Astrology: Film: Review: ‘RoboCop’ (2014)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

For movie goers with a penchant for archetypes, the original RoboCop (1987), directed by Paul Verhoeven, was the ultimate Aquarian-Age piece of celluloid. The preceding Age of Pisces was all about connecting with the Son of God (Pisces) through his mother (Virgo). The balancing act in the Age of Aquarius is the one between Uranus (Aquarius’ ruling planet) and the Sun (ruler of Aquarius’ opposite sign Leo).

Uranus oversees computers, robotics, artificial intelligence and high-level technology. While friendly, Uranus is hardly a planet associated with a display of emotion. Uranus’s saving grace is the Sun, whose child-like exuberance never lets anything get in the way of expressing warmth and creativity. In other words, Uranus needs the Sun to keep the robot human.

The original Robocop had those Age-of-Aquarius elements nailed. Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) may have wound up entombed in his metal Robo-suit after a savage criminal attack, but the archetypal-child metaphor played throughout the movie. Baby food sustains Murphy, who never forgets the twisty-pistol trick he performed for his young son, despite robo-technology’s supposedly erasing all his personal memories. That movie’s message was clear: the unfeeling, impersonal nature of high tech can be counteracted with a child-like vision and an appreciation of play.

The RoboCop remake, directed by José Padilha and released almost 30 years after its predecessor, is still a sci-fi actioner, but minus the original’s cool Aquarian-Age polarities. In this do-over, Detroit police officer Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) has a wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) and son David who refuse to move on with their lives without him.

The corporate nemesis here is the futuristic city’s OmniCorp, helmed by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) and whose resident genius is compassionate rehab expert Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). The company produces and exports lethal law-enforcement robots to help keep order in trouble spots around the world. OmniCorp would like to use these entities domestically, but there’s significant opposition – “More feeling!” is the mantra – to entrusting a mechanical creature with taking down a human during a criminal act.

When Murphy becomes a crime victim whose body is all but blown apart – he and his partner Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) have been undercover to investigate a drug dealer and sniff out police corruption – Clara signs the consent form for OmniCorp to roboticize her husband. But as the story progresses, the question becomes to what degrees are the seemingly good-guys-in-charge corruptible.

Keeping Moon-ruled feelings, family, memories and the past alive for Murphy is central to this remake, whose story (supporting players include Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earle Haley, Samuel L. Jackson and Jay Baruchel) is more involving than the original’s. Yes, it’s valid to rely on the Lunar principle to counteract a programmed Uranian way of getting the job done. But fans of the original RoboCop will know there’s something missing: in the remake, the symbolic kid does not stay in the picture.

Astrology Film Rating:  RoboCop (2014) ☽♅ (Moon, Uranus),  RoboCop (1987): ☉♅ (Sun, Uranus)

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