We’re in a time where Hollywood creatives believe that every blockbuster needs a strong dose of seriousness, a firm measure of grim attitude that is often mistaken as a way of bringing stakes into a movie. This often comes at the expense of humor or even levity, turning these movies that cost hundreds of million of dollars into one-dimensional, one-note slogs. And for director Paul Verhoeven, who has seen two of his successful, satiric, funny and entertaining movies — “RoboCop” and “Total Recall” — given contemporary remakes, he believes that single-minded approach is the wrong-footed move that doomed those pictures.

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“Somehow they seem to think that the lightness of say ‘Total Recall’ and ‘RoboCop’ is a hindrance. So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake,” he told Collider.

“Especially in [2014’s] ‘RoboCop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in [1987’s] ‘RoboCop.’ His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is,” Verhoeven continued. “I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in any way. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humor is a problem and not an improvement.”

I don’t think anybody would argue with that assessment; watching the new “Total Recall” and “RoboCop” flicks was anything but fun. But who knows, maybe it could’ve been entirely different if director Jose Padilha was able to have his way, instead of fighting with the studio.

Thoughts? Let us know below.

  • bohmer

    I didn’t think RoboCop (2014) was that bad. It didn’t aim at the same stuff and thusly was a very different movie. Not great, but nowhere near as bad as the Total Recall remake was.

  • schizopolis

    Batman Begins (2005) was probably the starting point where familiar comic book action heroes became darker and more grounded to aim towards thirty-somethings. You could really trace it back to the first Bourne film.