CHAPPIE | REVIEW

CHAPPIE is the latest science fiction movie from the man who smashed onto the big screen with DISTRICT 9, Neill Blomkamp. He then brought us the much less awesome ELYSIUM and now brings us this. The trailer was awesome and there was hope he could, for my opinion anyway, make up for the disappointing ELYSIUM. He appears to have maintained his penchant for all things South Africa and brought in some muso cred with Die Antwoord. CHAPPIE releases tomorrow, Thursday 12th February, in Australia from Sony Pictures Australia. It is rated MA15+ and runs for exactly 2hrs. Rock on……JK.

 

CHAPPIE MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
CHAPPIE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER VERSION 6

 

BY JASON KING

Did he better ELYSIUM? Nope, if anything he appears to have declined and created an even less liked movie, in this he merges Robocop and Jar Jar Binks into one entity, makes a fanboy film for his obvious heroes Die Antwoord (even though Ninja’s behaviour on-set is reported to have been deplorable causing a now disliking between him and Blomkamp) and fills the film with multiple accents, it is tough to choose the worst out of a heavy South African accented Chappie (voiced by Sharlto Copley) or the hideous Australian accent from the Australian in the film, Hugh Jackman. The biggest let down of the movie (can I scale them?) was that Blomkamp and studio failed to consider a target audience for the film. They mashed genres, levels of intelligence and stupidity in the film, in the end, it came off as something only 14yr old boys will love, not best for box office returns. Both my parents after the movie “ummmmm, that was different,” in a genre (science fiction) they both worship.

The plot: in the future (2016) in crime riddled South Africa a robot police force is deployed, crime drops dramatically and the robotic police force is exceptional (cough ROBOCOP). Deon (Dev Patel) is their designer and programmer and he has been working in his own time to make one of these police robots actually sentient. At the same time two other stories are going on; 1) Die Antwoord front-peeps Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser, playing criminals, basically fictional homey gangster versions of themselves have screwed up a drug deal and must come up with a fortune to pay off the biggest bad guy, who is more like a comic version of a throwout character from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, so they plan on kidnapping Deon to get him to use “the remote control” to turn all the cop robots off so they can get away with dastardly deeds. And then 2) Vincent Moore, played by Hugh Jackman, is an Australian with a hideous accent (and the worst line in the movie) and an even worse haircut, apparently business on top and party at the back is coming back, one hideous mullet in action. Well ex-military man Vincent has a bad boy police multi-action weaponry police machine he designed and wants in action that looks a lot like the bad police robots from Robocop. It is pretty much a walking arsenal tank of death that costs a squillion, is way over the top and Vincent is disturbed that little geek man Deon is getting all the credit.

 

CHAPPIE DEV PATEL IMAGE
CHAPPIE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | DEON WILSON (DEV PATEL) WITH CHAPPIE

 

So fictional Die Antwoord, that have a lot of film designated to slogans of Die Antwoord, and get more screen time to their tats and attitude than the main character kidnap Deon and nearly kill him while trying to get the “remote control” from him and eventually Deon explains that they should let him get Chappie working and that once activated he could help them achieve their goals (losing the plot). Chappie at this stage is a destroyed shell of a police robot in his van plus a computer program. Deon sees nothing but the opportunity to create life, I would have done the exact same thing, but over my dead body with criminals with machine guns.

They allow him and then when Chappie comes into existence he is a child with the ability to learn quicker than humans and starts out like an impressionable infant. His first impressions form his personality, sadly his first impressions are some idiot drug dealers with gangster moves and ridiculous language – and from this point CHAPPIE goes stupid. But at the same time he is conflicted because occasionally he gets to see his “maker” Deon who battles to teach him ethics and morals. But it is too little too late. Throw in a pissed off and willing to do anything Vincent and shit will hit the fan.

 

CHAPPIE MOVIE IMAGE
CHAPPIE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CHAPPIE WITH DIE ANTWOORD (YO-LANDI VISSER AND NINJA)

 

What did I like: the visuals, art direction, cinematography, music and 50% of Chappie (the robot) plus Dev Patel and I also really want to see Yo-Landi in another movie, but fail in this. What I loathed, Hugh Jackman’s character (although I was more impressed seeing him playing a bad-guy!), the hideous gangser-robot language and moves of Chappie (it is here you will start thinking of Jar Jar Binks), the laughable scenes of Yo-Landi treating Chappie like a child, the complete rip-off of Robocop and just the stupid two dimensional characters, they came off more like a bad comic strip.

The idea was solid but it was basically the cops from ELYSIUM being given sentience where they became as mistreated as the aliens from DISTRICT 9. Blomkamp has failed to leave his comfort zone and now I am worried about the next ALIEN movie he is making with Weaver, (one of my goddesses), another two dimensional and poor character for her, she is so much better than her part in this movie and I had flashbacks of Jodie Foster in ELYSIUM.

The obsession with Die Antwoord was just odd, they are so comical they will only appeal to fans and teenage boys, I do admit I find Yo-Landi so interesting that I want to see her in something else and her (absolute) ending in the movie is amazing and my mum’s favourite part. She is just otherworldly but Ninja was just an idiot thug in the movie who I disliked immensely. On the other hand their music, plus the score from Hans Zimmer, Steve Mazzaro and Andrew Kaczynski, made for a brilliant soundtrack that truly suited the style of the movie. I would actually listen to it and may obtain some Die Antwoord.

 

CHAPPIE MOVIE IMAGE
CHAPPIE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MICHELLE BRADLEY (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) AND VINCENT MOORE (HUGH JACKMAN)

 

Just like ELYSIUM it is half decent but fails to excitedly engage the viewer like a damn freaking awesome science fiction should do, like DISTRICT 9 did. I feel that a decent screenplay re-working and perhaps a trusted colleague or friend of Blomkamp reading the screenplay and advising him what may work and what may fail would have been advisory and for the love of Zeus – LEAVE SOUTH AFRICA. It appears to be overly self indulgent and un-reigned.

There are some good heart-felt moments with Chappie and some great action scenes and awesome effects but the movie is let down by more than the better parts.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

 

2 and a Half Pops