In 1999 an alien spaceship crashed onto the earth. Hidden on board were the secrets of a unique science known as Robotechnology. Databanks found in the ship were transferred to the Earth Robotech Computer Complex. In 2009, an alien search party arrived from hyper-space to reclaim their lost databank. The united Earth Government was forced into an Inter Galactic war. Earth forces were able to win the first battle......but at a great cost. The planet was virtually destroyed. New population centres grew out of the ashes..... It is now 2027, a second armada sent by the aliens is nearing earth, they have come to recapture the secrets of their lost technology and then destroy the Earth. Written by
In the mid 80s, Successful animated series like G I Joe and Transformers were getting theatrical movie releases. Naturally a budding franchise like Robotech would want to jump on the band wagon. The tumultuous production of this Robotech movie, otherwise known as "Robotech: The Untold Story", resulted in a complete mess of a show. All that need be said is unreasonably demands from the Japanese anime studio and the distributor forced a lot of changes to be made and limited the story that could be told. What was to be a straight up dub of the "Megazone 23 part 1" OVA modified to fit into the Robotech Macross Saga time-frame became a horribly edited mish mash of Megazone and Southern Cross because Tatsunoko prevented Carl Macek from using elements from Macross saga and the distributor, Cannon Films, demanded more action footage.
"The Untold story" (now relegated to secondary canon, thankfully) tells the tale of the Robotech Masters' first attack against earth and its subsequent cover up (hence why the characters featured in season 2 of Robotech were not aware of this first invasion attempt). During a skirmish, they capture a high ranking military officer Col B.D Andrews and create a clone of him to cover up the actions of the Robotech Masters. While The clone keeps the public unaware, the Masters seek to hack into the earth forces' computers and recover the information stored within the "Memory matrix" that was on board the SDF-1 when it first crashed to earth decades ago. On the ground, a young biker punk named Mark Landry discovers a transformable Robot vehicle with information about the cover up conspiracy. Now hunted by the clone Andrews, Mark must make contact with E.V.E and uncover the conspiracy before the Robotech Masters succeed in their plans.
If the synopsis did sound coherent here, it is 10 times less so in the actual movie and the clashing animation styles only serve to enhance that fact. The quality of the artwork, from a high quality OVA and a mediocre TV series respectively, do not blend at all and is highly inconsistent. Slip shod editing rendered the narrative very difficult to follow as well making the entire movie feel like exactly what it was: two separate shows edited together with little effort to make them blend. For fans who have watched the original Robotech series, the Southern Cross stock footage would easily baffle many. Hilarity would ensue when they hear a deep male voice coming from Dana Sterling's Veritech (there is even a brief shot of Dana yelling in a male voice ordering a retreat) or when a characters who are obviously Louie Nicols and Angelo Dante refer to each other as Todd and Nick respectively.
Barring the drastic changes from its source material, Megazone 23, the film would fare no better even if one does not compare it to Megazone. The characters in the Robotech movie are two dimensional good guys or bad guys but thankfully Mark Landry does get a decent character development arc going from hot headed irresponsible punk to a genuine hero.
One positive point could have been the number of catchy songs that were written specifically for this movie. They remain among the best songs ever in the Robotech soundtrack; even famous Rock band "Three Dog Night" contributed a piece. The conspiracy storyline was well plotted and effective at keeping you guessing but, as mentioned earlier, both positive points were also marred by horrible execution. The songs were used in conjunction with the most inappropriate scenes as if the creative team just inserted the songs to fill in long gaps of silence.
Movies that were hastily re-edited at the last minute would forever remain exactly that. Robotech: The Untold Story suffered that fate and the disappointing result clearly shows. Would harmony gold have produced a better movie if Tatsunoko and cannon films had not imposed their restrictions? that is hard to say as the original concept never went beyond a film pitch. But lamenting a movie that could have been does not change what something is. And Robotech: The Untold Story is a story that should be left untold. A disappointment so bad that even the original creator denounced it.
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