Previously published on geekspective a no longer active site
Chappie is the next sci-fi flick that attempts to explore what would happen if a robot were to achieve consciousness. The main plot is about company that invents a police robotic unit with partial AI. The main inventor’s goal it to create a robot with full AI that can learn and think for itself. He manages to achieve this, but is blocked by his company. He attempts to install the program to a robot scheduled for decommission when he is kidnapped by gangsters, two of which are Ninja and Yolandi from the South African group Die Antwoord. From that point forward the movie gets a little convoluted to say the least.
The movie follows Chappie’s (the robot) story as he learns and develops. He’s torn between Yolandi, and his maker treating him as a child and encouraging his creativity and Ninja’s desire to turn him into a killing machine. Hugh Jackman plays a revival engineer that is upset with the success of the police units and progressively goes more crazy as he tries to force his own units out. Chappie then not only deals with who he is but the fact that he will die, bringing in the question of the consciousness and what it truly is. Not only is the plot a little convoluted but the movie itself suffers from a bit of identity crisis.
It will make you feel a range of emotions, which in and of itself is welcome but does so in rather jarring ways. The movie bounces between an extremely heart warming tell, to a sci-fi thriller, to a gangster movie, with more than a little splash of experimental film making thrown in. The movie in short suffers from trying to do way too much. None of the stories or focuses of the film really feel like they are given enough attention because the movie is bouncing around so much. Not only that but it also feels incomplete by the conclusion.
All of that being said it’s not a bad movie. It’s fun, with an interesting cast of characters. Ninja and Yolandi manage to do a good job in their roles, though a little novice in comparison to the rest of the cast. Chappie is well designed and extremely expressive for a robot. The visual effects are fun, and if you like Die Antwoord you will enjoy the soundtrack. It’s a good popcorn flick, but it had potential to be a lot more. Cutting a few ideas and giving more focus on what was left would have taken this movie from simply being entertaining to so much more. There is fun to be had though for sci-fi fans.