RoboCop ★★★★★

They don't make 'em like this anymore, because, you know, computers. The special features on the 20th anniversary edition includes a featurette on the special effects process for the movie. It's amazing stuff.

As I watched this, I kept thinking about Jurassic Park as directed by Verhoeven. Spielberg's JP has hints of social commentary - the slow pans by all the merchandise, the (bad) conversation between Dern and Attenborough over ice cream, the way the movie revels in the eating of its more unpleasant characters - but it's still touched by Spielberg's sentimentality. Jurassic Park, which cemented the end of this Robocop kind of special effects movie making, could have been something totally different. I love it, but I wonder...

Also, this movie is mostly about the villains, because Verhoeven grew up in the shadow of the third reich, and he doesn't want us to become Nazis.

It's also kind of fascinating that, according to the interview with Verhoeven in the 20th anniversary special features, Verhoeven sees Robocop as an American Jesus. He quotes Luke 22 when Jesus, at the Last Supper, advises his disciples that while once he told them to go out without anything, now they should gather their possessions and even buy a sword if they don't have one, and be prepared to run. (To which the disciples respond, "Jesus! Here's two swords!" and Jesus says, "Enough!" but Verhoeven doesn't mention that part.)

The important part of this is that Verhoeven thinks Robocop is an American Jesus, not that Robocop represents the actual Jesus. Robocop represents how Americans understand retributive justice, atonement, social ordering, etc. Jesus is historically representative of those things, and Verhoever knows this. Robocop is about America, not Jesus.

Verhoeven is extremely interested in Jesus. That interest seeps into his all his films. But Verhoeven's Jesus isn't your Jesus, and you shouldn't expect him to be.

You shouldn't disregard his ideas about Jesus either, or expect him to change his ideas to coincide with yours. When Verhoeven points a camera at Robocop and says, "This is what the Jesus you Americans worship looks like to me," maybe we, not Verhoeven, need to change the way we understand Jesus.

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