June 16, 2008

Robotech inches closer to big screen reality

OK, so, it's not quite a nerd-gasm yet. (Does that, then, make it nerd-play?)

Lawrence Kasdan to pen 'Robotech'

But it's still pretty tasty - because the minute somebody is paying an A-list writer for a script, you can at least know that somebody, somewhere, is serious enough about actually making the film to put some real skin in the game.

My only concern is that Robotech is a MASSIVE story. I mean, originally, they were three separate and totally unrelated anime cartoons that the producers redubbed and smooshed together to make one big, epic story spanning three generations of heroes fighting successive waves of mecha-enabled alien invaders (namely, the Zentraedi, The Robotech Masters, and, my personal favorites, The Invid). To do it even sort of right, you really ought to do three separate trilogies, one for each generation.

And, perhaps that's the point. If I was a studio head, I would be salivating at the chance to launch a property with a massive built-in audience and 8 potential sequels. Especially since you only need three-film commitments from any one actor (so the costs are fairly fixed, as opposed to other franchises that become increasingly expensive from actors' salaries).

And, unlike most 80's cartoons, Robotech already had fairly sophisticated dramatic elements - real death and cross-racial romance and the cost of war. It doesn't need to be upgraded to adulthood like, say, Transformers. In fact, my other concern is that the studio might try to soften some of the hardcore storytelling at the end of each saga in hopes of "sending people home happy".

Just tell a good story, man. That'll make people happy enough.

Then again, Kasdan did write "Empire Strikes Back". Maybe I shouldn't be concerned.

And I do think Tobey Maguire would make a pretty good Rick Hunter. And Katee Sackhoff is the obvious choice for Dana Sterling. Dare I suggest Grace Park is Lin Minmei?

Actually, the more I think of it, the more I realize Ron Moore is totally jacking Robotech tropes for Battlestar Galactica. Edward James Olmos is a total shout-out to Captain Gloval. The tone and lessons about war are also very similar, as well as the effect humanity has on alien cultures.

In short, I'm still anticipating the nerd-gasm. But, done right, this could be the "Lord of The Rings" for giant robot sci-fi summer action movies. I have renewed hope.