To this moment, Neill Blomkamp was mostly known for his great work with the Sci-fi movie District 9 about an extraterrestrial race forced to live in our planet. From that moment on, the fuzz around him was big and I must admit that I was expecting a good comeback after Elysium, which I haven’t seen yet. At the first sight, the premise of Chappie seems to be quite interesting… A near future controlled by a mechanized police force and the creation of the first robot with consciousness appeared to be great topics for a Sci-fi movie. However, just like Luc Besson did with Lucy, the movie lost itself in the middle of a plot that is not easy to follow or to understand. Sure it’s funny and entertaining but I left the theater with the constant feeling that there was something missing and that even though the idea is good my expectations were not fulfilled.
In a near future, crime is no longer a problem when an oppressive mechanized police force, mostly formed by humanoid robots is used to patrol the city. For the creator of those robots, this was quite a remarkable achievement… However his dreams forced him to go even further and when he finishes creating the first A-I program, he decides to test it on a robot that was ready to be destroyed, Chappie. When the robot is reprogrammed, he becomes the first with the amazing ability to think and feel for himself. With everyone against him, since they consider it a danger to mankind and order, Chappie becomes a wanted robot in a city taken down by people fighting back against the robot’s oppression. Chappie is mankind’s latest chance in a battle against ethics and against time when everyone’s hopes were lost.
For a movie with a premise centered in robotics and engineering, Chappie is under-developed, in the sense that all the interesting topics are forgotten/shortened to give room for entertainment. Chappie had the potential to become a really interesting movie but ended up becoming a popcorn flick with action, funny scenes and crazy songs without any intriguing moments… First we have the geek who created the humanoid robots who were patrolling the streets and that were being really successful in the company. Deon (Dev Patel) is the usual scientist who doesn’t care about ethics and that is in a constant pursuit of his dream of creating the world’s first robot capable of thinking and feeling. His character, just like every character in Chappie, except for the main robot, has nothing to grab the viewers’ attention. When Deon finishes creating his highly-innovative program, he sees the opportunity of testing it ruined by a boss who was only interested in maximizing profits. Against Deon was also Vincent (Hugh Jackman), a jealous co-worker who saw his creations denied because Deon’s were better. As you can see, Chappie is surrounded by usual characters… The best characters or at least the funny ones were in the bad side in which there is a gang lead by a cranky guy that is being commanded by a drug lord of the city who saw is profit threatened by the police robots. Basically the one character the viewer might root for is Chappie, the intelligent robot who has a childish personality influenced by a gangsta way of living. The robot is funny and it’s curious to see him learning like a baby and developing his skills in a quite impressive rate (yes just like in Lucy, while she is becoming some sort of super-woman who is able to control everything).
With characters like these ones I was sincerely expecting a more attractive/interesting plot but Blomkamp failed in delivering more than just great actions sequences and funny moments. For those who wish to know more about Chappie’s program or even about his way of learning new feelings and experience feelings, you will be disappointed because the only Blomkamp wants to do with Chappie is to mess your head with the ability to transfer consciousness between bodies and with the reasonability of saving the company’s most important files in a small USB drive that even though its severally guarded, it’s stolen two times during the movie. So as you can see, one must silence his brain before watching Chappie. As a sci-fi movie, Chappie has good visual effects and a story based in a really important field of engineering. However, I would’ve preferred to see some interesting aspects better explain than watching robots and criminals fighting, which is basically the dominant topic in Chappie. Overall, the characters seem under-developed and their personality is too predictable for a movie that needed more interesting factors to stand out and the story has some wired details (some of which I’ve mentioned already) but Chappie managed to be funny, thrilling and really entertaining. Suitable for those who are looking to have some fun watching a movie and disappointing for those who were expecting more than just entertainment, Chappie is a movie that fails in some really important aspects. With a story that appears to be quite interesting but that leaves its viewers confused with a really weird ending (just like in Lucy), I must say I left a bit disappointed even though I enjoyed it as a funny and entertaining movie.