Robotech: The Movie, also called Robotech: The Untold Story, is a 1986 American-Japanese science fiction animated film based on the original television series and franchise created by Harmony Gold USA. The 1986 theatrical film used footage from part one of Megazone 23 spliced with The Southern Cross and had only a tenuous link to the television series.
According to interviews with director/producer/co-writer Carl Macek, the project had originally been intended to be more of a straight dub of Megazone 23 with dialogue and music changes to reflect the Robotech universe. As originally conceived, it was set during the return of the SDF-1 from Pluto with the protagonist Mark Harris, a relative of Rick Hunter, finding out about the government's coverup of the SDF-1's fate, and Harris fighting to make the information known.
However, at the time, Tatsunoko Productions was involved in promoting their own Macross movie, Do You Remember Love, and insisted that Macek not use elements of the Macross story, so as to avoid possible confusion. Also, distributor Cannon Films felt there were "too many girls and not enough robots and guns," and didn't like Megazone's downer ending, either. Thus, Macek rewrote the story to take place shortly before the Second Robotech War, cut segments of Southern Cross footage into it, and commissioned animation studio The Idol Co. to animate a new ending (which was later included on the laserdisc of Megazone 23, Part II). The new version involved the Robotech Masters kidnapping and replicating veteran officer B.D. Andrews to steal the memory core of the SDF-1.
Because Megazone 23 (an OVA) and Southern Cross (a TV series) were shot on different film stock, 35mm and 16mm respectively, the visual inconsistency was very noticeable on the big screen.
The B.D. Andrews character was named B.D. Edwards in the original cut of the Robotech movie. Taking place during in the Macross saga timeframe, it was the intention that he was to be a younger version of the Colonel Edwards that would later appear in Robotech II: The Sentinels which was in the planning stages at the time. However, the rejection of the first cut of the movie involved relocating the time frame to the Robotech Masters era. Because Edwards would be elsewhere during that time frame, the name of the character was changed to B.D. Andrews, and he was made into a colonel of earth's defense forces who would become abducted and replaced by a Master's simulagent. Also, the Colonel Edwards that does appear in Sentinels was eventually named T. R. Edwards.
The movie disappeared from the United States after a failed test-run in Texas that lasted only a few weeks. One cause for its poor performance was believed to be poor advertising (commercials promoting the movie appeared only at 6:00am). In addition, the movie faced stiff competition from The Transformers: The Movie, which was released at the same time and with a much bigger adversiting budget.
However, the biggest problem by far was the disappointment of fans with the film's tenuous connection with the original series. Another complicating factor was the film's adult themes which (although not as pronounced as in the original Megazone 23) reportedly led some parents to remove their children from the theatre before the movie was finished, as many deemed the movie to be inappropriate for young children. (For example: The main female lead, Becky, was nearly raped at the film's midway point, and there was considerably more violence throughout the film than in the TV series, such as the president being shot in the head on-screen and a man being shown crushed under a car with blood splattered out from underneath.)
In other territories such as Argentina and Belgium, it ran successfully in cinemas and had a VHS release in Spanish (by International Video Entertainment) and with Dutch subtitles (by Vestron Video), respectively. Harmony Gold relinquished their license to Megazone 23 after director Carl Macek washed his hands of the project, so home video releases were limited to the few VHS tapes that had been in limited circulation in Europe and Latin America.
Some animatics and other supplemental material were released as extras with ADV Films' Robotech DVD release. After ADV acquired the home video rights to Megazone 23, some fans have held hope that a home video release of Robotech: The Movie would again be possible. However, neither ADV nor any other distributor has announced plans for a DVD release of the film. Any potential release of the movie is considered extremely unlikely since the movie's original negatives were destroyed in a flood of the studio in the mid-1990s; and a release based on available copies of the movie would be of very low quality. However, blackmarket copies of the movie have reportedly made their way onto the Internet due to file sharing.
Comic and novel adaptations
- Academy released a comic adaptation of the movie in 1995 written by Benny R. Powell with art by Chia-Chi Wang. The book was a departure from the actual movie, at the request of the publisher. While the first issue borrowed heavily from the source material, the second issue was almost entirely new material. The two-issue series was originally intended to be a longer run, but due to the loss of the license to Antarctic Press, it was vastly condensed. It was among the last Robotech comics published by Academy before the license was moved to Antarctic Press.
- Additionally, elements from the movie were used in the plot of the Robotech novel #20: The Masters' Gambit.
- Kerrigan Mahan as Mark Landry
- Iona Morris (credited as "Britanny Harlowe") as Becky Franklin
- Muriel Fargo as Eve
- Gregory Snegoff as Colonel B.D. Andrews
- Edie Mirman as Kelley Stevens
- Wendee Lee as Stacy Embry
- Mearle Pearson as Professor Embry
- Michael McConnohie as Rolf Emerson
- Greg Finley as Anatole Leonard
- Tony Clay (credited as "Jonathan Alexander") as additional voices
- Etienne Bannliett as additional voices
- Frank Catalano (credited as "Wayne Anthony") as additional voices
- Bill Capizzi (credited as "A. Gregory") as additional voices
- Jaque Maecell as additional voices
- Dave Mallow as additional voices
- Ike Medlick as additional voices
- Spike Niblick as additional voices
- Mike Reynolds as additional voices
- Bruce Winant as additional voices
- Tom Wyner as additional voices
- "Macek Training". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- "Unreleased, Incomplete, and Canceled Projects by Harmony Gold". Robotech Companion. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- Powell, Benny. "Benny R. Powell Interview at Robotech Companion" ([dead link] – Scholar search). Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Robotech: The Movie at the Internet Movie Database
- Review of Robotech The Movie at Anime Reviews
- Robotech Movie Reviews Spanish