Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Robocop (1987) - Remastered
"Tastes Like Baby Food."
Paul Verhoeven's satire/sci-fi classic Robocop has arrived again on Blu-ray in a remastered version, just in time for the new remake. Alex Murphy (Peter Weller; Star Trek into Darkness) is new to Detroit and on his first day, he is brutally murdered by Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith; Fortress, That '70's Show) and his gang. At the same time at OCP, Rob Morton (Miguel Ferrer, Iron Man 3) pitches the "future of law enforcement" and it all lands in his lap.
Murphy is now the cybernetic being known as Robocop. Reborn, he is sworn to protect the law. All seems to be going well, until he defects and begins to remember his past life and the people who took his life. After chasing down Boddicker; Robocop learns that more sinster things are afoot.
The movie is a classic with humor and sci-fi elements. I used to watch all three Robocop films all the time when I was a little kid, so this film and the sequels have a special place in my heart. The casting is great as we have Peter Weller playing the protagonist with the existential crisis once he snaps and goes after Boddicker and his buddies. Kurtwood Smith always plays a great villainous role, especially as what most people know him for on That '70's Show. The effects are pretty great with props and the stop motion work on ED-209 is top notch. I give the film a 5/5.
While I never saw the original 2007 Blu-ray, this new remastered version looks fantastic! Presented in 1080p with an MPEG4 encode in it's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It's as close to perfection as we can get, but there is a few shots that I noticed that still looked somewhat rough to my eyes. Now, some of this footage is from television broadcasts with low quality, I can forgive that. How ever, when Murphy is getting killed by Boddicker, some of the shots looked somewhat scrubbed in terms of detail. I also this again when we have several shots with Boddicker's last scene in the film. But, MGM/Fox has given their second 4K remaster (first being The Terminator) a very strong which makes it look like it was shot yesterday. Quality control here is amazing. 4.5/5.
I personally like what Fox does with catalog titles that most studios don't do anymore; make their discs for worldwide use. Universal used to do it back when they started doing Blu-rays in 2008. As my second and third languages are German and French, it always pleases me when I see that there's a German dub available on a U.S. release. The film is available on the disc in twelve different audio languages with encodes varying from DTS-HD MA 5.1 to Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. And also Fox has given the film subtitles in twenty-three different languages; that is a lot of hard work in terms of making a great disc, is it not?
The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track sounds great. Effects sound live and flow nicely and I personally have no complaints with it. I've also watched the film with the German dub which is presented in DTS 5.1. It sounds weak in comparison. Seeing as how some of the audio tracks range in terms of encodes, I doubt these are remastered tracks. I do give the audio presentation on the original English DTS-HD MA 5.1 a 5/5.
With the exception of the 2012 Q&A with Paul Verhoeven and Peter Weller and some of the people who worked on the film, I am going to assume that most of these bonus features were available on the original 2007 Blu-ray. The Q&A goes on for almost an hour and is insightful as are most of the other bonus features. There's four behind the scenes featurettes, two of which are from 1987; a very nice English commentary which is also available subtitled in German and French. I give the bonus material 5/5.
FOX and MGM has given Robocop a top notch re-release which you can get for under $10. This is worth having in your library of films. This is an example of a demo disc to show off the beautiful high definition quality of Blu-ray. I give this release a 5/5.