By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Robotech is a re-imaging of three animated products from Japan that fans of this series will no doubt know. For 80’s animation aficionados, it is a series they will fondly recall. Despite this series fade to black in the later decade, it’s seeing something of a reawakening in this new century. The late 80’s/early 90’s had Robotech: Sentinels told in full in novel and comic book form, the mid 00’s with the Shadow Chronicles — which barely got off the ground — and last year with Long, Live and Alive trying to make a place in history. However, this latest product offered nothing new. It’s mostly recycled animation and technically a retelling of Robotech: The New Generation from Yellow Dancer’s / Lancer’s perspective. Not everyone will enjoy it.
A Hollywood-style version is in the works, with a few A-list stars like Leonardo DiCaprio interested in a role and Tobey Maguire set to produce. But with no confirmed production date and note that it is actually green-lit, that’s only a dream for now. Instead, fans will most likely flock to and support fan productions like Robotech: The Valkyrie Project.
This home-brew project shows what a live-action version can look like. Writer Jorge Luis Sucksdorf and director Cesar A. Turturro from Argentina reveals that they know their background material very well and it has a layer of complexity that only the die-hard will recognize, like a nod that to the possibility that the energy source that Doctor Emil Lang is researching is alive. The ten minute introduction shows that the Macross saga is the basis to this fan film’s plot:
But for one unnamed scientist involved in this project, he’s realizing that a deeper connection exists. A mysterious girl by the name of Eve appears to him in his dreams. As evidenced by his constant presence near this energy, he’s developing a symbiotic connection to this female force that needs his help. Although the name of this energy source is not yet named, everyone else will know it’s Protoculture. It will power many a mech and it is what every enemy force was after in the animated series.
The first episode is available on Youtube, and this video is like watching Joss Whedon’s Firefly because of the cowboy attitude the series protagonist has. The drama is looking very intense too, and that impression comes from observing the acting. The spoken word is Spanish and fortunately, an English close caption track is available for international viewers.
This fan film does not seem to have the licensing approval from Harmony Gold and hopefully they will be supportive like George Lucas was with all the Star Wars fan films made in the past twenty or so years. In a day and age where more companies are protective of their properties, their reaction is often more nasty that cordial to fan-made projects. Robotech needs a new freshness that Sucksdorf’s script nicely injects. The series is told from this mysterious scientist’s perspective, and this writer knows that the first series is what fans enjoy the most.
And hopefully this episodic fan film will persist and reach a conclusion. Funding such an extensive project that is laden with CGI is no easy task. This project looks like it will get a weekly release. Hopefully the team have plenty of material banked and will be producing more. Robotech fans wanting fresh new material will be hooked upon checking out the Valkyrie Project. All the staples that’s from the Macross are there. The Zentraedi are back and that’s all that matters!
Jan 22 Update: With no surprise, on the Robotech Valkyrie Project’s Facebook page, the filmmakers reported that Harmony Gold sent a cease and desist letter. Hopefully the two parties can negotiate an agreement that will be beneficial to the fans at large.
For Spanish readers, more information can be found on Facebook.