CANNON MONTH 2: Robotech: The Movie (1986)

Robotech is the opposite of most films on the site. Instead of an American property being remade overseas and remixed into something new, the TV series was three different Japanese cartoons: Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada, all with new dialogue, some minor added animation and connections between the three shows that never existed. This series was made this way because Macross didn’t have enough episodes for U.S. syndication. Ideally, 65 episodes were what most series had as that allowed a show to air five times a week for thirteen weeks.

Director/producer/co-writer Carl Macek — the man who put together all these shows — wanted Robotech: The Movie to be a redubbing of another unconnected cartoon, Megazone 23, with its hero renamed Mark Landry and connected to Macross hero Rick Hunter. The new dialogue would be about Mark trying to inform the world of the fate of the main ship in that series, the SDF-1.

According to Zimmerit, Macross creators director Noburo Ishiguro, character designer sHaruhiko Mikimoto and Toshihiro Hirano and animator Ichiro Itano worked on the OVA as well as Mospeda mechanical designers Shinji Aramaki and Hideki Kakinuma. That meant that this film would look quite close to Robotech.

It was a great idea.

But things didn’t work out that way.

First, Tatsunoko Productions, the creators of Macross, was releasing Macross: Do You Remember Love?  and wouldn’t allow Macek to use any Macross story elements.

And then Cannon Films got involved.

When Macek first showed the first to Cannon, Menahem Golan responded that he didn’t like it. It wasn’t Cannon. It had a downer ending, too many girls and not enough guns and robots. So in just days, Macek roughly re-edited the flm and was nearly embarrassed by how slapdash it all was.

Menahel Golan stood at the screening and shouted, “Now that’s a Cannon movie!”

Macek rewrote the story to take place between the first and second seasons of the television series — Macross and Robotech Masters — and had the Robotech Masters kidnapping and replicating B.D. Andrews to steal the memory core of the SDF-1.

One of the big problems was that you can totally see the difference between animation. Megazone 23 was shot on 35mm while Southern Cross was 16mm.

Throw in a disastrous screening in Texas — it was dumped there and any parents that did bring kids were shocked at the violence while Robotech fans were upset at how little it had to do with the show — and Cannon walked away from this movie. Macek and Harmony Gold went out of their way to block it from coming out on video, so the only way to see this was in bootleg form.

The Robotech: The Complete Series collection has a 29-minute version that only has footage from Southern Cross and a disclaimer stating the film “has been edited for licensing and content. That said — if you know where to look online, you can find this movie.

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