Monday, 29 July 2013

ROBOTECH live-action movie moving forwards

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.

 
Robotech was a combination of three separate Japanese anime series - Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA - into a single 85-episode storyline. The story opens in 1999 with the world about to destroy itself in a Global Civil War (WWIII). An alien spacecraft crashes on an abandoned French nuclear test island in the South Pacific, Macross Island. The existence of alien life and the threat it potentially represents convinces the warring factions to stop fighting and begin rebuilding the alien craft to help defend Earth from future incursions. They retro-engineer the ship's technology to create new weapons of war, most notably mecha (piloted, armoured war machines, some capable of transforming into different modes). Ten years later, forty-foot-tall humanoid aliens known as Zentraedi (cloned soldiers serving the enigmatic Robotech Masters) attack Earth in an attempt to reclaim the ship, which it is revealed holds the only energy matrix capable of producing protoculture, an energy source which powers mecha. The ship - the SDF-1 - makes an accidental hyperspace jump to the orbit of Pluto, dragging along most of Macross Island's civilian population with it. Under constant Zentraedi attack, the SDF-1 has to return to Earth over a period of two years. During this period there are major revelations about the SDF-1, its origins and the nature of protoculture, the Zentraedi and the Robotech Masters.

Robotech was a significant hit when it first aired in the USA in 1985 and has spawned TV movies (the most recent, The Shadow Chronicles, aired in 2006), roleplaying games and novels. However, the creators Harmony Gold have also attracted notable criticism for editing the three series into a new story and for refusing to allow the original versions of those stories to be released in the USA. This is most disappointing in the case of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, a huge franchise in Japan which has spawned a significant number of sequel and prequel TV series in its own right.



The Robotech film has been in development since 2007, when former Spider-Man actor Tobey Macguire began pursuing the live-action film rights. Macguire will produce and his original intention was to star, although it is unclear if this is still the case. More recently Leonardo DiCaprio has been linked to the project. In terms of writers, Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) was developing a script for some time, but it is unclear if this is still being used (Kasdan is now working on the new Star Wars movies). Nic Mathieu has been tagged to direct. Mathieu has so far only worked in commercials, but his work has been applaude for its use of inventive CGI on a shoestring budget. The Robotech movie project will require significant use of CGI in order to work.

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, the more muted response to Guillermo Del Toro's mecha movie Pacific Rim may serve as a warning on the project: Pacific Rim has made its money back and should be modestly successful overall (probably enough to warrant a sequel), but that has required substantial non-US box office. Outside of the USA, Robotech is not a particularly known property, with Macross being much bigger across most of Asia and Europe. Particularly dangerous is the risk of a boycott by anime fans who only want to see a Macross project on the big screen, not the 'bastardised' Robotech. Existing Robotech fans will also likely be unimpressed to learn that the movie will use all-new mecha designs (the live-action rights for the vehicles were not included in the original deal, so new ones will have to be made) and likely a significantly rejigged storyline and characters.

However, the Robotech fanbase in the USA is still quite strong: just a few months ago a Kickstarter launched by Palladium Books for the Robotech RPG Tactics miniature wargame exceeded its target goal by a startling twenty times.

40 comments:

alabrava said...

Ok so no existing mecha, and a redone storyline and characters. Why even license the property at all then?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, whats the point of buying the rights and then not using the mecha? I think a lot of people love teh story but i'm sure its teh live action version of the mecha fighting in all thier glory that is also a major attraction. If they're going to re write some of it, why not do it so that they have to use the old F-14's like the originals were based on instead of basing it on more up to date F-35's etc?

Troy Byrne said...

As stated above. Whats the point in going through the hassel of getting the rights to the name (Robotech or Macross) but not use the names of the characters or vehicals? When i was little i remember loving to watch a jet change in the gaurdian/robot modes. Again whats the point. I just hope that WB and Harmony takes a step back and rethinks this. Take a page from Lord of the Rings stay true to the orignal story line and the fans will love you for it. I can't emagine a movie with out hinting of names like Rick Hunter or even SDF-1. Again this is just the hopes of a fan wanting to be blown away and taken back to my younger years.....but sadly but reading this it is just gonna be another sci-fi film that has the name Robotech. A Robotech title with out the robotech.

Troy Byrne said...

I agree. What is the point of going through the hassel of getting the rights to Robotech/Macross and not use any of the characters or vehicals? I hope that WB and Harmony takes a step back and look at what they are going to make. They need to take a page from Lord of the Rings and stay true to the story line. Stay true to it and the fans will love it. I can't emagine a Robotech film that doesnt even mention Rick Hunter or even SDF-1. I remeber when I was young and loving the the idea of a jet changing into a gardian/robot mode. I just want to site in my seat and be blown away and taken back to my younger years....but reading this artical it just looks like another sci-fi movie that has the name Robotech. a Robotch movie without Robotech in it.

Anonymous said...

Tobey Macguire to "star"?? A director who has only worked in commercials and uses CGI on a "shoestring" budget?? As a Macross/Robotech fan, this just disgusts me. All I can think is that they are going to massacre a classic series. If it's going to be done at least do it right. Get a great and ESTABLISHED director, a healthy budget, and decent(at minimum) actors that look the part. However, if they don't even have the rights to use to Mecha, they shouldn't do it at all; and if they do go forward anyway, they need to come up with a completely different title. In my opinion, even hinting that it is Robotech would be a disgrace to the series.

Anonymous said...

if they do not use the names "Rick hunter" or "lin minmay"....and base the story on a mix of all the robotech sagas instead of only macross.... im not seeing that POS.

I can let go new mecha and airship designs to be used... because lets be sincere... an F14 in a futuristic movie would look embarrasing.... but not using names and original macross story is a crime.

Dragonball Live action movie all over again.

Krita-Yuga said...

Big West owns the copyrights to the designs and story of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, so it should be no surprise that the Robotech movie will not have designs or story of Macross, if it gets ever made.

Raúl Romero said...

No VF-1, No Robotech/Macross

Anonymous said...

Looks like another Transformers & GI Joe joke. Why can't Hollywood listen to the fans... they became fans for a reason. I wish somebody like Neill Blomkamp or Guillermo del Toro would be chosen to direct it.

Anonymous said...

If it cannot get the same care and treatment like The Lord Of the Rings, stay true to all elements of the series, get the budget needed to really sell it then they should just leave it alone. I also can't see why they can't take place in the time frames of the story therefore legitimizing the use of F-14's and such. I think the time period gives it some character itself. I just finished Pacific Rim tonight and enjoyed it for being the IP it is. This shouldn't cast a shadow on the opportunity they could have with a solid Robotech movie, done in trilogy form, long run times (3 hours or so) with a directors cut for blurry. Then they could really flesh it out.

Anonymous said...

If it is not going to stay true to the characters and Mecha then they might as well just release it on Youtube, or Netflix.

engels said...

Whatsoever with this project ...my only concern is that, if ever they put lin minmay, they should make sure that it is a perfectly cute asian(not just asian, had enough with live street fighter, kof, doa, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Quit whining and enjoy the movie. It'll cost all of $7. If you don't want to be surprised, watch the re-runs.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.agreed.

Anonymous said...

Transformers was good but Movie robots too intricate! Keep the mecha true to the original!!!

Anonymous said...

It can't be robotech with out the mecha, the planes are what made it so cool .. It will only be a like ripoff with out the original designs

Little_DeviI_Inside said...

How would they introduce the technology of all the Mechs and Machines into this modern world? Would they follow the robotech origins with the spaceship landing on earth or start with the unification wars like in Macross Zero? A World War would speed up with weapon technology and the Unification wars is World War 3 in the Macross universe. Human kind would better ways of controlling or fighting each other though either Force or peace and by god we know kill each other, but we always reach for peace. Also having spaceship made for war crash land on earth would make everyone freak out, stop fighting each for the greater good of human life, a common goal for saving human kind and fighting with their life to save earth with ace pilot and a pop star or more singers singing love songs. Boom! Macross in a nut shell!
Realize but funny in my way of Robotech mechs being introduce would a some scientist that into anime makes a prototype Variable Fighter, VF (the jet mech) and fly it into UN military air force base, but crash in the run away. UN takes the mad scientist and have the scientist paid for destroying military by making more mechs like the VF, It sounds almost like Otacon from metal gear solid.

Ed Nolan said...

With those changes then it's NOT Robotech and there's NO reason to watch it.

Byron Horde said...

"Existing Robotech fans will also likely be unimpressed to learn that the movie will use all-new mecha designs (the live-action rights for the vehicles were not included in the original deal, so new ones will have to be made) and likely a significantly rejigged storyline and characters."

Now, Robotech isn't the REAL story, but I still did enjoy it during it's run and would probably still go see the movie. However, if the above ends up being true, then count me out.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the case is, WB IS GOING TO SCREW IT UP. THey never get anything right because they dont give a shit about any of the fans. They're in it for the money. Theyl probaly target your averag dumb teenager who cant think further than a few explosions.

Anonymous said...

I'm in south Africa and know plenty people who would love to see a live action ROBOTECH movie.

I understand budget constraints and concerns but if anything is worth doing, it's worth doing it well. I agree wholeheartedly all here; What good is calling the movie ROBOTECH when you alter it's very being?

No Rick Hunter, Roy Fokker, No original Mecha, No Captain Gloval? Why bother in the first place? call it something else and go on but don't mess with a the very formula that got the fans hyped in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Johnny from Australia here and a old anime fan thanks to Robotech. Would like to see a movie on Robotech not a TV series. Story should stay as is, giant alien spaceship crash lands on earth and the world wakes up. Even with a tight budget for the movie , the story holds its own. Don't forget the love Triangle in Robotech those story's always sucker me in :). Not fan of dicaprio but if he can help make the film happen I am all for him.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, fans Of Robotech are extremely devoted to the purity of this franchise. The comments on this story reaffirm this fact. It's the same problems that producers of any Bible story depictions inevitably run into. It's impossible to make the fans happy, so you either end up with something cobbled-together (and disappointing) or it doesn't happen at all. I love this franchise, too...although it certainly is 'bastardized'.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought for everyone in Robotech's fanbase...the fans of Star Wars have crafted innumerable fan films in homage to the Star Wars films and the universe they reveal. Perhaps if the fans of Robotech engage themselves in similar ways (put it on YouTube) then WB could tap someone who cares, and can make it brilliant. I guess what I'm saying is, there may be opportunity here for the fans to take control of the project in their own way?

Adam Whitehead said...

This live-action trailer, made by some Argentinian ROBOTECH fans, is pretty cool:

http://kotaku.com/5972590/this-fan+made-robotech-movie-trailer-will-give-you-chills

And yes, I agree they should keep the setting of the film the same as the books and just say it's an alternate history, unless they just don't mention any dates at all.

What they need to do is get on and make a deal with Big West, but I wouldn't be surprised if Harmony Gold's contract specifically prevented them from doing that.

Anonymous said...

That's dumb not to use the names of Rick hunter and others why call it Robotech. This is one of my most beloved anime shows.

Anonymous said...

Robotech was huge in Argentina and I'm sure other south american countries as well! Start the damn film please! p

Anonymous said...

I think most of us were introduced in the macross universe after being a robotech fan in first place.
Of course, they shouldn't be afraid of spending money... so they spent so much money in crappy things before... there's no real reason for going cold feet about it.
Rewrite new contracts, don't rewrite the whole plot story. Buy the rights to use the great mecha that conquered the wide fan base.
If an argentinian studio made a fan film with such a short budget, and the CGI are pretty decent, don't use the "cost" excuse... WB can afford a big budget for the CGI as well for the cast.
People all around the world been waiting for these to happen for years. Let everyone make a profit out of it, WB, Big West and whoever wants a share... just make sure this happen.
My first reason to become a cgi artist was to nail the perfect VF1... cause it's already perfect as it is. Or maybe they want to create new VF just to be the only owners of the franchise and new toys and merchandising...

Anonymous said...

http://www.geekexchange.com/live-action-robotech-movie-lands-director-70497.html

Anonymous said...

It's gonna Bomb

Anonymous said...

I`ve been waiting for a Robotech movie for so long... I want Rick in it not Hikaru Ichijyo, Lisa Hayes instead of Misa Hayase. Robotech story is great. Don´t forget about the music!! They have to include Lynn Minmay music. There is so much to tell. If they want to write a story, why don´t they write about Rick in the space, before, during and after The New Generation,or even The Southern Cross. But let the Macross Saga unspoiled. They can do a movie about Macross, no problem with that, but Robotech by itself something and that is what fans wants to see.

Anonymous said...

Robotech by itself is just great!! That is what we Fans want to see. They can do Macross too, no problem with that.

Anonymous said...

Robotech is more than just Macross and Rick Hunter. There's a whole world of Robotech Universe that is original and exclusive to Robotech. Not only is there Southern Cross and Mospeada (both of which are remembered only because of Robotech), there's also Sentinels, Shadow Chronicles, Cyberpirates, Mordecai, and all of the other spinoffs that don't have the VF-1A or Hikaru Ichijo, Misa Hayase, or Roy Focker (notice the spelling). If that's what you want, then keep hoping that someone decides to make a Muh-Cross movie. Robotech has achieved its own identity decades ago. It's far past the time to be treating it as though it's nothing more than an englsh language version of Macross. The live action movie can reflect this and incorporate elements such as the Haydonites, the Tirolians, Zor, ect.

Anonymous said...

We will still do appreciate if they will recreate the Mother ship SDF-1 Macross but please Not the F14's (VF-1 valkrie) we want to see VF-1 Valkrie in this movie with Roy fokker and Rick Hunter and the rest of the pilots and other significant characters!

Please make this happen... a true Macross/Robotech fans are surely waiting for these whatever will be the title rights as long as we can see the VF-1's Valkries and recreated story! that would be great!

Anonymous said...

Damnit, just take the 1984 movie 'Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?' and use it as your story board. Make that into the live action movie and we are all good. Hate all these re-writes of story lines that happen now-a-days.

Anonymous said...

No u don't want it to be a remake they will just rune it what u want is a stand alone film in there own universe because it's only going to be like the transformers the xmen movies and all the rest the will just stuff it up like they always do like the new Robocop movie

Anonymous said...

I would rather have a Remake than a Reboot.

Transformers was a Reboot when the original G1 Story Line could have been followed. I am not saying use scene for scene in the movie, but really the old staries do still stand up and could be followed instead of coming up with a new one. I did not like the All Spark storyline in the movies, but it could have been the first few episodes of the G1 Cartoon brought to life which whould have been very cool.

X-Men Movies (which really were more all like Wolverine Movies) though a bit harder, could have also kept with the original storylines. The new X-Men Movies for Days Of Future's Past is also changing it around when it the original has held as one of the alll time best storylines in comics.

Us older fans are looking for our childhood cartoons to come to life, but we keep getting let down because they do the seperate Universe thing. New Fans of the movies would not care so much since either way, it is a new story to them and probably don't have the connection to Nightcrawler, Roy, Bumblebee as we older ones do.

Storyboards are like comics in a sense...

Voltaire Andrews said...

I love Robotech when will the game be available? Voltaire

Anonymous said...

If you can't do the Macross segment justice, then focus on the Mospeada segment. The overall story of reclaiming the earth after an alien invasion by a hero that is technically an alien in his own right could make a good trilogy. And cmon, the mechs are IronMan meets Transformers. What's not to love from the studio's perspective? And when that's a success, WB can just cut through all the BigWest vs. HarmonyGold BS with a buttload of cash. Then and only then should Macross be attempted.

Ian Todd said...

Looks like a straight to DVD show to me. Without the story or tech or the or it series, it will be just another cgi bomb. And no one wins, fans or studio.