Film Review: CHAPPiE

WARNING: Slight scene-spoilers contained within, and embedded video clips might give away parts of the film.


Now, I am a follower and fan of Neill Blomkamp's short films and movies (in that order), so if that colors me "biased", then so be it. I personally do not compare Blomkamp's films to other films (well, "Aliens" might prove to be a "problem" in the near future) as they stand on their own, seemingly in their own world - current or future-of - and that is fine by me.

While not as groundbreaking as "District 9" was, or as "grandeur" a scope of "Elysium", CHAPPiE was excruciatingly "fun", and a blast to experience.

The "Tetra Vaal"-connection used, was such a delight for me, especially after witnessing the shot film he did in 2004 (featured below). Another aspect of Blomkamps films which endear themselves to me, the loose but somewhat "continuity" in world-building that permeates through all his films thus far.


One can argue he is referencing his past works, and "real life", then mirroring it in "reel life", and I will not say it is "wrong" an explanation, but there is an obvious distinction between documentarian pieces, and fiction.

Blomkamp has always been good at blurring the borders, and he does this extremely sparingly at the beginning of the film - in his "usual" interview-the-experts style presentation - but does not go overboard too much this round.

With CHAPPiE, I did not, and have not felt the need to be "cerebral" in my acceptance of the film. These are not "high concepts", nor as "fictional" as say, twenty years ago? Whatever sense of wonder for concepts such as these have been revealed and tainted thru the decades, methinks. But hey, nothing beats a shuriken throwing I.A., yeah? LOL


LIKES:

I like it that the "Hollywood stars" in Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver did not chew up the film, but instead of the South African rap-rave group DIE ANTWOOD pair of Yolandi and Ninja making the best impressions thus far … although the Washington Post does not seem impressed, by far :p

I like it that Blomkapmps' robots / androids / mecha operate in the light of day, instead of just buried in shadows of the dark and night, like some films wont to, as if it helps "cheating"CG-renders hahahaha

Were the office scenes a 'nod' to Neil's TEMPBOT? If it was, it was SWEET hahahaha



A photo posted by Brownsnout (@neillblomkamp) on


DISLIKES:

Gratuitous showboating in small doses ("taking daddy's cars" was somewhat an unnecessary path to have been taken?) made some points of the film feel like a "tele-movie", and made it "smaller" than it should have, versus the poignant altercation with the "kids", which made it more emotive, IMO.

Truth be told, I watch Blomkamp flicks for the mecha and robot effects, not necessarily for "fine acting" - which is always a plus if they do work out, ya know? Otherwise I generally ignore the acting and zoom in on the tech and wondrous CG LOL

In this regard - putting the effects aside - this particular film felt like one huge caricature take, chief criminals being Ninja and Yolandi, ironically, as I liked what they did. Perhaps the tone of the film gets diluted a tad with such an inclusion, which may not necessarily have been a "bad" thing? Or perhaps it would seem too "preachy" and judgement otherwise?

The judgement is out on this notion, and I for one, am not in any desire to judge, besides enjoying the film :)

I had wanted to exclaim that the script was "heavy handed", but like I said, maybe I might be getting to "cerebral" here ...


I had the opportunity to watch "District 9" in the darkened cinema, while I perused "Elysium" on DVD, and perhaps was not as "blown away" as I should have been seeing them enlarged on the silver screens … Honestly, I reckon would have also enjoyed "Chappie" on DVD, and not missed a beat, IMHO. But in this regard, I am glad I caught the movie screening, but would not necessarily be purchasing the DVD … unless it somehow came with an action figure of Chappie (one can only wish it was Threezero's!!!). Heh.

**Packs of Popcorn Rating: 4 Bags out of 5, and if only I actually could afford a pack of sweet+salted then, it would have been a near perfect viewing experience :)

STORYLINE: In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind." (Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment / via IMDb)


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