Chappie is somewhat a warning for director Neill Blomkamp to go after something new and leave his familiar terrain of robotics. With a content that can’t get out of the possible clichés, Chappie becomes a shallowly researched idea that has a catchy last quarter which really shows us the lack of fun the majority of its run time had.

Set in the backdrop of Johannesburg, the story focuses on the installation of artificial intelligence based robots in the RSA police force to control the crime. The man behind these machines, Deon Wilson is on a constant research to find a way to create a robot that is more of a humane one. A gangster group who were suffering a lot due to these robocops, decided to threaten Deon and use one of the robots for their benefits. As Deon was unauthorized to carry out his dream project on robots, a mutually beneficial understanding between the gang and Deon ends up in the creation of Chappie. The pros and cons of this deal is what the movie discussing.

The idea of Chappie is an ambitious one and Hollywood is known for taking up these ambitious challenges. But unlike his earlier projects, Mr. Blomkamp fails to give a strong foundation to his script thus making the whole prospect look like an over ambitious one. As I said the majority of the movie is an unnecessarily loud display of a possible change in the immediate future. In his previous films Blomkamp had created an arena where we will be like an active audience, but in this case it is just like seeing a dull PowerPoint presentation. The last quarter of the movie has this crazy idea of transferring consciousness of human brain to a robot; but the lack of depth in research makes it look too baffled. By research, I am referring to the content that was required to establish these ideas.

On screen Dev Patel was okay as the scientist Deon Wilson. Don’t know the necessity of casting someone like Hugh Jackman as the antagonistic Vincent Moore. It was a fairly good show by Ninja and Yolandi as the gangsters.

I was a bit surprised to see certain compromised cam shots in a Blomkamp movie especially after a technically glorious Elysium. The director has made it in his typical style by mixing the steady cams and ultra slow motion shots. But this time he failed to create a captivating script to present this highly imaginative concept. The ideas they used to present the concept of Chappie and the further possibilities looked like an assembled extension of the similar movies we have seen in the past. The quintessential clichés including professional ego and wrong usage of machinery are there. Hans Zimmer’s background score individually impresses, but on screen it is not that comfortable for us as it was used to glorify certain less splendid shots. Cinematography and edits were okay. A special mention to Sharlto Copley and the entire crew who worked on the motion capture and visual effects of Chappie.

Overall Chappie is a disappointment from Neill Blomkamp who impressed me with his first two creations. Except for the good quality in its visual effects segment the content of Chappie looks sloppy. The rating is 2/5 for this emotional Robocop ride.

Final Thoughts

Except for the good quality in its visual effects segment the content of Chappie looks sloppy.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.

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