“Chappie” has certainly got the nerd community in a tizzy. Between the rampant commercials on Adult Swim and the upcoming buzz for “Alien V”, I figured that Blomkamp’s latest retread would’ve had the Internet pumped. But, you can never gauge the accuracy of geek interest. That’s a lesson that no movie studio has ever seemed to learn.
Taking place in South Africa, the film opens on a brave new world that looks like the worlds from “Elysium” and “District 9” by way of Robocop. There are new police robotic units that are doing dangerous work and gunning down criminals in the South African ghetto. Die Antwoord shows up playing themselves and this leads to a few run-ins with the government regarding a botched drug deal.
Dev Patel plays the creator of Chappie and he is serviceable in the part. Patel is there to explain away the pseudo science and serve as a deus ex machina when needed. Die Antwoord, a drug dealer friend and Dev Patel are now forced together as a criminal family working to program Chappie into doing their bidding. While Sharlto Copley provides excellent voice acting for Chappie, here is where I see most of the general complaints originating.
We’ve seen robots want to strive to do humanly good before. There’s nothing new about teaching an AI powered system not to kill, fight or harm others. Chappie is sweet and does his best, but ultimately the film wants us to believe that the only way humanity’s ills can be fixed are by turning into childish metallic lumps that buck the system. Whether it’s film nerds or staunch conservatives, nobody cares for the system to be upset. Luckily, we have Hugh Jackman and his magical Kane Hodder mullet to keep things in check.
Much like “Elysium”, I can’t call “Chappie” a bad film. It’s a visual treat that plays with amazing ideas and forces us to examine other parts of the world. I’ve just seen this film in bits and pieces across the last thirty years of genre entertainment. Recycling doesn’t benefit fiction unless you have a creative talent that can engineer the script and direction. Blomkamp still isn’t there yet.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!
Bizarre cast that manages to bring the film together. ” negatives=”Blomkamp wouldn’t know a good script if it bit him on the ass.
District 9 seems more and more like a fluke with each passing year. “]