--not only did he blow all of the mics, but they actually blew out the windows of the building across the street! I asked if he could remember the episode, but he couldn't... we are talking 20 years now, lol. Very Happy




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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:20 am Reply with quote

Quite a few episodes feature a big explosion, so it would be hard to narrow it down. I'd have a guess that it was the Provision 22 episode where the van gets pushed into a building and then the whole building explodes.

It would be amazing to see the series in proper crisp HD instead of the rather soft SD picture we ended up getting, but with the extra work required to get the effects compatible and some other shots, it will in all likeliness never happen sadly.
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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:23 pm Reply with quote

Dash - That's really interesting stuff! The Doctor Who Restoration Team were a group of industry pros who worked to restore the original 1963-89 run of Doctor Who for DVD from scratch in their spare time. These were the versions officially released by the BBC with their blessing.

It would take some renewed interest in RoboCop on a much larger scale and reappreciation of the series to even get the Pilot restored.




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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:21 pm Reply with quote

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Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:49 pm Reply with quote

JimWantsAliens :
Dash - That's really interesting stuff! The Doctor Who Restoration Team were a group of industry pros who worked to restore the original 1963-89 run of Doctor Who for DVD from scratch in their spare time. These were the versions officially released by the BBC with their blessing.

It would take some renewed interest in RoboCop on a much larger scale and reappreciation of the series to even get the Pilot restored.


We are rapidly approaching year 30 and with the advent of digital streaming, I think Robocop the TV show would have some luck.

Now, any chance for the first animated series getting a special treatment?




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