After the intelligent and exhilarating hit of his, District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s second film, Elysium, failed to impress due to its flawed writing. It is a great to discover that the South African filmmaker has gone back to his ingenious writing and directing roots for his third piece of art.
In near-future Johannesburg, where faceless, programmed android crime fighters have begun cleaning up the streets, their inventor, Dev Patel, has a greater ambition: to create true artificial intelligence, a computer that can not only think, but feel and create. The result is Chappie, a creature with the body of a killer but the mind of a child. Once Chappie falls into the hands of the gangsters Ninja and Yolandi—played by the duo Die Antwoord—his future is thrown wide open. Will he become a benefit to humanity or a menace to society?
In spite of being funny half the time, the movie is quite serious in tone. There are quite a few exceptionally crude and ruthless scenes with Chappie. The emotional connection that was absent in Elysium was present here. Yes, it’s true that his character is the most developed one. That is not to say the other ones are not fleshed out, but just not as fully as his. For those familiar with the director’s previous work, they can still find the social and political commentary in this movie.
It would have been easy for Blomkamp to use Chappie as a movie filled with symbolic notions of nature versus nurture, corporate greed and post-human existential angst. However, thanks to an incredible vocal performance from Sharlto Copley, this droid is so much more; he is an adorable, sympathetic, and a relatable lost soul in a harshness of this grim world.
Chappie is an intelligent, action-packed and gripping thriller, which is just as emotional as it is awe-inspiring thanks to the gorgeous direction and moving musical score.
The movie is out now on Digital HD, DVD and Blu-Ray.