Saturday, January 20, 2007
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles
I'm a nerd.
All of you knew that. There's a few things that I am extremely nerdy about. Star Wars, principally, and I'm sure most of you knew that, too. But I don't know how much my Robotech nerdery shows.
Here's an example: My daughter's middle name is "Miriya".
I'm a Robotech nerd. It came as no surprise to me that when, late last night, I read that the new Robotech movie was going to play in limited release in Salt Lake City on one screen for 6 days only, I was there, front row and center. (I did the old double feature today, first "The Good German" and then Robotech.)
I've read a lot of terrible reviews for this movie and I was expecting the worst. But my love of Robotech parked my ass in the seat anyhow and I was pleasantly surprised. I was so happy to see Rick Hunter and Scott Bernard again. I was happy to hear Roy Fokker (even though he wasn't in the movie, he was voicing a different character). In fact, pretty much the entire original voice cast is back and it's a treat if you've watched the original series as much as I have.
It wasn't as bad as all everyone made it out to be. In fact, it was pretty good. It wasn't great, but there were a couple of problems that prevented it from reaching the greatness it deserved.
The first problem was the horrible, horrible, headache-inducing computer generated space battles. If they could ace the process of doing hand-drawn space battles with the same ships twenty or thirty years ago, why bother trying to switch to CGI. And if I were the director, I'd have seen the dailies of the CGI animation coming in and start screaming for a switch to 2D hand-drawn. All of the hand-drawn animation in this movie was really good. My favorite character animations were all of Maia (daughter of Miriya) Stirling.
I would bet that the reason it wasn't all hand-drawn is because CG is cheaper now-a-days and it's a shame that something as cool as Robotech has to be compromised in anyway because of a lack of money. That's why if you like Robotech you need to go see it.
The second major problem with the film was that it felt like it was an entire season (maybe two) of Robotech condensed and revised to fit into a 90 minute time constraint. I could see where expanding it into a series would be a great move. The characters lacked the depth that the rest of the installments of Robotech had because whereas with the series, you'd get five or ten episodes with a major sub-character before their timely death and it would be heartbreaking. In this film, it was kind of... Just not as much....
There were also a couple of other minor problems:
1) It needed more of the music from the original show adapted into the body of the piece
2) I wanted the singing part to include one of Minmei's two songs. ("To Be In Love" or that "stagelight crashing..." one....)
I don't see anyone but Robotech nerds caring about any of this at all. So, if you like Robotech and any of what I just said made any sense, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It has the same campy awesomeness as the show and it's just entertaining as all hell.
It's also nice to see some progression to the story that ended in a cliffhanger twenty bloody years ago.
(Also: If anyone has the power to get me in contact with someone who could get me into writing or plotting some Robotech (comics, films, whatever) I'd greatly appreciate that. I don't know if anyone does, but stranger things have happened by my posting here.)